June 16th was Rad’s two year anniversary of being home from his mission in Alaska. WOOHOO! That’s a really big deal for me, because 2 years is how long he was gone on his mission. And let me tell you, his two years back here have gone by MUCH faster than the two that he was gone. To celebrate this big day, I gave Rad an Alaska tie from Statesman Ties. Check them out if you have a missionary out or know of someone who has a place close to their heart. Statesman Ties have a HUGE selection of ties for every country and state. Rad LOVES his tie. It is special because Alaska holds such a special place in his heart… It is like his second home!
Here is a quick summary of our love story. Click HERE for a VIDEO about our love story.
Radley and I met in Junior High, we were friends (we had crushes on each other off and on, but never did anything about it.), then in high school we started dating our senior year. Rad did basketball and baseball while I did cheerleading. We were best friends and inseparable. Twelve days after graduation, Radley left on his mission. We said our final goodbye a couple days before he left, and goodness that was so sad and hard. While he was on his mission I stayed busy. I graduated cosmetology school, Worked at a salon, moved out, and did everything I could to work on myself. Rad worked hard and served with all his heart. During that time we wrote emails and letters and supported each other from a distance. Radley came home June 16th, 2016 and It was the best reunion to pick him up from the airport. We dated again that summer, and after time dating and adventuring we reconnected and fell back in love. In September we got engaged, then on January 7th, 2017 we were married for time and all eternity in the Salt Lake City Temple. We have now been married for about a year and a half. I count my many blessings that I ended up with my love and that everything worked out!
For his 2 year anniversary I also decided to do a Q & A all about waiting for a missionary. I’m not going to lie, waiting is HARD. It’s not easy being away from the one you love, your best friend for two years. And having very very limited communication with them. I am so blessed that we worked out. I opened it up to a Q & A on my Instagram to answer all of the questions you have about the waiting process, how it was for us, and our advice. LETS GET STARTED!
I sent him pictures, letters, and packages. I tried to make it as inexpensive as possible. Especially with shipping packages can cost A LOT! The things you send don't have to be extravagant, especially because they cant keep a lot of things since they are always on the go with transfers.You can find things at the dollar store and add a little note to make it cheesy or cutesy. I loved sending him things like socks (trucrew is a fun company) and ties (Statesman Ties is a really cool tie company too).
Another thing I loved was taking a picture with a "___ Months down" sign that I would make each month, then I would send the picture and the sign to Rad, and he would send me a picture of him holding it too!
Rad sent me Alaskan jewelry, and a necklace that has the date he would return home (6.16.2016). He sent me a couple of his hoodies, and cool Alaskan items. We would send cute little knick knacks to each other when we could.
One of my favorite things was sending each other a voice recorder back and forth.
I would say a lot for both. We definitely go through ups and downs individually and by overcoming the two years you grow together as well. I say we grew A LOT. And when you focus on staying busy and making goals in your career, or school, or through the gospel/ your testimony you make leaps and bounds over those two years.
When I got back we were still good friends. But it didn't click right away. It took dating again, so don't expect too much. It can be a little awkward at first, that's normal. It took us a couple of weeks of trying to start over being best friends, and making sure that relationship was still there. It is one thing to write each other and stay in touch that way. And naturally, because you grow on your own, it takes some getting to know each other. Two years is enough time where you're both going to change. We were both a little different, but luckily it was different in good ways. At the end of the day, we were able to both come even closer together, because of that. So if it is awkward at first just keep giving it a shot. Then you'll see how far you have grown together as well!
We both agree that our favorite thing would once again be the voice recorder. It was somehting fun for both of us. And It was something we could keep using. I was so great to hear each other's voices!
The best thing to do is to stay busy. Do things for you and do things to build yourself. Make goals and work hard in different aspects of your life. For me, I did cosmetology school when he left on his mission. I joined every extra club and team at that school and just stayed busy by focusing on goals that would pass time.
I loved to be creative making packages, or little drawings on letters that I would send to him. That always made thinking of him fun rather than sad.
I know that communication is important.
