Kristen and Ben
How We Met
We met on the Wisconsin Badgers Cheer-leading Team! I became a cheerleader at Wisconsin during my freshman year in the fall of 2010. Ben would later join the cheer-leading team in the spring of 2011 after transferring to Wisconsin to finish his Bachelor’s degree. Ben had always been a die-hard Badger fan and he wanted to learn how to do a back flip, which is why he decided to try-out for the cheer-leading team. After spending tremendous amounts of time together as friends and teammates, Ben and I would eventually joke about being married to each other.
Ben even “fake proposed” to me at our cheer-leading Christmas party in December of 2011, which was caught on camera! We continued to connect over our love for playing the card game cribbage, our shared hobby of playing the piano, and the fact that we both used to listen to Norah Jones CDs when we were growing up. Eventually, we began dating in February of 2012! We even got to be stunting partners for a brief period of time at the 2013 Rose Bowl!
How He Asked
Ben began by taking me ice skating on December 11, 2015. After we finished ice skating, Ben gave me a small key, which was enclosed in an envelope made out of a picture of the two of us. The picture was of Ben “proposing” to me on December 11, 2011, which was an inside joke when we first started dating. On February 22, 2016, four years to the day we started dating, Ben made a video for me that recapped our 4-year relationship, after which Ben gave me another small key in an envelope made out of the first picture we ever took together.
On April 25, 2016, Ben gave me a third key. On this date 5 years ago, Ben and I met and talked for the first time at a bar in Madison, WI. On July 3, 2016, Ben woke me up at 5:40 am. I was extremely tired because we stayed up late visiting with my cousins since it was the first night of our annual family reunion trip to Michigan. Ben and I hopped in the car at 6 am and drove to the boardwalk near the Grand Haven lighthouse – my favorite place in the world. We walked through the ice-cold sand out to the pier with the sun beginning to rise behind us.
We sat on the pier with a breakfast picnic of my favorite foods and Ben handed me a fourth key, enclosed in an envelope made out of a picture of us in front of the lighthouse a couple years ago. Then, Ben took out a wooden box with four locks on it. I opened up the box with all of my keys, and inside was a journal that Ben had started in November of 2012, the year we started dating. Each journal entry was dated and included details about things we did, places we went, things that were special about me, reasons he loved me, etc. We took turns reading the entries out loud, which took almost 2 hours! There were many laughs and tears from me, especially when I read the journal entry about Ben asking my Dad for permission to marry me. On the last page, Ben got on his knee, took out a beautiful ring, and read the final journal entry to me, dated July 3, 2016, which was his proposal!