Ben walked into church that first Sunday in our new student congregation Fall of 2010. He had a girlfriend, and he didn't date girls he went to church with every Sunday. There was too much potential for awkwardness if they broke up. So he wasn't really looking, but he surveyed the crowd: "I don't date girls in my ward, but if I were going to date someone, it would be her." I was wearing a pink sweater and a white skirt.
Two months later he complimented my earrings. I said thanks. I still had no idea who he was.
December 6 we had a church activity on a Monday night. My roommate won the ugly sweater contest and we all stayed to help clean up. One roommate hovered over the piano as some talented guy played his heart out. He was really, really good. "Sisters before misters," but I did decide it was okay to compliment his talent. We were introduced. His name was Ben. I promise I wasn't even flirting.
Two days later I got a facebook friend request.
Our first date was set for Friday.
Thursday him and his friends found his way to our apartment (they had met my roommates at the activity). We ended up on a couch together watching elf, with a good foot of space between us.
Friday he picked me up in a white vneck. We decorated gingerbread houses. It was fun.
Saturday we all went to the tumbling gym together.
Sunday he was back on my couch watching a movie with his roommates. This time our legs were touching.
Monday we all got ice cream to celebrate the start of finals. He offered to pay for mine.
Tuesday he came over when I asked him not to. I didn't get much studying done.
Wednesday he took me on our second date: a christmas concert in an art museum.
Thursday I flew to New Hampshire for Christmas break.
I got back on a Monday. He was on my doorstep 10 minutes later with candy he and his mom had made for me.
Tuesday he separated his shoulder snowboarding and I didn't see him.
Wednesday he started the drugs for the pain that gave him highs and lows.
Luckily Jen was there to visit and convince me that being super happy and then sulking in the corner a minute later was probably not the way he usually acted - and I should give him a chance.
She offered to be a bridesmaid at our wedding.
At dinner Ben mentioned why he didn't understand why people couldn't just date to have fun - "good, this boy isn't going to try and marry me." How wrong I was.
The next two weeks involved road trips to California, omelette night, episodes of 24, and his best friends birthday party. It also involved lots of hand holding, maximum cuddling, and absolutely no kissing.
I saw him everyday and found myself turning down other guys on the off chance Ben would ask me out for the weekend. So when he told me he didn't want to date anyone else, all I could say was that even if I wanted to he wasn't giving me any time to do that. I guess that meant we were exclusive :)
Valentines day was poetry scavenger hunts with lots of roses and hot chocolate in the canyon under the stars. Just a week after that was our first "I love you" and talk of marriage (hypothetically - and a long ways down the road).
March was more talk of marriage, rock climbing, late nights, and lots of kissing.
April Ben asked me to marry him - without a ring, , by a duck pond, late on a Sunday night. I was so surprised and cried very very happy tears. We picked a ring and set a date - and told our parents and roommates.
May he got down on one knee and I said yes. We told everyone.
June was lots of wedding planning and our last month together engaged.
July was the hardest month. It was a lot of texting, calling, facebooking, thank goodness for the internet. It was a lot of yearning and longing and counting down.
August was our summer wedding. Yes, just three months after being engaged. It was red and elegant. It was delicious and pure. It was crazy and perfect.
Marriage meant a wonderful honeymoon in Key Largo, moving into our new apartment together, and starting our whole new life. We're not experts, but I've learned that marriage is easy if you work at it hard, and it gets hard if you only work at it easy. We love each other. We laugh. Sometimes we cry. But I know he's always there for me, forever. We change, and we expect the other person to change. We're growing up together, and I wouldn't trade it for the world.