Getting married is a bit like an obstacle run. First, you make the decision for yourself that you want to marry your beloved. Next, you start wondering how to bring up the subject. A flurry of questions race through your head.
Most importantly… Does your partner want to marry you – one day? Is your partner ready for this step – now?
Then the how’s. When will you do it? During a vacation? On the day of a relationship anniversary? Valentine’s day? During another special occasion? Whenever the conversation steers that way? How will you do it? Romantic? Casual? Blunt? Indirect? Will you involve other people, or will you keep it intimate? Is there an expectation of a surprise romantic proposal to be shared with girlfriends and added to the family folklore for the generations after you?
Then there’s the question of the ring. Do you make the decision for them and buy them a diamond ring? Do you ask them to select something they like? Do you get a simple placeholder ring for the proposal?
Necessarily, your proposal will reflect the kind of person you are, the kind of person your beloved is, and the kind of love you two share. And fortune favors the brave! We talk a lot about engagement rings here. While people are different and there is no one-size-fits-all advice, here are some starting points to get you thinking about the proposal itself.
Follow their lead.
It is possible that your beloved has a certain scenario in their mind regarding getting married and receiving a marriage proposal. If so, it is probably important to them that you make an effort to follow that scenario… at least to an extent. Everyone is entitled to have dreams – especially when it comes to the most momentous occasions in life. And, whether we are children or grown-ups, nothing is more endearing than having someone else make our dreams come true.
If your partner does have specific ideas about this topic, he or she will be sure to make them knowable to you. If not in a direct conversation with you, he or she will leave clues in discussions with trusted friends or siblings. Casually asking these confidantes could bring great results. Keep your ears about you.
If there is no lead to follow…
If there are no clues, then maybe your partner has no preconceived notions about this. They still have dreams, of course, but maybe they dream about other things.
In this case, you have two great options – either aim for surprise and romance, or have an earnest discussion.
A romantic surprise, something special, always earns you extra points. Few people can resist a well-timed and well-executed surprise. Why? Because everyday life can be predictable, even boring. You wake up, go to work, come home, sleep. What would married life be like? You wake up, go to work, come home, sleep. Yes, no one wants things to be so unpredictable as to come crumbling down, and yes, there’s comfort in predictability, but… yawn.
If you break through the routine and lead your beloved into a world where, even for a moment, things are no longer predictable, you captivate their imagination all over again. Like you did on your first date. Like when you were children. Like when life seemed so vibrant and full of opportunities.
This takes effort to prepare and courage to execute, because you don’t want to try and improvise. When you invite your beloved on a journey full of thrill and suspense, you don’t want to flounder half-way.
There are many memorable ways to propose. You can involve others, organize a surprise party, whisk them away on an exotic trip, hire musicians and/or photographers, or even just take them to a place that is special for you. Anything that puts you both into a romantic or otherwise excited frame of mind will make the occasion memorable. One idea that gets everyone buzzing is to propose in an escape room.
… Talk to them.
If that’s just not your style – of course, that’s fine. Your partner knows who you are, loves you for who you are, and wants to spend his or her life with you – not some imaginary character from a fairy-tale. You do have the latitude to be yourself.
In fact, an earnest discussion can convey more depth of feeling than any grand gesture. Speak from your heart. Talk about what the two of you have been through, what your beloved means to you, how you may have changed since meeting them, how they inspire you, what you appreciate about them. Even if you don’t like talking about your feelings, this is one of the most timely and meaningful occasions in your life to do so. Getting married is a big step, and you want both of you to know that you have thought about it and have good reasons to do it. And yes, these are just words, but we humans have not yet figured out a better way to read each other’s minds, and it is important for your partner to know how you feel about them. Say it now, and your partner will treasure those words forever.
And if you feel that you can’t come up with the right words… we’ve compiled a list of awesome love quotes, perfect for Valentine’s day – or any other day of the year.