I have a decidedly unromantic statement to share: My husband and I are not soul mates. Fate did not decide that we were "meant to be". Our lives were not preordained to intertwine.
Don't get me wrong, Ben and I share a terrific marriage. We love one another fully and plan to stay married for a very long time. ('Til death do us part.) However, we talk about our relationship quite often and have concluded that we would each be equally satisfied being married to other people. Do you know why? It's because we've decided to make love a choice.
If Ben had gone to a different high school, or we had been different ages, or I had not moved to Calgary, chances are Ben and I would have not formed a relationship. We would have met other people, may have married different partners, had children and formed different families. Our lives could have taken divergent paths.
I am truly glad we did meet and were attracted to one another. But do you know what I am even more thankful for? I am grateful that Ben comes from a good family, he serves God, he's loving and caring, he enjoys being with children, and he takes the responsibility of providing for us seriously.
The thing is ... if I had met someone with the same character qualities as Ben, I think I could have been equally happy being married to that man. Why? Because I would choose to love him.
Yes, when Ben and I started dating as teenagers I was totally infatuated with him. We were "madly in love". The sight of him made my heart flip flop and turned my knees to jello. I though he was the cutest boy in the school. (And I know I wasn't the only one!) I could hardly wait to become his wife.
But the rush of first love does fade over time. Daily life begins to take over. A truly strong marriage isn't built upon the foundation of intense emotions. "Falling in love" is fun and pleasurable, but the feelings don't last forever. Hollywood would like us to believe that "love conquers all when two hearts are meant to be joined as one". (But we all know how long Hollywood marriages last...)
Ben and I have a solid, loving marriage because we try to put God first, we have compatible personalities, and we share common values and beliefs. Sure, it doesn't hurt that we are physically attracted to one another. Let's be honest, though --- I weigh twenty pounds more than I did on my wedding day, and Ben has a lot less hair! We choose to love one another despite our shortcomings.
Yes, I believe it was God's will that Ben and I marry. But God's will is not a mysterious thing. I believe the Lord presents us with many choices in life. It's just a matter of following the guidelines He's given us through in the Bible. It could have easily been God's will for me to marry another man instead.
But you know, I'm glad that the man I did marry is named Benjamin Inkster.
... and the sight of him still gives me butterflies in my stomach. :-)