Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty
James, 29, celebrated his girlfriend’s special day on Instagram Sunday with a carousel of cute photos of the couple since they first met The bachelor by the end of 2020.
“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God will go with you; he will never leave you or forsake you – Deuteronomy 31: 6,” the former Bachelor to lead wrote in the caption.
“Happy birthday to my emergency contact @rachaelkirkconnell ❤️🥳🎂,” he added. “I love you.”
It’s been a tumultuous year for the couple, who met in season 25 of the ABC reality show. Although they did not get engaged during the finale, the two decided to pursue a relationship until race-sensitive photos of Kirkconnell at a college party with antebellum plantation theme in 2018 resurfaced online while the season aired.
Matt James / Instagram
“I want to say, you know, of course it was hard at the moment, but just being able to step back and work on our relationship to assess,” Kirkconnell said. “Taking a moment away from the limelight has been really good for us. It’s been a lot better.”
“I follow everyone else’s leadership,” James added regarding his approach to being in a relationship. “You know, I think I’m looking at people who’ve been where I’re trying to get to. Rachael’s parents have been in a relationship for a long time. They’ve been married for probably as long as I have. has been alive. “
Matt James / Instagram
“So you know, relationships that thrive are what I kind of open my eyes to and hope to emulate,” he remarked.
The following month, Kirkconnell told Additional that “it was a bit of a journey” to get their relationship back on track, but felt they were “a really good place” at the time.
“We’ve got a lot of love for us, but I like to think that even though people have been super, super cute, we just like to focus on each other and put all that aside and let that noise from the outside get a little quieter. these days, “she told the sales.” So it has been good, we have been good. “
Craig Sjodin / ABC via Getty Matt James and Rachael Kirkconnell
James reiterated Kirkconnell’s feelings, adding: “The importance has always been to seek authenticity … and that was what drew me to Rachael and go at our own pace – [and] not fall victim to the expectations of others. That’s the kind of thing we keep doing, and it’s working for us. “
Now James Kirkconnell’s has support as he competes for another ABC reality series, Dance with the stars. He told people before the premiere of season 30 that his girlfriend has even helped him practice: “She has kept me in shape!”
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