In Iraq, Robert shared a house in Baghdad with 15 other soldiers. After three months of daily missions and no time to cook or clean, they decided to hire some Iraqi women to help them with the housework. One day when he was on the roof making a phone call, Robert saw one of the women, named Vivian, washing the floor. "We just smiled at each other," he says.
Though Vivian did not speak English and Robert spoke almost no Arabic, they managed to say hello to each other in Arabic. "He was the first American that told me hello," says Vivian. After that, the couple spent the next three months living for the few moments each day that they could see each other.
"Even though we couldn't speak a word of each other's language, I don't think there was ever a moment where we didn't understand each other," Robert says. "I knew Vivian was my soul mate very early on."
When Robert's mission in Iraq ended, he vowed to find a way to get Vivian out of Baghdad and to the United States. After six weeks apart, they were reunited in Jordan; Vivian left everything she knew to be with Robert. Vivian secured a visa to live in the U.S. and she and Robert were married a month later.
"I think God brought together two people from the opposite sides of the world from two completely different cultures, two different ways of life, two different languages, he blessed it, and he put us together, gave us a love that's strong, and let us be happy," Robert says.