How We Met
Ben and I met during staff week at a summer camp in Texas in May 2015. We were playing an ice breaker game where we had to find different partners and do whatever awkward move our director told us to do with each different partner. For one of the last ones, we ended up partners. Our director told us this was our “heart buddy” and that we needed to take their hand and squeeze it to mimic a heart beating. We were both super weirded out but we did it for a little bit anyway, and in the process, introduced ourselves to each other. Throughout camp season, we ended up in the same friend hangout group on the weekends but were never more than just friends. The very last weekend of camp, we were hanging out at a park in Palestine, TX, and I was standing by the playground equipment, not really participating. He ran by and yelled “Ginny, come swing with me!” completely out of the blue. So I joined him, and we swing on these strange swings and laughed and enjoyed ourselves.
In September of that same year, our mutual friend was trying to “find me a guy” but had named every guy in my school and I didn’t want to date any of them. Finally, as his last resort, he blurted out “what about Ben?!” and my face turned red, and I couldn’t say no. I just replied and said “I’m not good enough for someone like Ben.”
In October, we started to text. I lived 1,000 miles away from him in Wyoming. Texting led to skyping, and skyping led to November 7th, 2015, when he made a “blanket fort” on Skype and asked me if I would be his girlfriend. I said yes and squealed :)
We didn’t get to see each other until Christmas break in Denver International Airport, when we were going to meet up and fly to see his family. I will never forget how I screamed and how he smiled when we finally got to embrace each other for the very first time. It was amazing. There are no adequate words. We said goodbye just before Christmas Day in the Killeen airport and cried our eyes out. It would be four months before I would see him again, in April. And finally again, in May, when we would spend the summer together ministering at camp once more.
how they asked
The summer before our engagement was extremely tough. A staffer at our camp passed away tragically and I had been in charge of his care prior to his death. It was an extremely scary time and left me with a lot of emotional scarring, including PTSD symptoms that kept me from sleeping and eating much at all.
At the end of camp season, his family invited me along to a vacation to visit their extended family in New Jersey. We began our trek there August 1, and that same day we stopped at Spring Lake Park in Texarkana to eat our lunches. There were two or three stone bridges overlooking this pond that had fountains pouring out of it. It was beautiful. I shared a love of bridges with my sister, who passed away in December 2010 when I was 15. I got really excited when I saw those stone bridges and the mucky water underneath because it symbolized a lot to me and it made me remember my sister who was now with the Lord.
After the picnic, he offered to take the cooler back to the car for his mom (a normal occurrence) and so I followed to help. Little did I know, he was trying to go get the ring from his backpack in the car. He managed to get it out with me there and I was clueless! He managed to drop off the outer box in the car as he jokingly crawled through the backseat to “tease” me. We walked hand-in-hand around that park and we stopped on that stone bridge and I explained to him my story of sharing the love of bridges with my sister. He listened and was so sweet (as usual).
We kept walking and I admired the beautiful fountains, and then he asked me to come swing with him, just like that day at the park in Palestine the year before. After that, he walked me back up to that bridge and put his arm around me while we stared at the beautiful scenery in front of us. After a few minutes, he turned and took my hands in his. He told me I was the love of his life, and with eyes full of tears and gentle smile he dropped down to one knee and said “I want you to be my wife.”
“Ginny Ticen, will you marry me?” and I immediately started crying and squealing from joy. I said “YES!! yes yes yes yes!” as he slipped the beautiful ring on my finger.