Resisting the College Trends

My husband, Ben, and I met during our Freshman year of high school. We were in a health class together and were both as shy as we could possibly be. We had both been homeschooled before coming to public school, Ben seemed so different to all the other students at school. There was just something special about him but I didnt know what. Apparently he felt the same way about me.

We didnt cross paths again for three years. Our Senior year arrived and in what seemed like a complete coincidence we ended up sitting side by side at the same table. By this time I was no longer shy, but Ben was.

We spent many weeks sitting through lunch in silence. All 55 minutes! Finally we ended up talking to each other but not about the usual things. We spent the lunch time talking about what we were learning in our “Quiet Times” with the Lord, how God was growing us and important Scriptures from the Word.

Every day Ben constantly pushed me closer and closer to the Lord. It took three month before we even realized that we had other common interests aside from our faith in the Lord. As time went by this shy guy from lunch became my best friend. I had never had such a true friend, someone who actually cared about what was going on in my life. And I knew that he felt the same way.

Prior to this time, Ben and I both decided on our own that we didn’t want the typical dating that we saw going on around us. Our friends were only getting hurt and not benefiting from it one bit, not to mention the physical snares they were falling into along the way.

We both knew that we would not date until we found the person that the Lord would make clear to us was the one we were to marry. Ironically neither one of us was aware of the other’s descisions in this area.

By the time spring arrived in our Senior year I was starting to have feelings for Ben. I didn’t understand it at all. He was my best friend and I refused to let my emotions take over this special friendship. I asked the Lord to take the feelings away and if He wouldnt take them away, then to keep them from getting in the way of our friendship.

Ben was also experiencing the same feelings and praying the same prayer. We also didnt want anything to get between us and God. Neither one of us was aware of the other’s feelings but we kept pouring into our friendship, not being swayed by our emotions.

Through the next two years the Lord deepened our friendship and in the back of our hearts our love grew for one another. During this time we attended different universities in two different states as well as Ben spending an entire summer on missions in China. Needless to say, our friendship was strengthened by many hours on the phone and many long emails!

After two years Ben wrote to me telling me that there was something he needed to talk to me about. The unfortunate part was that we wouldn’t see each other for five  months when he came home for Christmas break.

During this time of waiting I sensed what Ben would be talking to me about but it was too much to hope for. I couldnt believe that my best friend, the man I loved, could possibly feel the same way. I spent the entire semester in prayer and times of fasting asking the Lord to show us His will.

It didnt take long before the Lord made it clear that no matter what question Ben asked me I could respond with a wholehearted yes. I knew that he was the one I wanted to spend my whole life with. We already ministered to others better together than apart. There was no doubt in my mind that he was for me. Now I just had to wait. The Lord had made his intentions clear to me, but not his timing. Learning patience was a time of growth!

When the time came Ben shared his heart with me. We both confirmed that we knew that our friendship was for marriage, we just didnt know when the date would be. In this time of courtship we were very commited to each other’s purity. We loved each other enough to know that that crossing into that area would be fatal.

Ben and I chose to show our affection through hugs, smiles, and letters. We desired to be closer, but the pull was hardly difficult when we were giving it nothing to pull on.

We chose to save our very first kiss ever for our wedding day. What a beautiful moment it was. We also chose to wait to hold hands until our engagement.

We knew that we were saving our first kiss until marriage so there was only hugs and hand-holding that came before kissing. We wanted our time of engagement to be a special time that held a new type of closeness that wasn’t available to us in our courtship. So we chose to wait to hold hands until then.

Our courtship was such a special time because we spent the whole time learning more about each other and the Lord. It was almost a continuation of our friendship but with a romantic touch added.

Now Ben could tell me that he loved me and we could talk about our future together. The Lord taught us so much about love during that time. We were blessed with so many people who came into our lives that needed a little love. We ministered to many lonely and confused college students that came in and out of our lives. We also were able to have a wonderful witness to Ben’s roommates.

Often we were asked why we didn’t kiss or why I never spent the night at their apartment, or even why we never closed the door to his room, etc. Every time they asked we had a beautiful opportunity to tell them about a life that was based on something better than momentary gratification.

I am happy to say that Ben and I were married June 27, 2008. Following the Lord in our friendship and then into our courtship has been the best thing we ever could have done for our marriage. Starting out with such a foundation in Christ was critical to our marriage’s health today.

ASHLYN SHEARER
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