The time has finally come. All of our past prayers have lead us to this moment. As you stand before me, you are a living example of God’s faithfulness in my life, and today I get to call you my husband. I have given up countless prayers for you, even before I knew who you were. God graciously heard my requests, even the ones left unsaid. I tucked some away in my heart thinking they were impossible to find in someone. That a man like you couldn’t possibly exist. I didn’t even know what I fully needed in a future spouse, but God did. And here you are before me. Ready to lay your life down for me, a love I have never known outside of Christ’s love for me.
Raul, You truly are a precious gift. Through God, you opened up your heart to me, and I thank Him for that day on the beach when we both trusted God to heal our broken hearts and in response trusting each other as a tool for healing.
There are so many things to love about you. First off, your smile is absolutely contagious, and your laugh catches like a wildfire of joy for all to enjoy.
You are a strong leader, and it is not difficult to want to follow you because of the way you trust in Jesus. Your love for Him is what I love about you most. He is before everything in your life, and I have true adoration for the way you love Him.
Your character is one worth replicating, and many others look up to. The way you have loved me at my best, my absolute worst, and all the in-betweens with patience, care, grace, understanding, make me confident in what the future holds for us. All the trials we have yet to endure together, all the triumphs, I know God will get the glory throughout every season and situation, because of who you are at the center, and what you stand for. Your heart is a blessing.
I love your thoughtful heart, the way you are attentive to details, and that you are to the CORE a true gentleman. I have always appreciated how gracious you are to hold the door open for me every time we get into a car, even if we are in the middle of an argument. You don’t have to do that, but you do, and it displays the heart of a servant.
You constantly pour out your love and heart, and give your self in such a selfless way to everyone around you. When I felt unworthy or down, you show me the pursuing love of Jesus, and haven’t stopped. Nor do I doubt for one second you ever will.
I love that your heart is to prepare me to meet Jesus one day soon. Your eyes are fixed on eternity and the worries of this world are not your concern.
So here we are today, dressed in the best attire we will probably ever own. My hair and makeup exactly how I wish I could look everyday, and you in that awesome suit and perfect hair looking handsome as ever.
Spotless. Picture perfect. No mess. Just us. About to make a Holy Covenant before God. Our marriage and wedding day, a picture of the gospel. That Jesus laid His life down for us, not because we were lovely, but to make us lovely. He died to make us Holy. He gave Himself. He put our needs ahead of his own. He sacrificed for us.
So today, I give myself to you. I lay down my agenda, to look past the lovely and flight for you. To help you be your best self, and to never leave when things aren’t perfect. To love you as God has called me to, with gentleness and humility. Jesus fought for us until the end, and now we can have a relationship with God because of what He did for us. I know our prayer is to stand before Jesus at the end of our road, and all we want to hear is God say “Well done good and faithful servants.” I am here to partner with you in the journey you are taking to his Throne.
So today and always:
I commit myself to you, to be your best friend for all of time, and trust you with my heart
I vow to walk by your side, trusting your leadership and faith in God to lead our home
I vow to look towards the future, and be filled with excitement for who God is creating you to be.
I vow to trust God with my burdens, to lay down my fears, and cast my anxieties on Him first before relying on you to fix them
I vow to fight for a rich marriage, full of love and light, and lots of dance parties.
I vow to learning how to fight FOR each other not against each other
I vow to explore the world with you, dream big dreams with you and work hard at accomplishing them
I vow to encourage you to do your best in all the amazing things you are capable of doing and to encourage you in your many passions
I am here to be your helper, and always think of creative ways to love and serve you
I vow to consistency, transparency, vulnerability and loving you alway even amidst adversity
I vow to pray with you, honor and respect you and love you through every season
I vow to love you as Christ has called me to, with gentleness and humility, and to live out Ephesians 5 summiting to you and only you as my Husband as to the Lord
I vow to strive for a love that is patient, a love that always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
I love and adore you Raul Esparza
I am yours, and you are mine, forever and always
Ariel, we’re finally here. Three years ago I wrote a letter to my future wife and now you’re standing here
before me. This very moment shows us how real, how tangible, how faithful our Lord Jesus is. Take a
breath and see all the good things God is known for. THIS IS HIS.
