Today’s post is the first in my series on Godly relationships and family life. I thought I would start by sharing our story with you — how Ben and I met and got married, for this first part.
How We Met
It was January, 2005. I had broken up with my previous boyfriend in May of 2004, but we had remained close until the end of 2004. It was only in January 2005 that I was able to admit that it was really and truly over between us. I sat down then, and wrote out how I was feeling, and that I felt I was finally ready to start searching for “the one.” I was 19, almost 20 (okay, do the math…now you know how old I am!). I wrote out a long list of characteristics: nerdy, into computers, not into sports, tall, big build, religious, local. Then I set it aside and started going to online dating sites.
I met a few guys, and had a few dates. They were all perfectly nice, but…just not for me. I never went on a second date with any of them. In May, I found a Christian dating site. On the general dating sites I’d tried, so many guys seemed into drinking, partying, and having sex outside of marriage — which I was not. My first experience on the Christian site was, WHOA! There were so many awesome guys with the same values I had. There was one profile in particular that caught my attention…Wattsdude. I looked at several profiles and sent many guys “smiles,” but that one…at first, I just clicked off it. But I kept coming back to it. I stared at the picture for a long time. The guy was tall, kind of angry-looking, and standing far back. It was hard to see any details of his features. But somehow, I thought, “I could see myself married to this guy.” So I sent him a smile.
The next day he sent me an IM (I’d sneakily put my screen name in my profile). I responded, and we talked for HOURS! I went to bed that night feeling…awesome, special. This was really something. His name was Ben.
We Knew Before We Met
Every night for the next week, we talked for hours and hours. Ben was working second shift as a retail manager then, and usually got home between 10 and 11. I would wait, eagerly anticipating his arrival, and we would talk until 3 or 4 in the morning. Sometimes even longer. He said I made him smile, and no one made him smile. I ran downstairs several times to tell my mom things we were talking about. He understood things I thought and felt like no one ever had before.
Then he suggested we meet in person, have a date. He lived two hours away from me, but was willing to drive to me. His location, by the way, was the ONLY thing that did not meet the criteria I’d written out in January! I agreed.
By that time I was in summer school. I remember driving home from school the morning of our first date, filled with hope, and…love. I knew I was in love with him and I hadn’t even met him yet. (I learned later that on his way to meet me, he called his sister and told her that he thought he was in love with me, too, and felt we would get married.)
I saw him walking up the driveway that night…he was TALL! (He is 6’2″ almost and I am 5’3.”) We were so very nervous. We went out for a walk, then out to dinner. He told me all kinds of ridiculous things, lecturing me on why Walmart was good and technology was awesome and telling me how special he is. But, you’d have to know him to understand, he wasn’t saying it to be pompous, he was earnest, eager, innocent. He did, and does, tell it like it is and he’s not afraid to say things that many others are.
We parted that night, afraid to even get near one another, but agreed to a second date. This time when I said that, I meant it.
I Could See Myself Married To This Guy
We continued to talk for hours every single night. Ben came to see me the following week, and this time we hung out with some friends, went miniature golfing, and watched a movie at my house. He spent some time messing with my parents’ computer. I stood behind him, wanting to put my hands on his shoulders, a bit nervous about doing so, and thought, “I could see myself married to this guy.” That was when I knew.
In the next few weeks we started to talk about getting married. By the time I’d known him only a month, I knew if he asked me to marry him right then, I would. We would get to know each other more and figure everything else out later. I was absolutely sure I would marry him. I remember going out with friends on June 18th (just over a month after we’d met, and only days after we started “officially” dating — which, by the way, amounted to him asking me over IM “so are we boyfriend and girlfriend or what?”) and telling them, “Do not be surprised to see me engaged by the end of the year.”
I visited him for the first time in mid-June, around the time we started dating (actually, we had the “are we dating” conversation that night, after I drove home). I was nervous to drive so far alone but I did. I was so emotional and crazy and excited to be with him. We drove around, and talked, and went bowling, and watched a movie. I was still afraid to touch him or even get too close. But strangely I felt totally comfortable. It was like coming home. That night was the first time we ever hugged each other…even though we were still both pretty nervous!
Talking About Marriage
Soon after, we got into seriously talking about marriage. By mid-July we were sure we would get married. Ben had met my parents a couple times, very briefly. I hadn’t met his. We shared our first kiss in mid-July, and said “I love you” for the first time on July 22nd (it’s in my journal and it’s exactly a year and a week before our wedding!). We talked on the phone now, for hours, and told each other every story we could think of, and spent time each night praying before hanging up. We both prayed for each other and for our relationship, and for other things going on in our lives. We also prayed separately that God would show us the way and bless us if we were meant to be together. We felt sure God had intended us for each other.
