Many people have asked me over the years about my and Josh’s love story. Well, it all started back when I was fifteen and he was sixteen. A friend of mine took me to a high school basketball game that was a school near mine. I was very nervous because I didn’t know a lot of people at this school other than the handful of my own friends that were going. When I walked into the gym, I saw one of my good friends talking to Josh. When I walked over, my friend introduced us and I shook his hand. I don’t remember a lot about what we talked about, but I do remember thinking it was love at first sight. We literally couldn’t stop looking at each other! The one thing I do remember is when I looked down, I noticed that Josh was wearing cowboy boots and a cowboy belt buckle! I instantly had a flashback to when I was a little girl, I remember I told my parents that I always wanted to be a cowgirl and that I needed a cowboy husband! I knew right then and there that I had to get to know Josh better.
The next day, he added me on MySpace. Yes, I know if you’re reading this you’re probably laughing because MySpace isn’t even around anymore! We got to know each other a little bit and we went out on our first date to a movie. I remember we went to the movies and saw “Valentine’s Day”. I remember feeling butterflies in my stomach whenever I was around him. I, like many other people when first getting to know someone, felt nervous to tell him certain things about myself. I remember waiting to tell him that I was a Type 1 diabetic because I wasn’t sure what he was going to think or how he would react. We got to know each other better and ended up having a serious relationship.
We had a very non-traditional relationship when we were young. We loved each other so much, but we definitely did some things that we probably shouldn’t have. Looking back on our relationship, I wish I would’ve saved myself for marriage. I was the youngest in my family and all of my siblings ended up saving themselves for marriage. Josh and I had many obstacles when we found out I was pregnant at 16. Many of you may remember us on ’16 and Pregnant’ and ‘Teen Mom 3’. One of our many obstacles was being on TV and the stress that came from it. It was hard to let people in on our lives and it was extremely hard for both of us to be as vulnerable as we were at the time. I was sometimes jealous when I thought about my siblings saving themselves for marriage because they didn’t have to go through the heartbreak, the stress or the emotions that Josh and I brought upon ourselves.
Like any other couple who gets pregnant at 16, we also were nowhere near ready to become parents. Josh and I both had a lot of growing up to do. We found out we were going to have a boy and decided to name him Gannon. Having our relationship and our child on TV for everyone to see was extremely stressful. Many people inserted their opinion into our lives and into our child’s life that it put a lot of stress on Josh and me as parents. We constantly asked ourselves if we were doing what we were supposed to be doing as parents, we questioned ourselves when it came to being together and we questioned our futures together.
One day, Josh and I were lying in bed after putting Gannon down after a long day. I mentioned to him that we should get married at the chapel in the morning. Josh agreed, yet I felt he was just saying it and that maybe he was nervous to become husband and wife. The next morning, I was getting all dressed up and Josh came in all decked out in his boots and his cowboy belt buckle. I remember thinking back to the first time I had ever met him and how I fell in love with him right then and there. I remember taking this as a sign from God. Josh and I had our ups and downs as parents and in our relationship, but somewhere deep within, we were still the same young couple that fell in love with each other the first night we laid eyes on each other. When we got to the chapel, Josh and I sat in his truck for a while and talked about marriage. We made sure that getting married is what we both wanted for our futures. I looked at Josh and asked him if I was the one that he wanted to be with forever. I remember him looking back at me and being so sincere and he told me that I was everything he ever wanted. I remember being so happy to hear him say that! We got married at the chapel and when we said our vows, I remember looking into his eyes and seeing how much he meant it. I knew that no matter how many hardships in life we would face, that we would always overcome them because we loved each other and we were taking on this life together.
A month after our impromptu chapel wedding, we ended up having my big, dream wedding ceremony. The ceremony was everything that I had ever dreamed of as a little girl. Quickly after that though, things took a turn. I’m here to tell you guys, that it is SO true what everyone says. The first year of marriage is the hardest. In fact, I would consider mine a living hell. I had an expectation in my head of who I wanted Josh to be as a husband and a father and how I expected me to be as a wife and mom. Right after our big ceremony, we found out we were pregnant again with our little girl, Jaxie. This pregnancy put a lot of stress on us because we were just trying to figure out how to become the husband and wife that we needed to be. Now we were adding another child into the mix. After we had her, we still struggled as a couple and tried many things in order to make our relationship easier for the both of us.
We felt that maybe in order to be the couple that we needed to be, that we had to chase our dreams and support each other. I chased my dream and became an NPC fitness model. During this journey, I became pregnant with our third child, Broncs. He was a very big surprise, I actually didn’t end up telling anyone that I was pregnant until I was six months along. After I had Broncs, I struggled a lot with trying to be the wife and mom that I needed to be. I also had my worst battle with post-partum depression after I had Broncs. I ended up getting my tubes tied which didn’t help. I had so many emotions that Josh and I were still struggling with our roles as spouses and parents. I honestly considered leaving in order to change myself to be the wife that Josh needed and the mom that my children deserved. One day when I was by myself, I knew that something HAD to change or my family would suffer from who I was becoming.
That day, I decided to live a happier life. I tried to focus on the positive things. Instead of focusing on who I wanted Josh to be as a husband and father, I focused on how I wanted to be as a wife and a mom. I changed who I was entirely! I went from being one of the most negative people to being a positive, optimistic and hopeful person! My whole outlook on life changed over time. I enjoyed the time that I had with my family and I embraced the struggles I had with the support of my family. I became so positive about everything that I also decided to chase my dream not only as an NPC model but also as a business woman with my fitness program called #BodyByMac. As I became the wife and mom that I wanted to be, Josh became the husband and dad that I had always dreamed of. We are supportive of each other, we are great parents to our kids and most importantly, God is in the center of our relationship. He supports me every week as I chase my dreams of being an NPC model and a business woman, and on weekends we support Josh as he chases his dreams at the rodeo. We have made it through obstacles that life has had to throw at us, and now we are stronger than I ever dreamed was possible.
As I think back, sometimes I wish Josh and I had done things a little differently. I also think that God has a sense of humor with who he does place in your life and how they end up being there. If I had never gone to that basketball game with my friend, Josh and I would not be married and we wouldn’t have our three beautiful children. But at the same time, I am thankful for how Josh and I lived our lives even with the struggles that were thrown our way. I will say that no marriage worth being in is easy, but there are tactics that I wish we had thought of earlier in order to lessen the hard times that we endured together. Our love story is different than many, including my own siblings. Josh and I got to grow up together, not many couples get that opportunity. We went from being crazy in love teenagers, to parents just trying to make it work for our child, to struggling as a married couple, and now we have our three beautiful children and we are both living the life that we always wanted. I am so thankful for our journey so far and I am looking forward to seeing what our future still has in store for the McKee’s!