Before I say, I do. I want to honor my parents, my best friends. In Exodus 20:12 God gives us our first
commandment, “Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the
LORD your God is giving you.” My parents are the very root of who I am and who taught me my identity
in God’s unshaken truth. I’m standing here before you because I’m grateful.
I can smile and look back to see God’s protection. Like it says on my ring, I hold onto God as His right
hand upholds me. Through Him I can fearlessly look forward to see God’s legacy.
Ariel Rae Benkowski, I love you AND TODAY GOD IS SHOWING YOU HOW MUCH HE LOVES YOU.
I’m so grateful WE fought for each other to get to this point. This time last year we could’ve walked away
from everything God was so carefully putting together. I don’t regret that we have those memories
because if we didn’t we couldn’t praise how God healed us. Many won’t understand our journey or how
awesome our God is or how many times Jesus had to come rescue us from our thoughts and feelings to
remind us the undeniable facts. And that is God is STILL WITH US. HE NEVER LEFT.
Someone as beautiful like you wouldn’t exist without an artist who cared so much about our hearts.
Something like this wouldn’t exist without a God who didn’t treasure harmony because how wonderful is
our God to have brought us together? He didn’t care if we were compatible or complete opposites. HE
ONLY CARED about two hungry, sacrificial hearts willing to take His word unashamedly and together
say, we EXALT the name who created a love without fear, without conditions, without chains. A love that
never fails. This is His platform. It WILL always be. And I am completely humbled I can stand before you.
I’m here because I want to SURRENDER ALL TO GOD in front of our families and friends every fear,
every temptation, every chain, every addiction, every doubt, every spirit that can hold us away from God’s
heart. I’m here because I choose to completely trust you and the plans God has for us. I believe that there
is nothing and no one, that could take our relationship out of God’s hands. Only we have that power.
Today and the days into eternity, I submit to you and vow to our families and friends that Jesus is enough
for us through it all.
Our testimony into eternity, will be this beautiful exchange of gifts. Before we met we selfishly didn’t take
care of our hearts but in the process of REDEMPTION AND GRACE we learned to wait at the doors of our
hearts to let Jesus heal us before He would let us in. IN HIS PERFECT TIMING He got us through those
doors to this very moment. IF WE NEVER SURRENDERED TO GOD, IF WE NEVER OBEYED HIS
WILL, WE WOULD STILL BE WAITING OUTSIDE THOSE DOORS. Now we can run together, we can
fight together, we can be strong together, and we can live out His promises. He dreamt of this day, as
much as we did growing up. We didn’t know how we would get here but that’s just God’s heart of life and
With my best yes, I stand here before you to make an unbreakable promise to our God, our redeemer, our
banner over our home to NEVER LET GO OF JESUS AND ALWAYS LOVE HIM before all things, for only
JESUS will hold us together.
I vow to always pray with you and for you. I vow to ALWAYS LOVE YOU FOREVER and ALWAYS
REMIND US OF GOD’S TRUTH. I vow to ALWAYS FORGIVE YOU UNCONDITIONALLY.
I vow to love you with tenderness. A tenderness that is parallel to our Heavenly Father. I vow to
appreciate you, be patient with you and be grateful for everything you do for us and our home. I vow to
focus on you and REMIND US how far God brought us and how far He can take us. I vow to lead us in
obedience to God’s will, respect, and honor you always. I vow to always point back to God for the good,
and surrender on my knees to Him for the bad. I vow to always have a vision for us, to not just let life fly
into eternity, but to seize every second as one to show you my love, and the love our Father has for you.
I vow to always pursue you Ariel LIKE HOW GOD PURSUES YOU and to remind myself to never take for
granted this gift we have. In Jesus Christ, I submit myself to you to create this covenant and place this
marriage in the hands of God. With my healed eyes and healed heart, to you and only you I commit till we
reach the finish line and say, “God, we’re here.” God loved me enough to give me you, and so I vow to you
my last breath. I love you.
8• 26 • 17
3 Sentence Love Story
We were both heart broken, but God had a plan for us to meet and help heal those broken hearts. We weren’t looking for a relationship, but God had other plans when we met in 2015 at a photography meet up in Joshua CA. After a year of friendship, and a year of dating, we got married, two best friends who fell in love when we least expected it.