One thing I loved, (that I always talk about) is a little voice recorder that we would send back and forth. It was so good to hear his voice. It was that reassurance to me that he was real, he was there, there was that hope. The voice recorder was very helpful for us, and especially for me. I thought that helped keep us close and feel like we were with each other.
letters and fun little things are great to help keep the fun in the relationship. I would send little "MONTH DOWN" signs. (one month down, two months down, etc..) I would make the sign, take a picture with it, send it to him, then he would take a picture with the sign and send his picture back to me. I loved that, because it made me feel like we were still connected and that we could still do something together, even though we were far apart.
Showing interest is something I think is really important. She always showed interest in what I was doing and I tried to reciprocate that as best I could. Just show that you are interested because you are both doing different things. Just knowing that she cared about what I was doing really helped a lot.
I think the best thing about waiting was we grew closer. Just knowing we were able to get through two years apart really shows we can get through anything. We can get through tough times. It was good to spend time to focus on ourselves and our own testimonies. By working on own individual things, wed grew closer together.
I agree. It is tough to be away but those two years are really a time that both of you can grow individually. There are things that are important to learn by yourself. I think the things both of us were able to experience made us both better as individuals and therefore, better together.
For me they were really hard. It's hard to be away from your best friend that you see every single day. Then all of a sudden you don't see them and have limited means of communication. It was tough to adjust to. After a couple of months it started to get a little bit better as I started to get into a routine and make goals. Just know the first few months are hard, but it does get better. There are ups and downs, but if you stay busy it gets better.
It is definitely hard being away from someone you are used to spending every day with. It was probably a little harder for her, just because I had the luxury of being the one who was out serving the Lord being busy. I think the most important thing is to stay busy. The busier you stay the easier I think it is.
I think a HUGE part of arguments is miscommunication. That's why small things can blow up into what seems like a big problem. A lot of times you'll be upset at each other over something really silly or that you really shouldn't be fighting about. Calmly discussing what's upsetting and how you are feeling is the best way to avoid hurting feelings or contention. Remember to do things out of love. Don't be so defensive or worked up about things. Think about what you are saying AND how you are saying it.
I think it all comes down to the fact that every relationship is different, and so it is tough to know exactly what you should do, because every relationship is very different. But with that being said, try not to put too much pressure on each other and just be open with how you feel. If you keep things to yourself and don't discuss your feelings then that could be worse. Arguments aren't always a bad thing. Both sides just have to decide to not be defensive, because at least you are able to discuss things.
Yes, I did date while he was gone. Before he left he told me to go on dates and to not put my life on hold while he was on his mission. So I went on dates. There actually was someone that I did date exclusively. I got very confused and I honestly even had a back and forth thought on if I should write off Rad. And that made it VERY difficult.
Overall, it obviously did work out and I decided to not write off Radley, I wanted him to come home and for us to have that chance. And I knew that everything would work out in the end, and that was scary. I had to put that trust in the Lord.
It was a really really hard experience for me, and sometimes I wish so much that I never dated anyone else while he was gone. Because it was really hard for me and I was confused and it was a big trial/ heartache for me. But overall trials are a great thing to strengthen you. So looking back, as hard as it was, I am glad I went through it because Rad and I are so much closer and so much stronger now because of that.
Doubts are totally normal. You'll pretty much always have fear and thoughts come into your head like "He's not even real.", "It's not going to work out", "It isn't worth it.", or "He'll get home and not want you anyways.",
I always had doubts and worries in my mind, but that's totally normal. So If you are feeling those things, just know that its normal. It doesn't necessarily mean that its not right to wait or reflect your relationship at all. It's normal to have those feelings after being apart for so long. Because its scary, its hard and so its normal to feel like that.
To get over it, try to remind yourself that there is hope. At least for me I kept telling myself that if he comes home and it is not meant to be, then that's what's meant to happen in life. But I always knew that I would at least wait for him to come back, and to reconnect with him when he gets home, and to really give it an honest effort. Because you really don't know, while they are gone and not there in person. I knew I would ALWAYS wonder "What if..." if I broke it off because I let those doubts get to me, before seeing him again.
