We are beyond excited to be featuring this amazing couple this week. They may be young and their relationship may be new, but they are working hard to make their relationship work while juggling deployment to Afghanistan and college. They are a perfect example of how technology can actually bring us closer together and create connections. Read their beautiful story below!
Hannah-Kate & Galen
Ages: 19 and 20
Status: Together 2.5 Months Long Distance
How did you meet?: Technically, we met in high school PreCalc when I was a sophomore with my nose in far too many textbooks and a nasty case of bronchitis most of the semester (cute, right?). Meanwhile, Galen was an upperclassman Renaissance man involved in sports, choral ensembles, and theatre. Fast forward to this past February when I was in the second semester of my freshmen year of college and Galen was continuing his second year of service in the Navy as a Hospital Corpsman stationed in Guam. He messaged me out of nowhere with a very casual, “Hey! How’s college treating you?” and the polite interest from a name from my small hometown interested me. From there, we messaged and talked and got to know each other as best as we could. Eventually, he asked if he could take me out while he was home on leave in July. I promised him a date and that sparked all new conversations of things to look forward to. However, the Navy had a different idea and we found out that Galen will be going on his first deployment at the end of August to Afghanistan. This placed his trip home in jeopardy until we were joking around one night and I proposed the idea that he should come home in May, instead, and move me out of college. Before I knew it Galen was buying his plane ticket to Nashville and I was picking him up at the airport. In the three weeks that followed we had a road trip home to Pennsylvania, a lake house trip, movie dates, endless laughing, pictures, and memories. Saying goodbye was hard, but we have a lot of hope and a lot of things to look forward to.
When did you realize you were in love?: It could have been love at first FaceTime when in the five hours of our first video chat date we traded favorite songs, memes, and a challenge from Galen for an ugly face competition. For about three months we only had the option to talk and communicate, which I think helped bring us so close. Later, he told me that it wasn’t fair to ask me to wait for him during his deployment, but I decided early on that I wanted to and the countdown to seeing each other again gets shorter every day. We can be ourselves with each other in person just as much as we can thousands of miles apart.
What qualities in each other make you a good match?: Galen and I are both very independent people and we have high standards for ourselves. Between his duties in the Navy and my life in college, life is in session but we never have a shortage of things to talk about (or Snapchat). Ah Snapchat; we accept that we may be a little basic (no, we do not own a selfie stick yet) and that works for us because indulging in Instagram ideas and favorite Netflix binges adds the perfect amount of light-hearted ridiculousness to keep things silly. We both bring a lot of energy to our relationship because he is the perfect amount of funny to keep me out of my shell and I don’t like to waste time being negative so I’m always finding a reason to smile.
What is your perfect date night?: We have plans for perfect date nights and some of them include trying to be classy or adventuring to explore something new. We also know that we don’t need anything fancy to enjoy each others’ company because any chance we get to be together is going to be just enough. Galen told me I can pick “the perfect date” because as long as I’m there, he will be happy. We watched a lot of classic movies with a side of Chinese food while Galen was home on leave; I thought it was pretty perfect.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a couple and how did you get through it?: Galen is going to be deploying in the next month and I am going to be starting my sophomore year of college, so maybe we have some challenges coming. My dad was also in the Navy, so I know what deployment feels like and I know I will worry everyday. Long distance is not impossible, and we have a lot of hope. The distance is difficult but the time change might be our biggest challenge. We still find ways to be ourselves, though. For example, we have a shared photo stream called “Sandra D to my Danny Z” so that we can add any pictures to it that we take or find while the other person is busy or sleeping. Every kind of cute, funny, sweet or weird picture finds its way there, such as the thirty photos of Nicolas Cage’s face inserted on celebrities, vegetables, and animals that Galen really felt spoke to us as a couple.
What is one thing you would like to improve about your relationship?: Being on the same continent would be nice, as Guam to Music City is a far way. Being in the same time zone would be an added bonus, too. We really just want the chance to enjoy each other’s company more.
What advice would you go back and give yourselves when you just started dating?: Maybe we have not learned any hard lessons yet, but I’m sure they are coming. Our relationship is still growing and we are exploring our roles in it together, but that’s what we’re supposed to be doing, right? If we could go back, we would keep reminding ourselves to never waste a second spent together because before you know it that moment becomes a memory.