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True love stories: Soldier remarries old flame

A couple revisits romance 23 years later.

By Kristin Wong Jan 4, 2013 3:44PM

The Heart Beat is excited to introduce our new weekly feature, "True love stories." Each week, a couple with a truly amazing love story will be profiled. If you know a couple with a story worth sharing, please email us at msnlivingmail@micros​oft.com for a chance to be featured.

In 1984, 19-year-old Victor Santiago married his high school sweetheart, Helen. The two had known each other since Victor was 13. But despite their childhood romance, they divorced four years later.

True love stories: Helen and Victor Santiago remarry years later in Rome, Italy."I believe I really did not know anything about relationships," Victor told MSN's The Heart Beat. "She was my first love…the stress of outside influences and all—there were just a lot of things."

Time passed, and two decades later, Victor was serving in Iraq. He found himself thinking about Helen often.

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"We had not seen or spoken to each other for over 20 years. But, truth be told, I thought of her often. Almost every day."

One day, Victor found Helen on Facebook. He decided to reach out and send his old flame a message, despite the looming fear of rejection in the back of his mind.

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"I was with my unit on a mission…[I] decided that if Iraq can't hurt me, then neither can a simple rejection."

After Helen replied, the two began communicating daily, via phone and Skype.

"We quickly fell in love, once again," Victor said.

Due to distance and circumstance, the two didn't have a traditional dating relationship. They did, however, know that it was time to meet again, face-to-face.

They decided Rome was as good a place as any to reunite. Upon seeing each other at the airport, Victor and Helen were overcome with emotion:

"When we saw each other, we hugged and cried for about ten minutes," Victor recalled.

It was in Italy that they decided to tie the knot again—this time in a small church near the Roman Colosseum. In fact, their wedding was so beautiful that it was featured on the blog Italianromewedding.com:

"Helen was simply gorgeous, with her elegant bridal dress and a white bouquet with just some spots of red. The weather was incredibly warm and sunny that didn’t seem to be mid January…. it couldn’t have been better! The sun was low and golden… just perfect."

Victor's take on the breathtaking Roman backdrop:

"Rome was beautiful, but what made it more so was to once again have my wife, my friend, by my side."

Helen and Victor Santiago marry in Rome

Victor is currently stationed in Arizona while Helen lives and works as a nurse in New York. He sent his story to The Heart Beat, writing:

"I would like to have our true love story told so that I may show the world how much I did, do and will love her."

He also shared their key to a happy marriage:

"For me, age and time have taught me...you must trust in yourself and in your partner. You must love each other unconditionally and you must be friends. But above all, and this is most important, whether angry or not, always kiss goodnight!"

Photos: courtesy of Victor Santiago

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