After he came home we dated, reconnected, and then finally that's when I knew and all those doubts went away and we just fell back into place.
Its also important to not put too much pressure on the relationship. God has a plan for everyone.
Just because you have doubts doesn't mean it wont work out, but also it's good to not have too much pressure because if it does not work out that is what is meant to be. It is all about putting forth your best effort and trusting in the Lord.
We prepared for Rad leaving, by spending a lot of time together. I wanted to make memories so we did activities where we could talk, take pictures and remember each other.
Don't leave it with any questions on the table. Just have all of the communication out there before he leaves because its really hard obviously to communicate through email while he is gone. If you have questions, uncertainties, or you want to clarify something about how the relationship should be when he is on the mission, try to do a lot of it before he goes, that way you're on the same page right from the start.
I never really planned a wedding. I of course always hoped we would end up together. I am a normal girl that would go onto Pinterest and pin things to a dream wedding board. But it was nothing serious at all. I wasn't actually planning my wedding. I never booked anything .... It was just being a girl on Pinterest. I didn't really plan anything until after he got home and then we started to date again. It was after a while of dating and after we both knew for sure that we were meant for each other, and just before the proposal when we started to think about the wedding plans. But I didn't even want to plan anything really until I had the ring. I wanted to actually be engaged before I actually really started to plan and book everything.
It is difficult to keep good communication through email. It's another reason why its important to not put so much pressure on your relationship.
It's also important to realize that missionaries are very busy and they don't normally have a long time to email. I would start to freak out and get in my head every time that Rad's emails were shorter or if he didn't say certain things that he normally did in emails. But I had to just stop and remind myself that he is really busy. Sometimes he just didn't have enough time to chat and communicate, so that's important to remember. Try not to worry too much.
Try to keep it light and airy in your emails as much as possible. Obviously if there are serious things you need to discuss that's okay to communicate those things, but try to keep the conversations as fun, light, and uplifting as they can be. Talk about their mission or their companion..etc..
I went to the airport with his family to pick him up, and we all made welcome home signs. I went to the airport and we saw each other, and then we just started to reconnect and go on dates. The day he came home, was a day with his family too. We all went to Cafe Rio (his favorite restaurant.), and just spent that first day all together with his family.
We didn't do anything specific to celebrate, we just spent lots of time together to reconnect:
We just did a lot of activities where we could talk. We had a bucket list of activities. Things that are fun and adventurous, and where we could catch up. Some of these activities included canoeing, tandem biking (that was our last date before he left on his mission, and so we HAD to do it when he came home too.), going to the Manti Miracle Pageant. We were also lucky enough to go on family trips with each other that summer. My family went to Canada on a family vacation and he came too. Then his family went back east and to Disney World, and I went with them. You just need to spend time together to reconnect again.
Yes I did pick him up from the airport, I made him a sign, and picked him up with his family! It was fun! We finally got to hug each other for the first time!
It was awkward when he came home, but I think I was actually way more awkward than him. I always thought he would be the weird return missionary, but he adjusted back great and I was the awkward one. I took everything really really slow.
That's why it's so important to not put so much pressure on it connecting right away. If you see him for the first time and don't know automatically that he is your eternal companion, thats completely normal. Don't be worried if you don't click back right away. For some people they click back right away, and that's great for them. But for us it definitely took time and patience to rebuild that relationship and really get to know each other again.
Keep trying, keep giving it a shot, and go into it with an open mind and open heart..
It took a little bit of time for us to really reconnect after he got home. We had to go on dates, talk, reconnect, and build that relationship again. We went on a couple trips that summer. On those trips I started to get more of a feeling that he is still the most amazing guy, in-fact even better. And that he would be a great husband, a great father, a great everything that I want in an eternal companion. It finally really hit me on one of our trips that. it was a slower process than I expected, but once I knew, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that I wanted to marry him and be with him for time and eternity.
Be patient with the process, because when you know, YOU KNOW 🙂
If you would like more information about the LDS church, missionaries, or have other Q & A’s about waiting for a missionary message me or comment below!
Tags: 2 YEARS, ALASKA, LDS, lifestyle, MISSIONARY, Q & A
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