63,072,000 seconds.

63,072,000 seconds. That is exactly how much time lies between September 2nd, 2013, and September 2nd, 2015. I wish I could tell you that this is how long I’ve loved you; but I can’t. See, I fell in love with you slowly over a thousand things you didn’t even realize you were doing, long before we started dating. I fell in love with you on a cold day in January while we were sled riding in Warren. I fell in love with you after our very first “date,” that same month, when you touched my hand while I was driving, and I got so nervous I drove up a curb. I fell in love with you when you noticed I was tired after a long day at Winter Jam and offered me your shoulder as a pillow. I fell in love with you the day you worked so hard to set up your projector and sound system outside, just so we could watch a movie under the stars; this, on top of just having taken me to the rose garden for a walk. I fell in the love with you the first time you saw me without makeup on, and you couldn’t stop telling everyone in youth how beautiful you thought I was. I fell in love with you the first time you kissed my hand, and then a little more every time after that. I fell in love with you for all the times you’d pull my hair in the church van, never letting me catch a break, always trying to get under my skin. I fell in love with you the day you texted me while I was in Florida, telling me how much you missed having me around. I fell in love with you when you casually turned our innocent tanning competition into an excuse to take me on a date. I fell in the love with you the day you walked through those church doors after I’d been gone a week, looking for me, and for how your eyes lit up when you finally found me. For your sense of humor. The ridiculous ability you had to make me smile when no one else could. For our friendship that became so much more. For the way you cared about me even when I was just that one girl from youth. For the tiniest bit of jealousy that lingered on occasion. For all those movie nights that helped pave the way. For how you pursued God. For every time you ran outside just to watch a plane fly by. How you built up my confidence when I didn’t think it could be. How you saw beauty where I didn’t think there was any. How you made me feel like I was so special, like I was the most important girl in the world. How everything you thought you wanted came waltzing back into your life, and instead of grabbing it, you took a chance, and you chose me. All of this, and you hadn’t even asked me out yet. I was yours long before you realized it, Dustin Alan. Long before I realized it myself. And now, here we are. 63,072,000 seconds later. Looking back, I can’t help but feel so blessed that God allowed everything to fall in place as it did. Furthermore, I’m grateful for all the memories we’ve made between 0 and 63,072,000. The good and the bad. Because everything we’ve gone through has only helped to shape our relationship. Has only made it stronger. Has taken our love to a deeper, more passionate level. It’s taught us communication and understanding. Patience and forgiveness. Sacrifice. Putting someone else before your own feelings out of love. Out of wanting the very best for them. Out of the happiness and joy you experience knowing that they’re full of happiness themselves. It’s taught us that relationships don’t work without God. It’s taught us how to never give up, to never take the easy way out, to always keep fighting. Besides, the good memories far outweigh the bad. I’m unfairly blessed to be able to call you mine, and I can’t thank God enough for all He’s allowed us to do with our plethora of seconds. 15 states together. 1 Canadian territory. Sitting at the southernmost point in America. Swimming in the Keys. Roaming the streets of San Antonio. Eating Cajun food in New Orleans. Going to the top of the Empire State Building. Visiting the arena my Blackhawks play at in Chicago. Hiking through Hocking Hills. Watching fireworks over Niagara Falls. We’ve seen more in two years than some will ever see in a lifetime. I don’t say this to brag, either, but rather to point out my sincere appreciation for all God has allowed us to do. And now, you’re traveling around the country, performing dramas, preaching the gospel to crowds of people, and being the hands and feet of Jesus. I couldn’t be more proud of you, Dustin, and I just want you to know this: I will love you, always, in every form you come in. Good days, bad days, worst days. I will love you when you’re here in my arms, and I will love you when you’re a thousand miles away. I will love you now, but not as I did yesterday. Not as I did all those memories ago. No, I will love you more. Each and every day, from now until forever ends. I will always be here to listen on a bad day, and of course, on the good days too. I will share in your happiness, rejoice with you in your victories, cheer you on in everything you do, and help you carry the weight of life when it just gets too heavy for you to hold. I’ll be your shoulder to lean on. Your person to call home to. Your very bestest friend. Your encourager. Your helpmate. I will prayer deeply and passionately over your life and the plans God has for you and for us. I will do my best to be everything that you need me to be and everything that God has called me to be. I look forward to our tomorrows. To the adventure that lies ahead. Out of all the ones we’ve been on, this is my favorite of all. Thank you for giving me everything I thought I wanted, and all that I didn’t even realize I needed over these past couple of years. Thank you for being the love of my life. I appreciate you in more ways than I could ever begin to tell. Cheers to two year, and here’s to the next 63,072,000 seconds. I can’t wait to see what unfolds on this amazing adventure of ours. I love you.

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