(First off, so sorry for that really rude cliff hanger. I mean, kind of not sorry, but sorry that it has taken 3 months for the follow up post...)
"I love you too! But, can we make that kind of a 'special' thing?"
Matt looked kind of confused and said "Sure... what does that mean?" I then explained that I thought maybe we should only say it on special occasions and when we were really feeling it and not just as part of our every day conversation - the whole time saying "because I'm panicking that talking about marriage comes next and I'm not ready for that to happen tomorrow, so I'm hoping this will slow things down!" He seemed a little skeptical, but agreed to go along with my plan.
Within 24 hours, I told Matt that we could say "I love you" all the time and I was (mostly) not worried about how fast we were moving anymore. I wrote in my journal that I felt awkward being so happy. Like I'd never believed it was possible and I almost felt guilty finding something so good. As much as this new, wonderful relationship was bliss, it also took a fair amount of work for me to settle in to the idea of someone actually loving me as much as Matt did (does :) and wanting to spend time with me the way he did.
A few days later, I met his family and fell completely in love with them and with Matt all over again. One of my favorite memories is remembering those first times I saw Matt with his family and how much I loved that side of him.
Later that week, we made a to-do list of all the things we wanted to do together. The list included things like: get dole whip, drive through Logan Canyon, see the new Star Wars, visit Bear Lake, and go to Disneyland, Hawaii, and Alaska. As we made the list, we pretended that things like the (then) far-off Star Wars release date and California trips were casual things that didn't imply that we were planning on things lasting a while and that traveling together and sharing a hotel room would be an appropriate thing in our future. We've since discussed that we both thought about having a future together while making the list. The closest thing to admitting those thoughts was when I said "I guess you can't break up with me for a long time. We've got a lot to do!" and he told me he wasn't planning on ever breaking up with me.
That same week, while driving to work and listening to a Disney playlist on Spotify, the song "So This is Love" came on and I absentmindedly sang along until the line "So this is the miracle that I've been dreaming of." As those lyrics played, tears came to my eyes and I realized that the way Matt treats me, the love he has for me, and the way I felt about him were all part of the miracle I'd been looking for and what I had been praying for, hoping for, and aching for for years. It was such a peaceful moment of resolution and probably the first time I consciously admitted that I really could see myself actually marrying Matt.