As Blake Shelton can attest, time really does fly when you’re having fun.
This coming November, the “God's Country” singer and his girlfriend, Gwen Stefani, will celebrate their four-year anniversary of dating — and no one is as amazed as Shelton about how quickly their time has passed together.
“It’s actually shocking that it has already been that long,” Shelton, 43, told PEOPLE at an event for IHG Rewards Club Chase Mastercard cardholders in Los Angeles on June 21. “It’s kind of a blur. It still feels like it’s pretty new to me. I guess it is, relatively. Four years isn’t forever, but man, it seems like it just happened in no time.”
In the fall, fans will get to see Shelton and Stefani, 49, return to the place where their romance first blossomed: the set of NBC’s The Voice. The No Doubt front woman is coming back as a coach for season 17 of the singing competition series, which will premiere on Sept. 23, after longtime coach Adam Levine announced his departure in May.
“We’re all going to miss Adam,” Shelton said. “There’s no way around it. But [Gwen’s] way better looking than he is, in my opinion.”
Though filming of the Blind Auditions has just begun for the couple and their fellow coaches, Kelly Clarkson and John Legend, the friendly competition is already heating up. In between documenting the pizza party she threw for Shelton’s birthday last week, Stefani shared a photo of Shelton to her Instagram Story with the message, “Getting excited to beat this guy on the voice this season!”
“I’m glad that she’s already feeling competitive,” Shelton said in response. “Of course, I’m not going to let her win. I’m going to have to win, but I’m going to have to do it in a way that she doesn’t feel like I beat her. I don’t know if that’s possible or not because I definitely don’t want to upset her — that’s not going to pay off for me in the long run. This will be her fourth time on the show, so she’s no stranger to it. She knows what she’s doing.”
For his birthday, Shelton said Stefani gifted him a “huge” custom welcome sign to put on display at his Oklahoma ranch. Additionally, Stefani’s sons Kingston, 13, Zuma, 10, and Apollo, 5 (whom she shares with ex Gavin Rossdale) also wrote out sweet birthday cards for him.
“Those are the coolest things,” he said. “It’s something I never experienced in my life.”
With speculation growing about whether an engagement is on the horizon for the happy couple, Shelton — who went through a divorce with country star Miranda Lambert in 2015 — recently told Entertainment Tonight, “I gotta say that we couldn’t be happier, and we’ve never been doing better.”
Though he scoffed at the constant wedding rumors, he also hinted that a proposal isn’t totally out of the question.
“[Our bond] gets stronger every day,” he said. “Obviously, that’s gotta lead somewhere.”
For more on Blake Shelton’s happy life with Gwen Stefani, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
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