Happy Valentine’s Day.

Allow me to seize the opportunity afforded by this cheesy, commercialized holiday to tell you a little bit about the wonderful person I share life with.

Ever since the beginning I have found it hard to believe that I get to be with someone like Ben. I never thought my life would go this way: that I’d randomly meet this great guy on a mission trip in Asia, that we would end up liking each other, that we would make it through a 3-year long-distance relationship, that I would be married to him by the age of 22. I couldn’t have dreamed that one up.

I’m still not sure how in the world Ben and I found each other, or how it happens that we are pretty perfect for each other. I’m just really, really glad it happened. Here are a few reasons why.

Ben is one of the kindest people I know. I’m told that when he was a kid, he would get awards for being the “friendliest.” That’s because few people are quicker to strike up a conversation and make a friend as Ben …. but I think he’s also good at keeping friends because he’s easy to hang out with, has good communication skills and he’s just nice to people. He doesn’t take it out on them, or blame them when things go wrong. In this respect he is a lot farther along than me – and many people.

Ben is a good encourager. And this really matters because life isn’t easy. When I had to take a lot of tests for my undergraduate degree, Ben would always tell me, “One bowl of ice cream if you pass – and two bowls if you fail.” That always made me laugh and relax (and I never failed). Ben knows me, and he knows how to motivate me – lots of hugs and jokes. Also, he knows how to activate my own innate feistiness. To illustrate, here is a pep talk he gave me back in December during finals week (I wrote it down verbatim because it made me feel so much better):

“You are great! You have greatness coursing through your veins! You are of the house of Ingebretson and they are not daunted by academic tasks. You are hardy northern people.”

I don’t know anyone else who tells me I have greatness coursing through my veins.

Ben is always learning new things and growing, becoming a better and wiser version of himself. He makes mistakes, of course; we all do, but I love how he learns through them. Also, he is constantly trying to learn and improve. He reads a lot, listens to NPR (that’s hot in my book! :-) ), and is always talking to people and finding out their stories. He tries new things and is not afraid to fail. He has big dreams.

Ben lets me be me, and encourages me to be who God created me to be. He doesn’t try to change me, in fact he’s proud of who I am. And he dishes out compliments, affirmations and appreciation quite liberally. I try not to take that for granted because I know it is a rare gift. He’s always telling me he loves me, that I look beautiful, and all those kinds of things a person loves to hear.

It’s actually kind of hard NOT to love him.

Of course, those aren’t the only reasons why I love Ben. I didn’t even mention how good-looking he is (it took a lot of restraint), or how he’s outdoorsy and athletic, or how we like the same TV shows, or how I’m pretty sure he’s going to produce adorable babies someday (which is one of the reasons I thought it would be a good idea to marry him). But I don’t have a whole day to spend on one blog post, so I have to stop somewhere.

Happy Valentine’s Day, babe.

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