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We were 13 years old when a couple of our friends finally convinced him to ask me to be his girlfriend. They knew we had a crush on each other. Although I was nervous about entering into my first relationship and the fact that my dad would be furious to know I have a boyfriend, I said yes.
We have been together ever since.
In 2004, when the day came for me to tell my parents that I had a boyfriend, it was very scary. I told them about a certain boy at school who liked me, and that I liked him. My dad told me in order to get his approval, this certain boy needed to knock on our front door and ask my dad's permission to be my boyfriend. According to my dad, this tactic was created to intimidate this boy into not coming over and he didn't actually think he would do it.
Little did my dad know, this boy was determined to win over my parents. He came knocking the following day.
My dad was furious, to say the least, but my mom actually found it comical that this boy called my dad's bluff. After what seemed like years of my dad yelling at this boy, my mom talked my dad down from his high horse and convinced him that he was doing exactly as he asked him to and deserved a chance.
The next step was getting acceptance of our relationship from all of our friends. Of course, in middle school, whatever you do can determine whether you're a popular kid or a social outcast. Naturally, we were a little nervous to make our relationship public, but we went for it.
Let’s just say we didn't receive the jumps for joy that we'd hoped for, but we didn't get snubbed either. It was almost like no one really believed us. The typical length of a middle school relationship was no more than three months. But it would turn out that we would be the ones to break that streak.
In the years to come, we were faced with countless challenges. It was like everyone was betting against us at some point in our relationship. No one thought we truly would make it out of high school still together. I've heard you change the most in those four years, yet we faced the odds together and prevailed.
Then came college, and everyone thought for sure we would break up some time during our freshman year since we were accepted into different schools.
Nope! We encouraged each other to participate in campus events, clubs, etc. We showed up to support the other during our respective activities and even helped each other study for exams.
When Valentine’s Day of 2012 came around and he took me on a romantic getaway, I really didn't think much of it. I already knew how lucky I was to have a guy like him who spoils me and treats me like a queen, so this surprise trip just made me appreciate him even more.
When we arrived at our destination, it was paradise. We stopped to take in the scenery overlooking the Pacific Ocean, and it just took my breath away. When I turned to him to thank him for such a great trip, he was on one knee. That moment changed the rest of our lives for the better.
The many obstacles we had faced together up to that point didn’t matter anymore. All that made sense was that we loved each other and wanted to spend forever together. The next 17 months flew by as we planned our dream wedding and honeymoon.
People are usually surprised to learn that we have never broken up, nor have we taken a break. Not once. I'm not going to lie — there were times when we came close to calling it quits, but you learn to just shut off your phone for the night and sleep on it before making any rash emotional decisions.
Because of our continued support for one another in everything we do, we are happily married. The bond we have created in all those years together has set a sturdy foundation for our marriage.
If I had to give one piece of advice on how to make a young relationship work, it would be to love the person you are with for who they are and not let the opinions of everyone around you interfere with your relationship. The biggest hurdle we had to get through was the people around us making their negative comments, trying to force their opinions on us, and giving false information. What matters most is your own happiness with the person you are in a healthy relationship with. The more you let other people dictate how your relationship should be, the more the relationship becomes less about the two of you.
Many people don't understand how we were able to get married after being together for so long and not having any other sexual partners. I chalk it up to the fact that when it's meant to be, it's meant to be. You find a way to never lose something as special as our love. Sure, there are plenty of obstacles ahead of us, like starting a family, buying a home, and other things we may not foresee. But we will get through them like we have since that day in 2004: together.