Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell celebrate one-year anniversary on 'Happily Ever After?' with several big surprises
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/23/2016
Ben Higgins and Lauren Bushnell celebrated their one-year anniversary on Ben & Lauren: Happily Ever After?, and the footage probably melted hearts around the world.
On Tuesday night's Happily Ever After? broadcast, Ben, 28, and his 26-year-old fiancee decided to dedicate their special occasion to someone who needed some help, a woman named Ranya.
Instead of partying or focusing on their own wants and needs, the couple committed their time to a home-renovation project for Ranya since she has spent most of her life selflessly providing food and home goods for troops and their families when her own house was falling apart.
The experience was clearly rewarding, and after working with Ben to make another person happy, Lauren said it was the best possible way they could celebrate their anniversary together.
However, Ben -- who proposed to Lauren on November 18, 2015 while filming The Bachelor's Season 20 finale, which aired in March 2016 -- wanted to show how much he appreciated his future wife. Ben was grateful Lauren agreed to take on this project, and it made him fall even more in love with her.
Ben therefore surprised Lauren with a romantic dinner in their Denver backyard, which Ben decorated with hanging lanterns and a life-size sign in lights that read, "B <3 L."
"Ben has done some amazing things in the past, but this was, by far, the most special thing he's ever done for me," Lauren noted.
Ben revealed to Lauren his high of the whole year was proposing to her and her saying yes. He said he didn't want her to feel "sad, upset or confused" about the fact he called off their wedding because he's just been trying to navigate their life together in the real world and learn things about himself.
"This last year has been the best year of my life. I just can't thank you enough for being there for me while I've dealt with some stuff personally. All of this weird stuff I've never dealt with before, you were always by my side, holding my hand, encouraging me and supporting me," Lauren told her fiance in tears.
"I don't think I'll ever be able to tell you how much that means to me. I needed you bad this year and you were there. I don't know what I would do without you. I can't live without you."
"You don't need to," Ben sweetly assured her.
"This night is just another reminder of why I love Ben so much and I couldn't ask for anything more," Lauren said in a confessional. "When I talk about Ben, I literally just smile."
Ben then gave Lauren a special gift. On the day they met, Lauren handed him a wings pendant. (She previously worked as a flight attendant). Lauren explained it was supposed to represent their journey together of flying high, so Ben cast the pendant in gold, got their initials engraved on it and made it into a necklace for her.
"You're the love of my life, and you always will be," Ben told Lauren, later telling the cameras, "Seeing Lauren look so beautiful in the backyard, it makes me think maybe I made a big mistake in calling off the wedding. I don't want to lose this girl. She's incredible, and I love her so much."
The couple concluded their special anniversary night with a dance outside under the stars.