If you were to ask Krystal and David what their life looked like before the Army, they would say it looked quite different.
They would tell you about the fights. The ups and downs.
Thankfully, just a few short months ago, the Army changed their relationship, their careers, and their life together.
Prior to Krystal enlisting earlier this year, their marriage hit a struggling point.
They knew something had to change or they wouldn’t make it as a couple.
“We had the choice to change it,” says David. “It meant both of us going after something that meant something to us.”
For Krystal, that meant joining the Army.
Despite the obstacles ahead, they understood becoming an Army couple would benefit them in the long run.
So, they went for it.
Krystal signed on the dotted line.
“She was going for something that was out of her character, but it was because of the benefits that it would have on us as a family,” says David. “She was willing to go through challenges. She knew she was going to face it and do it. By doing it, it would help us as a family. I think that helped me realize I need to stop being scared. “
For David, it meant becoming an ordained minister and working in ministry through Universal Life Church.
For both of them, it meant embarking on a new life together.
A Renewed Marriage Proposal
Since getting married in 2014, David and Krystal have never spent a day apart.
When Krystal joined the Army, it took her from their home in desolate New Mexico to bustling Fort Jackson.
At the time, David was bed-bound, making it difficult for him to stay positive. He missed Krystal, but he passed the time doing what he does best: being romantic.
He’d write lengthy letters.
In one letter, he even proposed to Krystal again.
“All the girls in my company thought it was so romantic,” Krystal says.
To David, proposing again to show his wife how much she meant to him seemed like the only way to express his feelings properly.
He just wanted to have her say yes again.
“I already know that we’re married, but I wanted to ask her again,” he explains. “I’ve been wanting to for awhile. We had our ups and downs for the first part of the relationship. It was time for a change. It was going one way or another. I love her too much to walk away and wanted to do things different and together.”
Love Letters to Basic Training
David stayed in touch the only way he could — through letters.
When he came across Sandboxx on an Army Facebook group, he was relieved to find another way to connect to his wife.
David wrote her daily, sending three letters a day.
He’d even spritz his cologne on handwritten letters to make Krystal smile.
On Krystal’s end, she ended up with three to 10 letters a day from David and family. It lifted her spirits, even during the hardest parts of Army basic training.
“For me, mail call was my favorite part of the day,” Krystal says. “It made my day.”
The couple got to talk on the phone, too, throughout training.
Those five calls weren’t enough, though.
While they loved talking, the calls often left the couple in tears.
“You’ve got the drill sergeants in the background screaming and yelling. You can’t have a conversation without it being interrupted. Sandboxx helped me be able to send letters. I liked that I could send pics with it,” says David. “I was living in the middle of nowhere. Making it to the post office was hard, so she got a lot of Sandboxx letters.”
As the saying goes, absence makes the heart grow fonder. It couldn’t ring more true for David and Krystal, who both feel they made it through Army basic training a stronger couple.
“It made me appreciate him more and all the stuff he does,” says Krystal. “This is the longest we’ve been apart from each other since we’ve been together.”
Virginia is for Lovers (and AIT)
Now, Krystal’s in AIT in Fort Lee.
“We get to see each other a lot more,” says Krystal. “Virginia is the lovers’ state. That was a perfect place for us to end up.”
In February, she will graduate again with new skills before heading to their next command.
“She’s a glorified gas pumper,” David jokes of his wife’s new job as a petroleum specialist.
Since her November graduation, the couple has spent every moment together they can. David even gets to sit on the sidelines and watch her PT workouts on base.
Even if he can’t spot her, he knows she’s out there.
“When you see a bunch of them in uniform it’s hard to see who is who. It’s like Where’s Waldo,” jokes David. “I’m happy I get to be there, and I know she’s there and I get to be a part of it.”
A Better Life
In many ways, life has gotten better for them since the Army.
They both have housing. They both have medical coverage.
And, they’ve learned to better communicate.
Most of all, they’ve discovered what it takes to survive as a military couple.
In the short time they’ve been a military couple, they’ve seen other military relationships get torn apart.
“Don’t give up on each other,” says David. “There’s always something to work towards. Always move forward. That doesn’t mean move away from one another. It means move toward each other. The stronger you are together, the stronger you are in a military uniform, and you have more to live for.”
His best advice for military couples? Don’t follow the negativity.
“There’s so much negativity out there, especially on Facebook,” he advises. “Trust the person you’re with with everything you’ve got. Even if you’ve gotta write letters and wait for a response, it’s worth the wait.”