By Selena Conmackie
Her Love Story
One of my favorite memories is my grandparents telling their love story. It was right up there with the whole Disney fairy tale romance. (Depending on who was telling it, of course.) Every time their story was told, I understood more of who they must have been as young hopefuls looking to find someone to live their lives with.
In the late 1940s, my grandmother was a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines. She had a best friend from work who just happened to have a good-looking brother. She remembered him from high school but hadn’t seen him since. (Isn’t this how all the stories started back then?)
It was time for a company Christmas party and my grandmother of course wanted to invite the good-looking Hawaiian brother of her best friend. Her best friend made magic happen and the two went to the party together. My grandfather and grandmother were both terribly shy and didn’t talk much during the party, she mentions.
It was a success nonetheless and he asked her out on another date. He happened to be late (for a valid reason). His charms and good looks allowed the fiery young woman she was to forgive his tardiness. One month after an almost-didn’t-happen date, they got engaged and married almost 10 months later.
My Love Story
I was chatting with my grandmother on Facetime recently and we started discussing our love lives. AGAIN. She was so happy that I found my Army soldier and loved how my life was full and what she had always hoped for me, and I asked my now-93-year-old grandmother to tell me the story again of her love. It’s been about nine years since my grandfather’s passing and not hearing his insertions of “She must have got me drunk” or eye rolls, or his pats on her back with such adoration, as she would tell her part is greatly missed.
“Your Grandfather was out of the military, back from spending two years in Germany, and I saw him at his family’s home.” (She didn’t always include this part in her telling of this tale which may have been my jolt of connection when she did this time.)
Wait… that’s right, Grandma, you married a man with a military background!
I suddenly felt a different connection to their love story. I married a military man. My grandfather would have loved him. Two very different stories of their military careers, but still part of a brotherhood I wouldn’t understand.
My own love story started because of an app.
I had some rules. No military, firemen, or police officers. I didn’t think I could be strong enough to watch my spouse walk out the door into dangerous situations.
I didn’t have the best friend with the handsome brother, but the app I decided to try to give love another chance again connected me with someone I would have NEVER met otherwise. He would become the Romeo to my Juliet (wait, that story ended tragically… but you get where I’m going with the love thing, right?).
In fact, I was a little embarrassed to say we met on an app and would instead mention to those who inquired that we were set up by friends (which wasn’t a total lie, the app was our friend *wink*).
My mom would ask, ”Who do you know that knows him in the military?” CONSTANTLY. I thought she was on to me.
It wasn’t a swipe left or right app, but something that paired you with someone based on how you answered the questions when you signed up. My husband wasn’t even in my first-tier matches, apparently, but I would (no bull here guys) accidentally touch on his profile which would activate the automatic “I’m interested” ‘cause I’m looking. Several times. Every time, I panicked because he had his name and “military” next to it. No, no, no… that’s part of my rules.
Well, after a couple of months of chatting with each other we finally decided to meet up for dinner. I figured I should practice doing the dating thing, so why not? It’s funny when you go on the blind date way of meeting someone. I pictured some really tall dude wearing a cowboy hat (he mentioned he was from a southern state) and I giggled at myself as I walked toward what I thought would be a one-and-done night.
There was no cowboy hat (might have been weird in the local Hawaiian town we were in for dinner) and we greeted each other awkwardly (I was a hugger and he was not), but we really enjoyed each other’s company.
I enjoyed his attention and we agreed to another date. At some point, I found myself in this predicament as I feel most MilSpouses (before they become MilSpouses) do: Loving this person would mean two things…
One, we could end things when his time was up and he was called to his next assignment and I’d be left brokenhearted. (Long distance was not something I would consider.)
Two, we could decide we can’t be without each other and I would become his wife and start living a military life.
It wasn’t easy choosing. I was giving up a 20-year career I worked really hard for, leaving my family that was always just down the road, leaving best friends who were always ready for girls’ nights whenever someone needed it, etc.
But it’s never been a question. TWO was always the answer.
Their Love Stories
Before I close, I polled some of my other military friends to check in with their love stories and they came through! I asked, “How did you meet?” They said:
“My best friend from high school introduced us at a college party while I was visiting her.” – DB
“Through my co-worker, who is now my sister-in-law.” – LW
“We worked for a new freshman orientation together in college. He was in ROTC but I had no idea what that really meant at the time.” HB
“At a bar as I drunkenly cried over an ex and ate street tacos. (We’ve been together for 10 years and married 6. Loool!)” -JM
“High School Sweetheart — second semester of freshman year. Been together 23 years this year.” – JM
“At a concert. Former members of Sublime… My best friend’s boyfriend’s band opened for them. I almost didn’t go” – CP
“In college. We each represented our separate schools in the same political club. Totally opposite ends of the spectrum.” 👀 We have [been together] 23 years [as of ] 9/12.” – DS
“At church. He visited one Sunday, and he ended up coming over for dinner.”
“Online, back when you didn’t admit to that. 🤣 It was a site where you selected the careers that matched your perfect mate. (So ridiculous in hindsight.) Military was one of two careers I didn’t select; he took it as an opportunity to learn about my objections (or a challenge). 🤣 He was stationed in Korea at the time but slated to return to Bragg and I lived an hour north. So [we] started a year-long friendship, 18 years ago. Married 15 this year.” – JP
“Online writing club.” AL
“High school sweetheart. Dated senior year + college + law school for him and business school for me before we got married.” – KB
“He was reading poetry at a coffee shop/ open-mic and I thought he was cute. The poem was about a post-it note. Obviously, I thought he was funny, too.” – OP
We all have a love story. What’s yours? Comment below.
About Selena Conmackie
Some call Selena their Social Media Gal, Website Designer Extraordinaire Guru, Genius (their words, not hers). But she’s also a Military Spouse following her husband with her kid and dog in tow to wherever the Army sends them. So, just add Rockstar Mom and Ah-mazing Wife to her list.
More Military Romance Inspiration:
Solutions for Your Military Family:
Life Insurance, Wealth Management, Home Mortgages, Survivor Services, and more. Learn more about AAFMAA.