Although we've been married for EIGHT! Today's the anniversary of my wife's and my wedding. Mary had been 18 years old for only about 6 weeks when we tied the knot. After the wedding in Sumner, WA, we drove to Alki where we danced - in full 'costume' on the pier. After dinner, we stayed at a Victorian B&B in Kent, before our flight to Cabo the next morning. Cabo was fun - what was NOT fun was our choice to stay 'outside of the City'. There was NOTHING going on outside of downtown cabo; and we both were too young to rent a car - 18 and 23, respectively. But - we made do. The last full day there we decided we had enough $ to do some snorkeling. I was out in the water for about 6 or 8 hours that day, if I recall. Mary about half that. On the way home we both felt our skin burning - once back in the room we saw the damage. I had 1st and 2nd degree burns over most of my back, stomach, and shoulders. Legs were 'nearly raw' too. Mary didn't have it quite so bad, but bad enough. After hours of moaning and groaning (NOT the kind we SHOULD have been doing on our honeymoon) Mary went to the front desk for help. A worker broke off a piece of Aloe plant for her. About 5-10 minutes after applying liberally to my chest and stomach, I found out that I must be allergic to Aloe, as the rash which was covering my torso was my first clue. Itchy and burning we lay awake most of the night...it took a few weeks before we recovered. In January of that year, my job 'ended' as a temp with the WA Army National Guard; so I left for Active duty again 1 May - first assignment? Korea. I was devastated. Of ALL places...Korea? I tried to get out of the orders to no avail. 19 July, 1997 I left SeaTac for Seoul. (Osan AFB, actually) Upon arriving, my orders sent me pretty far 'south' in the country - hours away from the dreaded DMZ. I was to be the Admin NCO for a Military Police Company, at Camp Carroll in Waegwon - near the 4?Million-population city of Taegu. Mary and I ran up a pretty hefty phone bill before working out details to send for her. She packed up what little we had into self-storage, and got her visa ready. My commander helped me arrange housing off-post for a reasonable $300/month (400? sq ft studio) - living wasn't 'easy' but we were together. One month short of a year after we got back from Korea, our daughter was born - life changing. Up until that point our 'boys' were one brown, and one orange Tabby cats. Michael and Bradlee. We were those annoying people who bragged to everyone about our 'kids' - which were pets too. From the moment we brought Alaina home, they were simply 'cats'. We like them and junk...but we finally 'understood' what parent-kid love meant. Another year by, and I receive a Medical separation from Active Duty - a program which provides a tax-free severance payment (twice my monthly pay, x the years of active duty) - this set us up fine, short term. We had enough to get a house in Bremerton (figuring I'd commute to Seattle, where the jobs are), and live until Mary started working again, as an assistant manager of a US bank in Port Orchard, WA. I went to night school working on a Visual Basic (MCSD) Course. 6 months later, my severance ran out, but I got a call to work as a Dept of Defense Contractor back at Fort Lewis. Woot! Mary quit her job two weeks later, and got pregnant too! The end of that year circumstances lead to Mary and I separating - I moved in w/ my father, while looking for a roommate. Things seemed moving further and further towards divorce. Through prayer, and some VERY uncomfortable situations which I'm ashamed-but-thankful for, Mary and I patched things up, with renewed vigor and promising again the vows we committed to each other years before. Since then, we've also had a Son - Ethan, I've found a Civil-Service Job, and we moved to Puyallup, cutting my commute from 100 miles and 2.5-3 hours each day, down to 38 miles, and 1 hour per day. Through it all Mary and I have had fights - as much or more than the next couple. We've both said and done things we regret. But now, we've learned that we can't base our marriage - our commitment on something so trivial as how we 'feel'. Feelings change and come and go; like 'hunger' or 'thirst'. We've decided that no matter how we 'feel' we 'choose' to love each other. Billy Graham's wife was reported to have been interviewed and asked this question: "Mrs. Graham, with as much stress as having your husband gone, traveling so much can bring, did you ever think that you'd divorce him?" Mrs. Graham thought for a minute and replied, "Kill him yes, Divorce him no." It goes to show that as frustrated as we can get with each other, we are bound by our promises to Love, Honour, Cherish and junk. Yeah...All those things. So - today she and I celebrate 8 years of marriage...how? Sitting around a hot house, not in the mood to do anything but hang out with the kids. Not very exciting or romantic for sure - but there exists a feeling of 'comfort'...'security'...backed by a knowledge that if the world be against us, we both have at least ONE other person who's vowed to 'be there'. Vowed to 'love us'. Till Death. And stuff.