We had an interesting dating relationship. Ben really liked me for a long time, but I didn't return the sentiment. Looking back, I've wondered if my feelings of not wanting to date him were some sort of warning. I don't know. I don't think so. On the contrary, I thought he was great. Perfect, even. But he was short.
The first time we spent time together, it was because my best friend was on a date with his best friend, whom I had a major crush on. All my roommates had dates that night, and I was alone in my apartment--feeling sorry for myself because my crush liked my roommate instead of me.
I was doing laundry, and as I walked across the complex, I saw into Ben's apartment. He was sitting on the couch with the TV on, doing something on his laptop. I knocked on his door.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"That's stupid. It's Saturday night. Want to come watch a movie with me?"
We watched Dan in Real Life. We sat on completely opposite ends of the couch.
He charmed me with his smile and innocent humor. The only problem is that he was shorter than me. Half an inch.
Ben really liked me and kept asking me on dates. I would go. And then later I would shoot him down and say things were getting too serious and I just wanted to be friends. We would be friends until he couldn't take it anymore and we would not speak to each other for a while. Until one of us couldn't take that anymore, and we would agree that being friends was better than nothing.
That went on for months. We were friends. He asked me on dates. I went on dates with him. Things would get too serious. I would say I didn't want to be tied down. We would stop talking. It was miserable. Wash, rinse, repeat.
I didn't want to be serious with him. He was too nice. He lacked self confidence (ahem...addiction). He was a total pushover and would do anything I wanted. He never had opinions. He always agreed with me. It was so frustrating. I felt like he had a spineless personality. [He is really not spineless. He was just trying to impress me by being agreeable and everything. He is, in fact one of the most opinionated people I know.]
Eventually, he gave me an ultimatum. We could not be just friends. He loved me, and we either dated or didn't interact with each other at all. I chose the latter, and I tried to move on with my life. It was the most miserable week of my college experience. He had become my everything. Even though we weren't "dating", we did everything together. I talked to him about everything. And, as it turns out, our whole ward thought we were an item anyway, and I hadn't been on a date with anybody else in months. Because even though he had a spineless personality, something clicked, and we spent all our time together. He was really fun to be around, and he genuinely cared about me. He didn't use me as a object. He was really respectful. And he was funny.
My friends referred to me as the "living dead" that week we weren't friends.
My dad thought something "bad" was going on because I was a complete wreck. He thought Ben was emotionally/sexually manipulating me and told me to stay away from him.
I went on a date with an old crush. He just used me. And he thought it was funny.
I can't remember how it all happened, but in the end, I think Ben texted me around midnight on that Saturday night asking if we could talk. I met him outside, and we walked around and talked almost all night. It was beautiful. I was afraid. Obviously I couldn't live without him.
The idea of dating someone who I knew loved me so passionately, while I was just trying to figure my life out, was terrifying. All I knew was that living without him was not an option.
I remember praying, "God, if I'm supposed to love him, please help me to. I've put him through so much, and I don't know why. I don't know why he loves me when I clearly don't return that. So, please, help my heart to be softened if it's supposed to. Or please, get us out of this mess if we aren't supposed to be together."
We dated for a couple of months, and I started loving him. Then, I felt very strongly and clearly that we needed to break up. For three weeks in a row. On a Thursday night. I pushed it off because I was so afraid of hurting him again. I felt like such an awful person for putting him through so much. On the third prompting, I finally did it. I told him I didn't know why, but that it just needed to happen. We needed to break up.
In that week, I tried to move on. I tried to figure out what God wanted me to do. I had no idea, but I was putting myself in God's hands.
During that week, I worked through a lot of personal things going on. And, eventually, I came to the conclusion that I was going to marry him. You know, if he would take me back. It was scary. My family hadn't really been supportive of me dating him anyway (because I had a missionary whom they LOVED, and at this point in time, he would be coming home in about 7 weeks). I had no idea how my family would react to me dating Ben again. Especially after everything. My parents weren't very thrilled with our off/on relationship and the impact it had on me. And they especially weren't thrilled about me dating him after all the negative things I had said about this guy who just wouldn't leave me alone and had no spine.
I thought a lot about that missionary. I wondered if things would have changed between us when he came back. I wondered if I would still love him. He knew I was dating other people, but deep down, we both wanted me to wait for him. I actively waited. I dated, but always had him in the back of my mind.
I was also scared of commitment. I wanted to serve a mission. I wanted a lot of things that being married would change.
I was scared of being tied down to a guy shorter than me...
But maybe it wasn't the shortness. I don't know. All I know is that I was scared but excited and doing my best to follow what God wanted for me.
I put a lot of prayer into the decision to call Ben and ask if we could talk.
I knew when we started dating again that we would be married.
I remember praying, "God, what is going on? Why did you ask me to break up with him? Why do I now feel like I need to date him again? God, I can't date him again unless I'm going to marry him. This is too much. Please, if I'm supposed to marry him, help me to know. If I'm not supposed to marry him, please don't make me date him again. It's painful for both of us. If I'm supposed to love him enough to marry him, help me to feel that."
I felt this really strong feeling that we were meant to be together. I felt like we had a divine mission to fulfill together. I KNEW I was going to marry him. I knew that's what God wanted for me.
When I eventually met with Ben to talk, I told him everything. He also had powerful spiritual experiences that he would marry me.
I felt so lucky. So lucky that he had waited. So lucky that he was patient enough and close enough to God that he would follow the Spirit when I was telling him things should be otherwise. He just waited.
When we were talking about becoming engaged, I asked him if he looked at pornography. He said no, and he just looked at me with so much love and humor with how awkward I felt asking the question when of course the answer was no.
I felt so lucky. So lucky that he was so pure and innocent. So lucky that after all my bad relationships and horrible guys I had dated in high school, I finally had found someone who would take me where I wanted to go. He was so respectful and so nice. So pure. I was so lucky.
On the day we were married, I felt so lucky. So lucky to have him. So lucky to have put all the hurt behind us and move on. I smiled so much my face hurt. I was giddy in love.
I felt so lucky.
My friend said, "Ben is amazing. Have fun being married to a general authority."
I felt so lucky.
Read the next part of this story here.