On February 27, 2009, I stood in a cheap dress from Marshall’s (my favorite store of all time, I’m not kidding) across from this skinny twenty-something kid. Neither of us had any idea what we had just signed up for. Literally. I mean, we signed a legally binding agreement to “do” all kinds of things, but I’m not exactly sure what those things were, because I wasn’t even paying attention. I was looking at my husband’s sweet, dreamy face and thinking of the happy future that we would have: endless years of pure bliss. All we needed was each other’s love. What a load of cr—Anyway, so I (probably literally) skipped out of the courthouse, but then I got food poisoning…on my wedding night… let that sink in. You’re welcome, America. Now that should’ve been the flashing red light, showing me that life doesn’t always play out the way I expect it to,
but my young twenty-something
hope remained steadfast.
Andrew left a few days later for basic training and didn’t return until 3 days before our actual wedding on June 9. I walked down the aisle, and stood in awe at the sight of my groom, who I hadn’t seen in three months. I’m 100% sure that our Pastor spoke more about “I do”s, but in typical Christina-form, I missed the entire thing again.
So off we went, down the aisle and off to
...Fort Campbell, KY.
You read that right. KY. That stands for Kentucky. You see, when Andrew enlisted in the Army, we thought we were going jetsetting to anywhere in the world that we wanted to live, but that’s not what we got. What we got was Kentucky. We did not expect that one, but like a good Army family, we adapted and overcame.
Throughout the next 4 years, our life together was nothing like either one of us expected. As a combat arms soldier, he was out in the field, away from home, for 2-3 days at a time every couple of weeks. Then he deployed and we had a mid-deployment baby. Then he returned, and there was reintegration. Then I decided to launch my career and found out I was pregnant on my very first day of real estate school. My son was 6 months old and I was pregnant—not pregnant with ambition or hope, either. I was pregnant with an actual baby. A girl. And I had such a distaste for meat, that I projectile vomited after my could-do-no-wrong-on-February-27-2009-husband made a chicken and roasted pepper sandwich six hours before I returned home from a day packed with real estate school and teaching dance for six hours.
I don’t think stuff ever got more unexpected than at that moment.
In 2012, Andrew asked me to move back to New Jersey and my heart broke. I loved being an agent in Fort Campbell. I led the kids ministry and had so many wonderful friends at my church. I taught amazing kids and had amazing bosses at my dance studio. When I stood on that alter during those “I do”s, I feel like Pastor Steve should’ve warned me that I’d have to say yes to leaving my home for four years and all of my friends there! I mean, actually, he may have, but I really wouldn’t know, since I didn’t pay attention. Either way, I came home. But not home-home. Not Atlantic County. I went to Vineland. I did not ever expect to find myself in Vineland, while I was growing up in Galloway, and yet, there I was for another five years.
It’s 2019 and in ten years of marriage, the only thing that I know is that things rarely happen the way that we expect them to. The interesting thing is that when I look back at every unexpected tsunami that Andrew and I have faced, I can see, so clearly, how it built our foundation. We had to ride waves that we didn’t want to ride. Sometimes, they were tsunamis: massive. We had to have tough conversations, and make tough choices, but we learned how to navigate them with each other instead of against each other.
So often in marriage, when the unexpected shows up, we allow it to cause a divide. We don’t expect to have issues with our spouses, so when issues arise, the fight or flight mode takes hold. This is my advice to you: stay. Just stay. Face the unexpected. I know it’s uncomfortable, but it’s worth it. The bumps in the road are worth it. You are building your foundation. Perhaps the greatest issue that we have is that we have to stop constantly expecting that things are going to be just as we want them to be. Perhaps we need to allow them to be as they are, however that is, and just make a commitment to ride the unexpected tsunamis with our partners. No marriage is perfect or easy, so expect the unexpected, and commit to riding those waves together.
To you, my still-can-do-no-wrong-hubby, Happy Valentine’s Day and Happy Ten! You’re the greatest surf partner of all time! To the rest of you all, The Sciarrettas are sending you peace, love, and Valentine’s vibes from our home to your’s!