In mid-August, Ben decided to take me home to visit his family. There’s something you need to understand — I was his very first girlfriend, ever. His family had teased him for years about never dating, and about how tight-lipped he typically was about his personal life. They barely knew anything about me, other than that we had been dating for a couple months, and he was bringing me for the weekend. I was so nervous, but the second I walked into his parents’ home, his mother hugged me and welcomed me. I felt so comfortable being there and talking to everyone. I had never been so comfortable in a new place before, when I was essentially surrounded by a bunch of strangers.
The next morning (keep in mind I met most of his family, including his parents, for the very first time the night before), we got up (from our separate bedrooms!) and had breakfast. We sat and talked while his mother cleaned the kitchen, and just as she was about to walk out of the room, Ben said, “Mom, we have something we want to tell you.” (Now, I can only imagine what was going through her head at this point…looking at her 20-year-old son sitting there, eager and goofy with his very first girlfriend, whom she didn’t know at all.) She came and sat down. Ben tossed his arm around my shoulders and we looked at each other, all silly and excited, and he said, “We’re, um…thinking about getting married next year.” His mother just looked at us, and said, “Okay….”
We spent the next hour discussing all of this. His mother was trying to process through all of this…so much at once! Towards the end of the discussion, his father walked into the room. Ben told him our news, and his father just grinned and said, “Yeah, I can see that.” He wasn’t surprised in the least.
At the end of the weekend, we drove back to my parents’ house. They weren’t home, and Ben had to leave. But when they got there, I told them our plans. My mom laughed. My dad seemed a bit upset. The ironic part (I learned later) was that while I was gone, my dad told my mom “If it goes well this weekend, they’re going to get married.” And my mom
said, “No way! It’s not that serious.” Our fathers somehow knew that we were meant to be, while our mothers worried more.
We began planning our wedding in September. By this time, I was driving down and staying with Ben every weekend. He had roommates, so I stayed in his room but slept on the air mattress across the room. We did lots of fun things, and even just hung out (this started his journey to eating better…he’d take me grocery shopping and I’d shake my head when he started to fill the cart with frozen pizzas and fries, so he’d say “Fine! Tell me what to buy,” and we’d shop and cook together).
At Christmas, Ben’s grandparents picked me up and took me to his parents’ house (there were many, many other interesting adventures in there, of the times I met his grandparents, etc. but I don’t have time to tell it all now). It was Christmas Eve. Ben said, “Let’s take our suitcases upstairs so they’re not in the way.” His sister had hugged me twice by then, which I thought was a little weird, but whatever. I agreed. We went upstairs and Ben (who was wearing gray sweatpants and a Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt, something I never let him forget) started talking to me. Then he said, “Well, I need to change my pants,” and went to close the door. I was really surprised — didn’t he want me to leave the room before he did that? Unlike a lot of couples, we were waiting until we got married and I’d never seen him undressed at all. But, nervously, I went with it. He came over to talk to me again, then got down on one knee, pulled a ring box from beneath the bed, and said, “Will you marry me?” Of course I said yes! (After that I did leave the room and he changed, lol.)
We went downstairs and everyone else knew exactly what had been going on upstairs, and they were all thrilled. He’d driven up the night before and had shown everyone the ring and had told them his plans. I make fun of him all the time for the way he proposed, but he said that if he’d gotten dressed up and taken me out somewhere nice, I would have immediately known. That’s true, because Ben hates getting dressed up and going out, so doing so would have meant something big. He said he preferred to surprise me. I wasn’t entirely surprised because he had promised to propose by the end of the year and it was Christmas, but I didn’t know where or when he was going to do it exactly.
Our wedding date was set for July 29th, 2006. We continued to pray and plan and were so excited to start our lives together. It was torture not being able to be together every second of every day. By May I was spending 5 days a week here (he already owned the house we live in now) and only 2 days at my parents’. The more intimate details of our courtship, I’ll skip…but suffice to say that we did wait until we were married.
Anyway, we were married on July 29th and we began our life together! It was wonderful and we feel so blessed and happy to be together. We are sure that God brought us together and we are just thrilled with our life.
More on our story (including children) later….
How did you meet your spouse? Do you feel God brought you together?