Get you a man who flirts with you from just a few feet away. We're guessing JoJo Fletcher would tell us it's not a bad deal.
Because a scroll through her Instagram feed reveals longtime fiancé Jordan Rodgers is among her most active followers. Just a few days after commenting on a snap of her new Etsy collaboration, "Looks delicious!!! The food looks pretty good too," he was at it again, propositioning his future wife through some eBay spon con. "You. Are. Adorable. What are you doing tonight? I'd love to eat some food with you," he wrote, inspiring one fan to gush, "can you two be any cuter"?
Clearly not. Though it begs the question: At what point exactly did the Bachelorette couple so doubted that Fletcher placed a bet with E! News they'd still be together a year after their 2016 engagement become one of the franchise's biggest success stories?
Some six years after Rodgers vowed to do his 1,000 jumping jacks in "a man thong," should the two not last a year, the couple has overcome an early breakup scare, an army of doubters and a global pandemic that forced them to postpone their long-awaited June 2020 vows for nearly two years.
Which means two things: The former college quarterback, 33, realllllly didn't want to strip down for a national audience and he and his bride, 31, have a love worth protecting, damnit!
Having hurdled more than a half decade's worth of obstacles by the time they finally make their way down the aisle May 14, the Dallas-based hosts of CNBC's Cash Pad and Paramount Network's Battle of the Fittest Couples are fairly confident in the bond they've built.
As Rodgers put it on a June 2020 episode of The Bachelor: The Greatest Seasons—Ever! that saw the duo reliving the start of their journey for the first time, "The love I have for you now that we've been through all of that is only going to get more with kids, marriage and everything that comes with that."
And to hear Fletcher tell it, none of that would have been possible if they didn't narrowly edge out the Bachelor curse. Like the 30-plus other final two pairings, the real estate developer and the NFL backup turned sports commentator came thisclose to postmarking that Neil Lane diamond return to sender.
"Our first year after the show was very difficult," she admitted. "We went through a lot of different struggles." Together in their Dallas starter home, they found themselves at odds over disparate communication strategies. "I need my [own] time in an argument and JoJo's the exact opposite," Rodgers explained to The Knot. "Which is probably the reason, in those thousand square foot homes in our first couple years, where we almost broke up a few times. We weren't on the same page then and I needed space, and she wanted to fix it right then."
It was after one such clash that Fletcher was forced to face the fact that they might not be able to repair what ailed them. "There was a point in that first year where it was like, 'Whoa, can we even do this?'" she admitted to Chris Harrison.
Ultimately, Rodgers chimed in, they decided on yes. "We sat down together and we were like, 'We love each other, but is that enough right now?'" he said. "It was a fork in the road and we chose to stay together and we're better for it, but it was not easy."
Adding to the pressures were the doubters who assumed Rodgers' charms and poster boy good looks that caught Fletcher's attention on night one were a front, that Aaron Rodgers' estranged little bro was there for the wrong reasons, more interested in emerging with an ESPN contract than a fiancée.
He got both. But if he was simply after the SEC Network gig he earned back in July 2016, well, he's certainly playing the long game.
"Critics thought this guy is faking it, whatever," Fletcher reflected to E! News of those early months. "Thankfully, luckily—and I should have known better from all along—but he is that person. He's wonderful. He's amazing. He's nothing like what anyone ever thought he was."
Instead, he's every bit the guy she fantasized he could be when she clipped that first impression rose on his lapel. "I think that comes with the territory of when you are the front runner and I just thought it was too good to be true," she explained of the doubts that crept in. "We don't have to prove it to anybody. I've always known he's an incredible, wonderful, loving man."
Though if there are skeptics left after six years of shared adorableness, two puppies and one August 2019 re-proposal because, Rodgers explained, "as we start to actually plan our wedding for next year I wanted to do it all over again, OUR WAY!" perhaps it might be time to adopt a rosier outlook?
They've dealt with the early takedown from an ex-girlfriend who called him a "prolific liar and cheater," her friendship with Aaron's then-love Olivia Munn, exposing the initial cracks in a longstanding Rodgers family feud. They weathered the tabloids that dubbed him as a fraud, the intensity of having his home life dissected on a national stage and every last member of Bachelor Nation who assumed they were done for.
"We almost broke up," Fletcher allowed to E! News of that tough first year. "I think that we really have worked on how we are with one another, because I think that more than anything, like, communicating out of respect even in times that are not so great is so, so important. And so I think that's something that, you know, we've just learned that that's a huge part of our relationship and a huge part of why I feel like we are successful and where we are today."
And they're not the only ones with some hard-earned wisdom to share. Though Bachelor Nation's thorniest relationships draw much of the attention, more than a few love stories have blossomed after the hot tubs were stored away and the fantasy suite candles blown out.
So let's raise a (champagne-filled) glass to the amazing journeys still in progress.
This story was originally published on Sunday, November 1, 2020 at 12 a.m. PT.