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Ben & Ariel

A Whirlwind Romance...


Story submitted by Ariel



Ben grew up in San Antonio, TX, with his loving parents Chris and Elizabeth Coats. He is the eldest of four siblings in the Coats family, followed by Joe, Carrie, and Sean. Ben graduated from Texas A&M and became an aviator in the U.S. Navy after completing Officer Candidate School in Naval Station Newport, RI, and Naval Flight School in Pensacola, FL. He is currently stationed at Naval Air Station Jacksonville. Ben loves spending his leisure time outdoors, enjoying the beautiful weather of North Florida. He enjoys fishing, running, hiking and TexMex cuisine, especially tacos.


Ariel was raised in a wonderful home by her loving parents Ken and Karlene Carkhuff. She is the fourth of six children, with Kenneth, Ashton, and Karl as her older siblings, and Arden and Adrian following her. Her father was a Naval aviator, and she had the privilege of living in several states while growing up, spending most of her childhood in St. Marys County, MD. Ariel is an alumni of Liberty University in VA and works with the US Government as a defense contractor. She loves taking spin classes and spending time with her three sisters exploring the area and visiting local coffee shops.


Ben arrived in Jacksonville in January 2022, where Ariel had been located for the last year. They both decided to try Upward, a Christian dating site, that month and were connected shortly after. They fell in love instantly after meeting on their first date at Ariel’s favorite local coffee shop, Brass Tacks. They were so blessed to have met someone who shared so many hobbies and interests with them, but even more importantly, the same love for Christ. They had both been praying and waiting for God to send each of them the perfect match, and it all unraveled in a beautiful way that only God could have orchestrated.


The Brass Tacks coffee shop became a special place for them as their relationship grew. It's where they both proclaimed their love for each other and intentions of a serious relationship, even discussed the idea of marriage. After meeting each other's families, Ben proposed to Ariel over Memorial Day while they were spending the holiday weekend with her parents in Maryland. Ben chose to propose at the location where Ariel’s parents had hosted their own wedding reception in Annapolis, MD, just one week shy of 40 years prior.


They were married on Nov 5, 2022, and are thrilled to start a life together, eagerly anticipating what God has in store for them.

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