Sam Hunt fans have followed his on-again-off-again relationship with Hannah Lee Fowler through his music, but now that their relationship is permanently "on again" -- the couple announced their engagement early in the new year -- Hunt is opening up about how he popped the question ... and how they're both feeling about it.

“I’m excited about it. It’s something that, in life, you know, we all think about [when] growing up, and you think, ‘One day,’ and one day finally came, and I couldn’t be happier," Hunt tells Nash Country Daily. "It was either her or push on as a bachelor. I realized she was meant to be a part of my life, and when I realized that, as fast as I could, I went to try to convince her that was the way it needed to be."

Hunt tells Bobby Bones that he proposed "over by the Sea of Galilee" while he and Fowler were visiting Israel, but the lead-up to the big moment was ... well, nerve-wracking for the singer.

“Once you have the ring in your pocket and the clock is ticking ... it becomes a bigger deal than you think," Hunt notes to NCD, adding that he actually postponed his proposal plans slightly following "this little disagreement" the two had.

"I think because I felt like this disagreement spoiled my big plan to ask her to marry me, it irritated me a little more, which contributed to making the little fight worse, and it escalated to the point where it actually worked out," Hunt explains. "We got real for a minute, after this little riff that we had. In that moment, it just felt perfect. Everything — after I asked her to marry me — just fizzled away, and we celebrated and got excited together."

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The special moment didn't make Hunt cry -- but, he tells Bobby Bones, he welled up, and "if I had blinked really hard, I think a tear might have fallen out."

Hunt and Fowler first dated years ago, and their breakup inspired a number of the songs on Hunt’s debut album, Montevallo. This time around, Hunt has mostly kept quiet about the details of his and Fowler’s relationship, though he’s been sharing photos of her on his Instagram account. On Jan. 1, Hunt dropped an unreleased tune, “Drinkin’ Too Much,” that shares his feelings about their split and how his fame affected Fowler; at the end of the song, he addresses her by name.

"She’s 100-percent committed," Hunt adds to Nash Country Daily, "and I am too.”

Hunt is working on his sophomore album; on Feb. 1, he will release its first single, "Body Like a Back Road," which was written following his and Fowler's engagement. In June, Hunt will headline the 2017 Taste of Country Music Festival, and he announced a full summertime tour, the 2017 15 in a 30 Tour, on Wednesday (Jan. 25).

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