Like most women, I used to wonder how my future husband would propose to me. I dreamed about it being near the ocean (I love the beach) and I wondered what he would say and how he would ask. While most women dream about their marriage proposal, I imagine many guys may worry about it. So, what makes a good proposal?
In a word… planning. If our men are nervous during the act, we forgive them and think it’s precious. If our men stumble over their proposal words and drop the ring in our spaghetti, we talk about how adorable he was for years. If our men deliver a flawless pre-proposal monologue and gracefully put the ring on our finger, we tell everyone we know. Women are not looking for the most perfectly worded or flawless performance.
Knowing that our groom-to-be spent time thinking about and planning how to propose is what we women are the most interested in. Trust me, guys… we can tell! A half-hearted proposal is not likely to make a girl say, “No” if she really wants to marry you; but, your proposal stays with your woman for life. It doesn’t have to be showy, just heartfelt and planned with her in mind (e.g., don’t propose to her in front of thousands people if she does not enjoy crowds, etc.).
When I was much younger, long before I knew Eric, I was taken through a Chick-fil-A drive thru on a Thursday afternoon, driven to a local park, and then proposed to on the tailgate of an S-10 pickup truck. Obviously, we know what my answer was (and not because of the proposal, but for other reasons); however, I was blown away by the lack of planning involved. He didn’t know this, but the spot where he chose to propose was less than 30 yards from where I had become seriously sick to my stomach at a picnic when I was eight years old. I can’t fault him for that, but it did place the cherry on top of a less than stellar proposal.
In retrospect, I’m sure the guy was nervous (and he had good reason to be since neither of us were old enough to even consider marriage), and it’s likely that his proposal to his now-wife was much better; but, it left me with the hope that my future husband would put some thought into how he asked me. I didn’t want a lot of hoopla (as I’m actually pretty low key about most things), but I did want to know that some forethought was involved.
As I was thinking about writing on this topic, I searched the internet for proposal horror stories – and here are a few….
- One gentleman proposed at a cemetery after telling his girlfriend that he wanted to be buried next to her (and yes, he showed her the two plots he had purchased for them).
- One man had his girlfriend arrested for something fake and then came to bail her out. When he came, he said that he’d only bail her out if she agreed to marry him (chances are I’d still be sitting there!).
- My personal favorite worst proposal was the man who pretended to die… and when his grieving girlfriend passed his casket sobbing, he popped up and proposed. Apparently, she slapped him and then said, “Yes.”
I’m not sure if that last one actually happened… but I wouldn’t be surprised! Proposals give women insight into their future marriage. When a man doesn’t care enough to plan a nice proposal, a woman can expect him to show her very little care throughout their marriage.
So, do you want to hear about my unforgettable wedding proposal? Before he proposed, I already knew we would get married someday; yet, he still planned a precious proposal. He drove me to the beach (because he knew me so well!) and pulled out twelve red roses (my favorite flower). Before giving me the roses, he handed me a special card he had saved for years. The card had a picture of a long-stemmed rose on the cover, and it read, “I have a dozen…” Then, the inside of the card read, “… reasons why.” He began to hand me roses one-by-one – each rose with a reason as to why he wanted to marry me. It was unforgettable.
After he finished giving me roses and reasons, he got down on one knee and asked me if I would marry him. After I said yes (twice), he pulled out another box. It contained heather – the purple flowers – that he had tracked down at a local florist. I had once mentioned to him that I’d never actually seen heather, so he went to great lengths to find it for that day. The next day was Thanksgiving, so I had great fun telling all of my family how he had proposed. He planned to propose before Thanksgiving so that when I saw a lot of my family on Thanksgiving, I could have fun telling everyone and show off my ring as newly-engaged girls do. I will always appreciate how much he cared to plan a special proposal for me.
Men may find this odd, but women LOVE to tell their proposal story for the rest of their lives. When a man doesn’t plan anything, a woman often feels robbed of a very special moment in her life. She may never verbally complain about it, but she will never forget it either.
So men, before proposing to your beloved, get to know her very well. What does she love? Is she a quiet person who loves nature, an athlete that loves sporting events, or an intellectual lady who loves reading? Does she like the outdoors or indoors more? What is her favorite … flower? … color? … movie? … book? … etc.? Once you think you know her and what she adores in life, incorporate some or all of those things into your proposal. Make it about her… show her that you have noticed her and that you will continue to notice her. That is what a woman wants in a marriage proposal.
Women don’t only want to be pursued in dating, courtship, and engagement… they want to be pursued in marriage and for life – just as Jesus continually and faithfully pursues the Church – it’s just how we women have been made. You may spend a few hours or days planning your proposal, but if you plan well, your future wife will likely spend the next fifty years bragging about your proposal to her – it’s worth the investment!
