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I know some folks will say that out of love, I should compromise and at least pretend to love what the other person desires, does for me, or plans to surprise me with. However, I think to myself that if I have to pretend to love how I come about my decision to spend the rest of my life and future with you, then I don’t genuinely love you. Love is about the truth, and if I fake it for this important step, who knows what else I could be faking for the rest of the relationship? I do not mind being surprised once in a while for non-life changing decisions. Even if there is an element of surprise, I believe that you should surprise people with things not life-changing decisions under unnecessary pressure.
One of my goals of blogging my undiluted opinions is to help people break away from ethnocentric beliefs or the idea that only one way, their way, or the most common way is the best to do things. Before diving into the topic, I want to emphasize that I do not believe my perspective of a marriage proposal is the best. It is only what I would desire for myself and wish that others respect for me. Before writing extensively on topics like this, I do a minute test by posting a summary on one of my social media accounts to feel people’s temperature. Interestingly, when I shared this topic and perspective, many people, especially females, expressed a desire for my style of marriage proposals.
There are so many things I hate about modern proposals where the man throws a surprise event to drop on a knee in front of a large group of people to ask for a woman’s hand in marriage. First of all, I hate surprises. As an addictive planner, I like to be as accurate in what’s coming for me to the extent that I do not pick non-emergency, non-family, and unscheduled phone calls. So, if my friend randomly calls me without texting to inform me beforehand, I’ll twerk to the ringtone. I respect others likewise and schedule appointments or send them text messages ahead and wait for their approval before giving them phone calls.
Even when it comes to gifts, I don’t like surprise gifts because of the guilt, shame, and burden that comes with disliking what someone else has thoughtfully spent their money on. On birthdays, my friends and family either ask for a list of things I want that they can choose from or give me money as cash or in gift cards. Additionally, I dislike clutter, so I don’t know how to pretend to keep what I do not want for the emotional fulfilment of the buyer.
So, if out of the blues, someone asks for my hand in marriage in front of a large group of people and I don’t think I am ready to agree, I won’t hesitate to disappoint anyone and politely express my rejection. Some people will say that a man should “know” when it is the right time to propose with a surprise. But in my perspective, in a day and age where personal and individual consent independent of other strong influences is highly valued, I derive pleasure in choices I can take full responsibilities for. I never want my excuse to be – I said yes because of the pressure from other people, therefore, won’t cover face to publicly accept, then privately decline. Because later down the line, if word got out about the decline, it would still lead to the same shameful embarrassment that I, who was publicly celebrated with a marriage proposal “couldn’t keep a ring” – at least that’s how many women I have seen have been shamed.
I believe marriage proposals should be something to be discussed, questioned and thought through between both parties. The support of professional counselling, although not often spoken of, can be very valuable in arriving at that decision. So, yes. I will like a private conversation where I can ask all kinds of questions, express immediate concerns, and fears, and politely decline or defer without guilt if I and, or the other person don’t think that’s the wisest next step for our relationship.
My second top pet-peeve is proposals on other important dates. Dear future Mr. man do not propose to me on my graduation day, a valentine’s day, birthday, at someone else’s wedding or anything related. There are 365 days in a year, and I would like to tell each day apart. Most importantly, you can’t cheat and combine my birthday gift with an engagement gift for me. They have to be separate days. There is a reason why Jesus spaced out his day of death and day of resurrection. I’d like to live like Jesus in separating highly purposeful days.
Third pet-peeve, proposal rings. I am not a huge fan of using jewelry. I can admire it on someone else, but it just stresses me out on myself. If someone buys me a piece of jewelry and I wear it, if I am not wearing it out of the obligation of love, it’s most likely that it’s too expensive, I may go to hell for being the ingrate that abandoned it. I am one of those people with four pairs of earrings – same design, different sizes. I do not wear bracelets or wristwatches because I spend about 70% of my day typing and writing, and they are awful distractions and discomfort when leaning my wrists.
As an alternative, I may prefer getting matching tattoos or getting one of those simple black rings that men wear that blends with one’s soul and doesn’t scream one’s marital status to heaven and earth.
Personal issues aside, many women still, unfortunately, face career limitations as a result of an employer’s awareness of their marital status or family demands. I’ve found that’s why sometimes women choose gender-neutral names to represent themselves professionally or don’t declare being a Mrs, Miss or Ms. on their professional and career-related documents. It may sound like an opportunistic thing to do, and some may even ask why would you want to change yourself to work in a possibly sexist environment? Keeping in mind that not everyone is intentionally sexist, I believe that if I had to, I would do everything in my power without harm or untruth, to help others make the best decisions about my abilities.
Recently, I have seen trends of people who even go the extra mile of planning surprise weddings for their spouses immediately after proposals. So, if the person says yes, they’ll have had all the dress, make-up, event etc. planned so they can take that person straight to church or court to seal the deal. Anyone stands a better chance of gambling to win a million bucks than to go with these extreme planning without my knowing and just with the thin thread of hope that I’d say yes and agree. I am still taking baby steps to surrender to God’s plans for me and don’t see myself submitting to someone else’s plans of an important event to my life without proper consultation and decision making. So yes, please join the line and stand after God.
The fifth part that irks me the most about proposals is when the woman who is well-dressed, with a face beat by make-up and ring-ready nails bursts into full-blown tears as if she almost didn’t see it coming. I still don’t get the videos of the one’s screaming especially. I haven’t seen many proposal videos of someone like myself who on their best days only wears lip-gloss and a dyed pair of eyebrows. Proposals with non-glammed up women don’t get as much media attention because of the high beauty standards women are expected to meet.
Culture changes – the culture of these modern and conventional proposals didn’t happen 100 years ago, yet, people were still alright and in love. People loved themselves enough irrespective of ceremonial public flattery and engagements.
I know some folks will say that out of love, I should compromise and at least pretend to love what the other person desires, does for me, or plans to surprise me with. However, I think to myself that if I have to pretend to love how I come about my decision to spend the rest of my life and future with you, then I don’t genuinely love you. Love is about the truth, and if I fake it for this important step, who knows what else I could be faking for the rest of the relationship? I do not mind being surprised once in a while for non-life changing decisions. Even if there is an element of surprise, I believe that you should surprise people with things not life-changing decisions under unnecessary pressure. Additionally, make sure that if you surprise me, you either know me well enough to be sure I’ll like your offering or, you have the emotional intelligence to accept my rejection without letting it ruin the relationship.
I am just saying this to future bae out there: The money and energy you’ll waste for this kind of thing can be deposited in my bank account. If you send me a text message “will you marry me?” or “are you ready to discuss the possibilities of getting married soon?” Then, I just might ask you to come over for dinner to discuss. If I say yes, great, and if I say no, it would be a safe space for both of us to understand my rejection and identify how we can grow from it. The bright side of this is loving a low-maintenance romantic partner. The only thing I can for sure spend your inheritance on is books – spend books on me, and you have my heart without question. Additionally, this removes gender or sexist expectations that relate to marriage proposals – the idea that only a man can ask or that proposals can only exist when a man feels ready to be married to someone not otherwise. This approach of marriage proposals, to me, prioritizes the relationship more than the publicity of the event itself and gives both partners equal room for thoughtful decision making.