God is present with us in even the hardest of times. That truth of Catholic life is often accepted, but difficult to take to heart, but Kristen and Ben are vivid proof that it’s true.
“I saw Ben on CatholicMatch at a very difficult time in my life,” Kristen said. “My fiancé had left me right after I had been hospitalized…with a very bad abdominal infection.”
Life wasn’t any easier for Ben. After eight years in the Air Force and two tours of duty in Iraq he had come home to go through a divorce and re-adjust to civilian life. Both of them were determined not to let problems get the best of them and to look forward rather than back.
They met online in August 2008 and even though Kristen lived in New Jersey, while Ben was in South Carolina, they met in a person about a week after the online encounter.
“I was determined to re-enter the dating world and meet who God wanted for me,” Kristen told CatholicMatch. She made a long drive to North Carolina to back up that determination with action.
Ben was also willing to take risks as he went through the annulment process and prepared for a second chance at love. After that August meeting, the couple stayed focused exclusively on each other.
By May 2009 Ben took a leap of faith and moved to New Jersey to be closer to Kristen. They both got involved in their parish and laid the foundation for a life together. Problems didn’t cease when they found each other. Kristen had to return to the hospital due to the same abdominal infection, her mother passed away from cancer and she lost her job. But she hasn’t suffered alone. Ben has been there with her, providing emotional support as she tries to stay healthy and change careers.
This past summer, in the town of Avon-by-the-Sea in Jersey, Ben asked Kristen to marry him and she said yes. The wedding will take place in June 2011.
The journey was not easy, but neither of them had to walk it alone.