Ariel, at Offbeat Bride, has a post called Proposing Part 1: Why you should propose to your boyfriend. As the title suggests, she was the one to propose to her husband. Sort of…
On our third anniversary, we went to this pottery painting place. As I’d planned, I painted a big plate with a picture of us holding hands. (Yes, we were naked in the painting. I like painting butts!) [See naked butt plate here.]
Above the little people, I painted the words “Psst: will you marry me?” Then I put my grandmother’s diamond wedding ring onto the plate and slid it across the table to Andreas.
He looked at the plate. He looked up at me.
I looked at him. Nothing happened.
“…Well, will you?” I said.
“Of course!” he said, and I exhaled in relief.
“…But you don’t mean, like, IMMEDIATELY, right?” he said. “I mean, of course we’re spending the rest of our lives together. But there’s no rush, right?”
“Er, I guess not…” I said.
“Awesome!” he said. “I love you!” And then he went back to painting.
I sat and freaked out a bit, but nothing had really changed: we were still just as committed and someday we would get married. Just not quite yet, evidently.
“No rush,” in our case, meant getting married three years later.
Ah, you gotta love men. But this story is not meant to deter you from popping the question yourself, if you are so inclined. And judging from the 85 comments that follow this post, Ariel is not alone in proposing to her man. And most of the girl-proposing-to-guy stories have very happy endings! (check them out!)
The point is that many women feel that men should not have the monopoly on the proposal privileges.
When you propose to your boyfriend, you’re taking a huge first step toward grabbing the traditional institution of marriage by the balls and telling it that you’re doing this on your terms and in your own way.
It’s an exercise in taking ownership of your life and your journey through it. It’s your way of saying, “I’m not going to drop hints to get what I want — I’m going to apply that energy to building the courage to do it myself.” This isn’t just about proposals. It’s about knowing what you want and feeling strong enough in yourself to just go get it.
This isn’t to say that it’s not a wonderful thing when men propose. Ideally, any proposal is the result of many conversations about what marriage means to both you, why you’re committed to each other, etc. It should never really be “popping the question.”
Well my husband did the asking, but I’m all for women taking charge and proposing. If you know that you’re both committed and want to spend the rest of your lives together, but he can’t seem to get down to the business of getting engaged, go ahead and knock his socks off. As Ariel points out, if he loves you for being a sassy independently-minded offbeat girl, he’s the kind of guy who would appreciate tipping an old tradition on its ear.
Which leads us to Proposing Part 2: How to propose to your boyfriend.
- Have lots of conversations with him about marriage and commitment, so that you know you’re on the same page. Do you share ideas and values? Do you share a common outlook? Do you both want to do this?
- If you’re not sure he’d feel comfortable being proposed to, find a casual way to find out. Share a story about another woman who proposed (I’ve got one coming up for you!) to see how he responds.
- If you want to really twist the tradition on its ear, consider asking his mother for his hand in marriage! This list of how to ask a man for his daughter’s hand in marriage is actually pretty helpful, and has the bonus of being slightly amusing when you flip the genders: “Promise [her] that you’ll take care of [her son] for the rest of [his] life.”
- Pick a symbolic gift, if you want one. It totally doesn’t have to be a ring (who remembers the “engagement lighter” mentioned in my book?)
- Start scheming! The web is FILLED with proposal ideas, but I’m guessing crafting one unique to your relationship would be way more special than any over-engineered feat of romance.
So, if you have been thinking about asking The Big Question yourself, or are just tired of Waiting to be Asked, this should give you something to think about! Good luck, and let us know what happens!!
Feature photo from Portable Scrapbook