Posted January 4, 2017 - by Lori Hadacek Chaplin
On a crisp fall day in 2014, Ben and Carly were celebrating their one-year anniversary at Glen Eyrie Castle in Colorado Springs when Ben got down on one knee and proposed. “There was no romantic speech or poem to go with it; just a simple “Marry me?” It was one of those rare and perfect moments,” says Carly, 24. “I was so overwhelmed with joy at the sight of him proposing that I forgot to reply with a ‘Yes.’”
That moment wouldn’t have happened, but for a mistake
Since Carly was tall, she set her search parameters to 5'6'' for minimum height, filtering out shorter members. Luckily, one day, she left that filter blank without realizing it, and she found an additional profile of a man named Ben. “I thought, ‘He seems like fun,’ so I sent him a coffee emoticon.”
Later the same day, she received a reply from Ben, 26, saying, “I read your profile and not to be pompous, but I think I am the perfect guy for you.'"
“How could you argue with that!” she exclaims.
She adds, “I feel like God played a part in my forgetting to fill in the height requirements, and He gave me a valuable lesson. Who I thought was Mr. Right and who God had picked for me were two different things. I learned that I should be more open to things in life and not filter out the opportunities God is putting in front of me.”
It felt like we had hugged 100 times before
After talking the whole month of August 2013, Ben bought Carly—a poor college student—a plane ticket to fly from Wisconsin to Colorado to meet him in person. They didn’t have any time to waste because his nine-month deployment would begin in October.
Over Skype, Ben had assured Carly and her parents that he was a nice guy. And he proved this by calling Carly's dad—before she flew to Colorado—to ask permission to date his daughter.
“I was confident and felt extremely comfortable that she was the person I was going to spend the rest of my life with; she just felt right,” Ben remembers.
Carly boarded the plane knowing that she was going to see the man of her dreams. Ben met her at the airport with a sign with her name on it. “When we hugged for the first time, it was so familiar. It was like I had hugged him 100 times before,” she says.
Ben adds, “I felt comfortable and excited, and a tad bit nervous when I first saw her.”
When Carly arrived in Colorado, a rainstorm had caused flooding. “The next day we met up and walked around the flooding to his friend’s house where we dug trenches trying to get the water out of her yard and house. It might not be the ideal date you imagine, but seeing us working and having fun together made me love him even more.”
Our relationship was almost completely long distance
For Carly, it was great that she and Ben both enjoyed being outdoors, liked dogs, and wanted a big family, but it was the beauty they saw in each other’s hearts that made them fall in love. “When certain parts of conversations came up that would make the other person vulnerable, we were both very forgiving and compassionate about what the other person’s experiences were,” they say.
This compassion towards one another helped them to lower any walls and to fall in love.
Ben and Carly’s dating, engagement, and wedding planning was all done long distance. “I was living in Iowa, and he was in Colorado during the engagement. We had been dating 22 months when we got married, and of those 22, only about 4.5 months were spent in person.”
Cake in the face
“The ceremony was amazingly beautiful, and I was surprised how calm I was despite everything,” Ben recalls. “We basically just made things up on the spot for what we thought should happen next.”
One of his favorite memories of the wedding was throwing cake at Carly’s face.
Her memory is little more romantic: “Ben surprised me and learned how to waltz for our wedding. Dancing with him made me feel like we were the only two people in the world.”
Looking back at the fact that they saw each other in person so little during their 22 months of dating, I asked Carly if she would recommend it to other couples.
“It made the first part of our marriage challenging because we weren't all that familiar with being in person together, but we were able to work on communication and figure it out together. I wouldn't recommend such a short time together, but we did what we could to see each other here and there, and it made being together in marriage that much more special,” she explains.
In August of 2016, they welcomed their baby boy, Declan, into their family.