A little over a year ago I told my sister that I think I might need to stop talking to this guy I had just met because “I think I might like him.” I can only imagine she rolled her eyes at me (we were talking on messenger) when she said “If you like him, then talk to him!” As if it were that simple. Turns out, it was. And since she’s my sister and I believe everything she says (even though that has led to some awkward conversations as I learned that everything she told me as a kid was not, in fact true) I took her advice and continued talking to him.

Turns out I kinda more than liked him -because a few months later I found myself feeling all sorts of weird things. I couldn’t figure out why I missed him when we hung up the phone, or why I worried about him when he went on a fire. I couldn’t understand why I cared if he didn’t call me one Friday night or if he didn’t text some Tuesday afternoon. Until I realized that I kinda might actually love this guy who I had met a few months prior and should probably stop talking to because I liked.

A year and ½ later and we are still going strong -except now people keep asking me things like “Are you sure he is the one” “Do you know he is the one” “Are you sure” -and I keep answering ‘how would I know?’ to which they always reply, with a twinkle in their eye ‘you will just know.’ -an answer I have come to dread, because I need black and white, spelled out, check boxes, tell me if I am doing this right, kind of directions.

Over the past few months, I have struggled with this question…and then a month ago he asked me “Unofficially officially” if I would marry him. I laughed. Because I’m me. And it sounds weird. But it’s us. And it kinda fits. That he would unofficially officially ask me something official. And while I said yes, I still wondered and worried. Every single disagreement or difference of opinion -from anything serious to silly -I would hold my breath and ask myself “Maybe this is it. Maybe this is the end.” I’ve read books and papers and words -trying to find the answer. Trying to find me a checkbox list of “How to know if HE IS THE ONE” and I have yet to find any neon arrows flashing his direction. No sudden bolts of lightning. No sparkles and banners and unicorns in the sky.

But what I have found is him…

At the end of every conversation -hard or not, he is still there. Still wanting to talk to me. Still wanting to make this complicated mess of a long-distance relationship with ME, work. At the end of my panicked random days when I an absolute mess and making no sense to anyone -he still wants to talk to me. He still tells me he loves me. He still talks about our future. Regardless of how much we might disagree on certain names or songs.

Every time I go see him, I tell myself “This trip will answer that question” -when really, that question has already been answered. It always has been. It’s just taken me longer to get there. Because I often like to take the scenic route, it would seem.

The way he laughs and humors me. The way he makes me smile -until it hurts. The way we laugh -together. The way I feel when I am around him and with him -like nothing else matters. Like I am the luckiest girl alive. Like I will always be safe. Like I could have NOTHING ELSE -and would still be rich with him.

He mentioned needing my ring size a few nights ago -and panic hit. I was thrown back into the endless loop of ‘is he THE ONE for me’ and how will I know…and then I asked myself why. Why was I so worried? Do I not want to marry him? (I want nothing more!) The answer is simple. There is no one I would rather spend the rest of my days with, no one I would rather get old with, no one else I would rather argue over names with than him. It’s everything else that worries me.

It’s the unknown. It’s the changes that inevitably will happen. It’s the worrying about pleasing everyone else with my decisions…It’s everything that has nothing to do with him.

Because at the end of the day, or in the early hours of the morning -when my phone rings or dings -I secretly hope it’s him. Calling to say hey. In the middle of the night when I wake in a panic over something stupid -I secretly wish he were there to remind me that it’s ok. In the middle of the day when my day is going upside down -I wish he were there, because his presence can make me calm and excited all at one.

I’ve struggled with the question ‘are you sure he is the one’ -because, while I will be the first to jump up and say yes! He’s mine! Hands off! I am also quick to admit that I have been wrong before. This last trip kind of confirmed in my mind, that yes, it was ok to call him mine. For reasons I don’t know, it just made sense. But I’ve been struggling with answering “How do you know?”

Find yourself a guy who makes you smile. Who makes you laugh. Who will do small, stupid things because he knows they make you smile. Like mailing a box of sunflowers to you or waving frantically at passing cars, or ordering food in a funny voice. Find yourself the guy who even though is a million miles away, finds a way to make you feel as special as you feel when you are in his arms…and then don’t let him go. Find someone who isn’t embarrassed to walk around Mt Rushmore with a giant sunflower with you (or at least, pretends not to be). I’ve been so incredibly thankful to have him in my life -especially this past month. He is the first person I want to call when life goes belly up and the first person I want to call with good news. I can’t believe I get to call him mine and that he loves me the way he does…but I don’t ever want to lose him, and I never want to let him go…

Because he’s mine, and I will forever be grateful for that…and hope to spend forever trying to explain just how much he means to me.

How do I know he’s “the one?” -because of the way he makes me feel -important, valued, special. Because of the way he talks to me -like I matter. Like my opinion matters. Like what I think matters. Because when he looks at me -with a somewhat confused, rather bewildered look -I can see in his eyes, that yes, I confuse him -but he also loves me. He isn’t just saying words. Because of the things believes. Because of all the small things and all the big things that add up and make a whole big mess of feelings and complicated emotions. Because when I am with him -I can breathe. And when I think about being without him -my heart wants to stop.

I thank God every day for you, Andrew. I pray that I will be the person you need and that I will be able to be there for you in the ways you have been for me. I pray that together we will be an unstoppable force to be reckoned with and I look forward to growing old with you.

Don’t forget. Don’t ever forget.

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