How We said "YES"
Little did we know, we were about to tie the knot.
Let me start with our first date. Ben was working at a restaurant on the west end by English Bay and had asked me to meet him at 3pm at the restaurant, that's when he would be done his shift. I had a long day, I was exhausted, I did not even put any effort to change after work or fix my hair. I just showed up. There he was with a big smile on his face as soon as he saw me. He grabbed his jacket and handed me an umbrella and a snack. I had the big smile on my face, I had wanted an umbrella for months and was being too lazy to buy one. Ben picked an umbrella that a customer left at the restaurant and never came back for. I like to say he stole it for me! I loved that the first thing he ever gave me was something I really wanted. Then he pulled his arm up for me to hold on to. I loved it. I felt comfortable and so I put my arm around his and we went down to English Bay to walk the seawall. It was raining and we got to use my new umbrella. Ben and I walked for 3 hours, in the rain, talking and getting to know eachother. Ben would not let go of my arm the entire time. I felt appreciated and it was nice. Something about his presence felt familiar, I felt very comfortable, safe and at ease with him. It was almost like we had known eachother already, in a different life perhaps; it was a very weird feeling and it was a good one. At one point, I told Ben most men don't actually make their intentions clear, and I asked what his were. Ben said "My intention was to take you on a first date, kiss you and then ask you for a second date if I liked you" I smiled. Then we had a dinner, he had me play a game to see who would pick up the bill. I lost. So he gave me another chance and I lost again. So he tried another game, and I lost lol. I was definitely paying the bill by then. Then we went grocery shopping for the week and went to our homes separately.
A few minutes after I got home, I got a text from him saying "I like you, I want to see you again." This guy did not waste anytime and I liked it.
Ben and I had been dating for about 2 months and overall things were going really well. It felt easy, fun, playful and we dealt with things that couples typically deal with much later in their relationships. Things were moving fast and we were both comfortable with that. Ben started having conversations about kids. It became very obvious to me that Ben was a big family guy and he really wanted kids and he was ready to have them. My first insight was "Wow, this is amazing, when I declared I was ready for a healthy, loving partnership and a family, THE guy showed up." But what I didn't know is that Ben was actually ready NOW. When I started realizing that Ben was actually ready, I started getting anxious. Anxious because as a Lebanese, Palestinian, we don't just have babies. So we had a great chat about it and I shared with Ben for me it would be important to be married first. I didn't care for a wedding but the marriage part was important for me, because my culture said so really. Ben was on board and we left it there.
A few days later, May 28th, "Guru" a lovely man I have known for years who has some gift of knowing things but isn't a psychic that reads the future, saw me and asked with the biggest smile on his face "So, when are you guys signing the papers?" "Papers? What papers?" I said. "Marriage papers" he said. "You guys are ready and you should actually do it on May 30th, it's a really good lucky number date for you and Ben. It will bring you both very good luck." "What are you talking about? like May 30th in 2 days? Get married?" "Yes!" He said with a big smile. Is this guy crazy, I thought. Yes Ben and I had just talked about it but it was our first conversation about marriage. So on my way home I called my sisters and shared what just happened. Both my sisters had the same reaction "That's great, you seem really happy, Ben is great, it's what you wanted, so what's the problem?" "Well don't you girls think that's kinda crazy?" "Maybe but so what? What are you afraid of?" Then I realized I actually felt really good and at peace with it but my only fear was "what would people think?"
The next morning somehow it organically came up again while Ben and I were just getting up. Then I told him what "Guru" had said. Ben had the BIGGEST smile on his face. "Why are you smiling?!" I asked. Ben was excited and he was ready. "Let's do it" he said. "What?! Don't you think it's crazy?" I said but Ben was persistent and he knew what he wanted. So I called 2 of my close friends at the time and had separate conversations with them. Both were as excited and supportive as Ben and my sisters. I couldn't believe it, no one seemed to think it was "crazy". “What is wrong with everyone? How does no one think this is crazy?” I took time to think about it and realized quickly how silly that was. People are always going to think what they want to think regardless of what I say or do. I also realized I knew what I felt in my heart, but I was testing people around me to see how it would be received. So then I left it.
The next day, Monday May 30th, Ben went to work and I went to school. At 9am my sister Mia called. I texted her letting her know I was in class and I coudln't talk. She texted back "Is this wedding happening? I need to know if we are all coming over tonight?" This wasn't over! I thought everyone would forget about it and we would move on with our lives, but that was not happening. I told her I didn't plan anything and I would have to find a marriage commissioner first. Then Mia said she would find one for us and get back to us. I stopped everything and said a Prayer. "God if this is from you, I do not want to lift a finger, I want this to happen with ease and love." Not even 5 minutes later, Mia texted back. Mia and her family had just suddenly moved with friends temporarly a couple days prior and her friend was a marriage commissioner and agreed to come down to marry us that night!! I wish you had seen my face! "Whaattt! How is this even possible!? This is happening?!" So I called Ben and he was even more excited! "Let's do it." he said. And so we did.
At 4pm that day, Ben came from work, picked me up from school, we went to London Drugs, picked up a marriage licence, ordered some food and brought everything home. An hour later, my sisters, their families, the marriage commissioner and a good friend of mine all showed up with balloons and cakes. I had not changed but happened to be wearing a cute little white dress with pink flowers and Ben was wearing denim shorts and a white shirt.
Here we were on the afternoon of Monday May 30th actually exchanging our vows at our little apartment in Yaletown. We both had the biggest smiles on our face, we felt like little kids and we were in so much gratitude. It was a short and sweet ceremony and even though none of it was planned, but really NONE of it, I would not do it any differently! I had no dress, no engagement, no ring, no venue, no flowers, no bridesmaids or bffs, yet it was perfect. It was just about Ben and I. In that moment, nothing else matters. What people, our families and friends would think. It was simply about our commitment to each other.
We kept it to ourselves for weeks, for some people even months because we wanted to keep it sacred, simple, it was our little secret, our little gift to ourselves. Then we told family first and friends as we saw them. Everyone’s reactions were beautiful, some funny, some super emotional; friends cried, friends screamed, friends hugged me. It was so touching for me to see how all my loved ones were beyond happy - some worried, which is super fair, they had no idea what was going on and wanted to make sure I was ok and making a right choice - but all had one thing in common: they wanted us to have a party so they can celebrate us and our love. I was so present to how amazing and loving people around me are.
It was so nice and fun not to worry about all the traditional things people worry about, the proposal, planning the wedding, the financial aspect and more. It was also very freeing to listen to my heart and do what felt right rather than doing what I thought would be best in the eyes of others especially following the “rules” that others have created such as how long you have to date before moving in together or get married or have kids. Ben and I have now been married for almost a year and a half and I truly have never looked back once and thought “Did I make the right choice?” I can genuinely say that I am proud of myself for listening to my intuition and going for it, as crazy as I thought it was!