What would you like in your wedding proposal? If you’re already engaged or married, share your proposal story!
Karis Seltzer says
But I don't agree with you at all on this one…..Any woman who is starry-eyed enough to have to have flowers and some fancy dinner to make her feel good about a proposal isn't ready for marriage….she's still very much absorbed in what 'he will do for her' and not 'how she can serve and honor him'…..Those 'proposals' seem very corny to me…several of them even in very poor taste.
So, the woman is expected to serve and honor the man, but he is not expected to serve and honor her. Well I guess the lack of a proposal is a sign of the imbalance that can be expected in that marriage. I would just like to say that even after 25 years of marriage I wish that I had held out for a real marriage proposal and a ring, also a honeymoon would be nice.
I have grown resentment towards my spouse for the lack of a proper proposal, any rings that were chosen by him, no wedding after I was promised one etc. It’s been a road of disrespect towards me since and I wish I never would’ve done it.
That sounds quite unfortunate. I hope you can talk with him about your disappointment and resentment. Perhaps you both can plan a wedding vow renewal ceremony that will bring happiness when you reflect back on it. Grace and peace.
What she was trying to say is get to know your girl and show her that you pay attention to her
Karis Seltzer says
You set high expectations for a proposal!
For my part, I don't think all the fanfare is necessary or desirable. In other words, none of the proposals described above would have appealed to me. Two of them would have been 'deal breakers' (the arrest and the casket! YUCK!)
Perhaps the bottom line is that the man understands the woman well enough to know what would appeal to her. For me: "Want to get married?" was exactly right….no ring, no roses, no fanfare, no bended knee, just sincere, straight forward honesty.
Still thankful for the gift of the man I respect and adore! 🙂
Okay, but what is right for you isn’t necessarily right for everyone else in the world. Some women aren’t pick-me’s….just saying.
We thank you for responding to the article; but, your comment indicates that you did not read the article. Have a lovely day. 🙂
Heather Viets says
Karis, you crack me up! 🙂 Yes, the best thing for any man to do is to know his potential spouse and ask her in a way that speaks to her the best. I know a few women who would agree with you wholeheartedly. A "do you want to get married" over their favorite takeout would be perfect. At the same time, we've talked to women who were hurt by the lack of care and concern that was put into their proposals. Because of that, we feel obliged to share with future grooms the importance of proposal planning. 🙂 Thanks for your comments!
P.S. I agree with you about the casket and arrest proposals!
Karis Seltzer says
Thought you would agree…bottom line: KNOW YOUR GIRL 😉
LOL The women on this thread who are poo pooing an amazing proposal probably didn’t get one. I love your engagement story and would hope to have a sweet thought out romantic one myself for my second marriage. The first was a very lame high school sweetheart who pathetically proposed and later ended in divorce after 18 years.
Sunaina Gupta says
My would-to-be proposed me in a very special manner. I could not have imagined a better proposal than this. Though the marriage is going to be an arrange marriage, but still my husband is very different. He broke all the shackles and took me out for a dinner date. He decorated the place with balloons, candles, dim lights, and music of love was all around. I hope I have a better married life ahead.
My marriage proposal was a let down to say the least. I was taken to my backyard after hanging up the phone with revenue Canada. Taken to look at rose bushes that were planted – then he gets down on his knee and proposed!
I was just out of bed in my robe and not in the right frame of mind. Hated it. Had just found out a week prior that my mom was diagnosed as having dementia. His timing sucked. Clearly it was about getting the proposal over and not being in tune as to how I was feeling.
Honestly …… I’m still figuring out how to make the best out of my proposal. I wanna make her feel amazing an include what she loves but I don’t wanna over do it. My biggest problem is if I should do it with her family present or in our own setting. Any suggestions??
It really depends on the woman. Some women will want to be with other loved ones during their proposal; whereas, other women will want to be alone with him while being proposed. The point of the article is to get to know your woman and figure out what she likes and wants. If you two are discussing marriage, maybe watch some marriage proposal videos together and ask her what she likes and doesn’t like about each – and take some mental notes for your future proposal. Good luck! 🙂
Being a 46 yr old man….. I love this idea!!!!
My job requires me to detect deception. I am honest with her about that. I have never been married.
I have been dating my Lady for 10 months.
She’s too honest! I’ve learned to not ask questions I may not want to hear the answer too.
I love it.
The communication has developed into just as good as I have with my own mother.
And I want to do this right!!! 🙂
This is perfect because I believe it’s dead on.
She always tells me that I pick up and remember the small things.
Like her favorite special candy bar in her lunch, that I make everyday I can,
…. when I know she’s about to have a bad day at work.
I’ll let ya know how it goes. I’m still gathering info.