Dodi and John Geisler met through a series of letters when John was aboard the USS Raleigh, but they never admitted that they loved each other.
HORIZON WEST Dodi’s first contact with John Geisler was in the early 1990s, when she and her roommates were asked to write letters to Marines aboard the USS Raleigh on the Persian Gulf.
When she got a letter back from John, she felt the connection instantly.
“He was just really funny,” Dodi said. “We just started writing to each other, and it was really like a journal for both of us.”
Dodi came to see John as one of her best friends, though they had never met in person. They had each other’s photos, and sent each other lifesavers, because they considered each other a “life-saver.” Once John told Dodi he hadn’t hugged anyone in two years, so she sent him a hug card. He told her he wanted six kids.
When John returned to the United States, they began to speak over the phone. But soon after, his parents and family friends arranged a welcome-home party for him, where he was connected with a daughter of the family friends, an arrangement that made his parents proud. One day, Dodi received a call from John: He was getting married.
“I remember hanging up the phone and crying,” Dodi said. “I was just so shocked and secretly kind of in love with him, and I remember my mom saying, ‘Doesn’t he know he’s supposed to marry you?’”
As the years passed, Dodi entered into a marriage of her own, which was abusive. But she felt she committed and decided to stay with her husband.
One day early on in the marriage, John called Dodi, telling her he was struggling in his marriage. She gave him the advice she had been telling herself: Stick with it.
“My advice to anyone is that, as a husband, what you put into your marriage, and what I put into (Dodi) is multiplied back to me. If I feel like I’m not getting anything, it’s because my attitude and the fact that I’m not giving anything. The more you give, the more get back.” — John Geisler
John realized as a married man, it wasn’t wise to continue to call Dodi. So for the next 13 years, they didn’t contact each other.
After being with Dodi for 16 years, Dodi’s husband left her.
Dodi began to clean out her closets to prepare for the divorce and discovered a stash of old letters from John. She decided to write him another letter, which ended up being 17 pages long.
John sent an email back, which opened with “Thank God He sent you back to me.”
Dodi called him, learning his wife had left him. They began to get to know each other again over the phone. One day, John had a short layover in Dallas, where Dodi was living at the time. She drove to the airport and met him for the first time.
“He was far more handsome than his pictures,” she said. “And we sat there and held hands. He showed me pictures of the kids, and we just ... kind of giggled.”
John had to go catch his flight and sent Dodi a text.
You had promised me that hug 18 years ago on the Persian Gulf.
They wanted to date one another long distance, but Dodi hesitated and relied on her faith in God to show her if it was even a wise decision. She prayed God would give her a sign, like their divorce decrees being signed on the same day. On Feb. 20, 2009, they both unintentionally signed the papers on the same day.
Their relationship moved quickly, and soon, they introduced their kids — John had three and Dodi had two. They married Aug. 11, 2009, at a courthouse, with a celebration for family friends following on Oct. 24. Blending the family together was a difficult time for the
“We both were in marriages that were just not healthy,” John said. “The kids suffered; each of us suffered. And then when we got together, it appeared almost as if we were starting to go down that same path again. And we woke up, and we handed it to God, and we realized that this was the way it was supposed to be.”
Dodi and John, now Horizon West residents, found peace for the first time in a marriage and began to follow God together. The peace stayed with them through more hard times, through sickness and the loss of a child. Dodi became pregnant four times in four years but miscarried one of the children. Together, the Geislers have eight children, the oldest, 21 and the youngest, 3.
“My advice to anyone is that, as a husband, what you put into your marriage, and what I put into (Dodi) is multiplied back to me,” John said. “If I feel like I’m not getting anything, it’s because my attitude and the fact that I’m not giving anything. The more you give, the more get back.”
Contact Jennifer Nesslar at [email protected].