When I was single, I was in school and also working at my church leading children's ministries. I was living at the home of some dear friends and their family, and one night after Mary and I watched a Hallmark movie where the spinster aunts were called The Unclaimed Treasures, Peter (who feels like an older brother to me) said, "That's you...the Unclaimed Treasure." I laughed along but a few weeks later when I was praying, I felt like the Lord said to my heart, "You're not an unclaimed treasure, you are My treasure, and when I give you to the one I have for you, he'll know that about you too." It felt like a pretty specific promise that kind of settled and grew in my heart for the next few years. I first met Ben at a church conference for 20 and 30 somethings. He was from California and was cruising around in flip flops, sweats and bedhead (which honestly has been a bane to me our whole marriage). I was there from Texas with friends, looking for a way out every time he managed to come over and talk to me. In fact, the last night there was supposed to be some get together at a gazebo on the campus we were staying that I hadn't heard about. He found me and asked me if I'd go to the gazebo with him. "Ummmm, no thank you."
That was it for the next two years and when I was planning on attending the same conference again. I mentioned to a friend, laughing, "I wonder if that gazebo guy will be there again." So that first night we were put in small discussion groups and I took the last chair in a small group of about six, looked across from me, and there was The Gazebo Guy. Awkward.
We ended up being a part of a group of about a dozen people that hung out for five days and I found I really enjoyed him. He was funny and articulate and could carry a conversation. After the conference, we emailed back and forth, and I found myself so loving hearing about what he had to say. Determined to keep things at a friendship level, I did let him call but always wanted to clarify where we were at. Pushing it a little, he would always sign emails "your friend and admirer". After a year of this and two short visits when we happened to be in the same area at the same time, I went to China for three weeks....and found myself thinking of him constantly.
It was rather alarming. I wanted to keep this at a friendship level because he couldn't be the one God had for me....could he? When I returned I told Ben I needed a week to pray and hear from God as to what our relationship was to be. During that week, I felt like the Lord confirmed promises that He'd given my heart and showed me that Ben was the one he had chosen for me. When we talked at the end of the week, Ben said, "Well, I'll tell you what I know. God told me that you are His treasure." That was enough for me. You may put a ring on my finger now. A few months later, after spending about 3-4 hours on the phone each night (he had a $900 cellphone bill one month), flying back and forth to see each other over weekends, we were married. We counted up the days that we actually were in the same city before we were married, and it was 37 including the two conferences we were at together. It's crazy and a prescription that we would never just recommend for anyone else but it sure worked for us, because God put us together. I also think it helped that we talked for hours and hours and hours beforehand.
We used "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also" as our scripture when we got married, and he really has treasured me.
It's kind of amazing to me how well Ben fits me. Ten years later I know absolutely that there is no-one who could possibly love me the way he does. When we first were married, I was a bit surprised by how satisfying the companionship part of marriage was and ten years later it's deepened. We are certainly far from perfect and have walked through some bumps in the road but through it all we have chosen to honor each other and the commitment we've made. I remember Ben saying to me right at the beginning, "I just can't imagine there being anything that will come up between us that will be worth me holding so tightly to, that I would choose it over you." He has been steadily himself, choosing to bless me and our kids and to be life giving. He honors my heart with the way he puts me first. I love him.
This Thursday is our ten year anniversary. I'm hopping on a plane tomorrow to join him in Santa Barbara. He's working for the week and I get to eat bonbons and read in the sun on the rooftop of our lovely hotel. On Thursday, we are going to have portraits done by a wonderful photographer who I have admired for years. I am so delighted. There's not much else that I would want for our ten year anniversary than some really good pictures of us, without me having to set the timer and dive into the shot! Well, that is except for the little trip to Paris he's taking me on in May :).
I am very thankful for ten years with Ben, for marriage which is even better now than it was then, and for a God who more than kept His promise to me.
Happy anniversary, Baby.