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Thursday marked six years of dating for Mr. Perfect and I–six years! I’ve thought about what I’ve wanted to say about that fact off and on for the past few days, and so far my thoughts have been a giant jumble of disjointed musings in a disjointed pattern similar to the world’s largest rubber band ball (multi-colored rubber bands, of course!)

I would argue that Mr. Perfect and I are two of the most informed courters ever to be stuck at the courting phase. Scratch that. I would venture to say that we are probably more knowledgeable than some people who are engaged, and even some married people. We have worked our butts off to optimize our communication skills and have seriously pondered the implications of moving forward in our relationship. It’s been a long, tedious journey to this level of our relationship.

For anyone still unfamiliar with our story, a brief overview: we met through a then mutual friend over six years ago, who noted our similar Christian faith and intelligence (and the fact that I thought he was hot–let’s be honest here); we added each other on Facebook (sight unseen), then quickly moved to emailing each other, and eventually talking on the phone and visiting; Mr. Perfect moved here from Chicago with his job about seven months into our relationship; I graduated college, got a job, lost a job, lost an apartment, lost a stepfather, and lost a car before getting my equilibrium back; my perfect had car troubles, his car quit, he got a new car, he was stuck in a lower position at work (with many restructures and deferred reviews), and one of his grandmothers passed before he was able stabilize himself; we started to pay more intense attention to our relationship, including two different pre-marital counseling programs, recurring marriage and family workshops at church, and work on the marriage kits; Mr. Perfect met the rest of my family and my high school friends when he returned to Michigan with me for my ten-year high school reunion, and; we’ve supported each other all along the way.

It’s hard to reflect on the last six years and not think about all of the people who will never see us married or moving on, people who meant a lot to us as individuals and to our relationship.  It’s hard not to think that at least some of this time has been wasted or at best misappropriated. It can become difficult to accept that this is as far as we’ve gotten in all of this time.

But what I do know is that everything has happened under God’s control and grace. We’ve committed ourselves to leading our relationship by biblical principles and personal morals that have shaped us as individuals and as a couple. We have given ourselves the space and time to grow into the people we were meant to be, and have started to walk in the callings we have been given. It’s amazing to see the levels we’ve reached and the support we’ve been able to give one another.

Do I sometimes wish that we were farther along, that we had committed ourselves to one another forever in the sight of God and man? Absolutely. It is easy to think that a lot of the support we have provided to each other is sowing into someone else’s future that quite possibly has nothing to do with our own, that we will never see that harvest, let alone reap it. But I know that all things are in His control and happen on His timetable.

If we don’t end up married, we have seen each other through some of the best and worst experiences of our lives. Our interactions have helped us to recognize our flaws and shortcomings as well as our strengths. Our relationship has bettered us as individuals. Most importantly, we have cultivated a connection God’s way, and if it doesn’t end in marriage, we can each walk away bruised but not broken, secure that we have saved the best of ourselves for the person we will one day marry.

But I have a good feeling that Mr. Perfect and I will get there someday–to engagement, marriage, a family of our own that advances the will of God. This relationship is so much more than I thought it would be over six years ago when we were introduced. The story of us has taken many twists and turns that neither of us has expected. But the fact that the hand I am holding has never let go of mine is assurance enough that I’m right where I should be.

Here’s to many more years (hopefully married ones, ahem), Mr. Perfect. I love you.