Marriage proposals, and why it should cut both ways

I’m in favour of women also proposing marriage. There, I said it. And you wouldn’t think that in society, in this day and age, that it would be a huge deal. But it isn’t seen as the ‘norm’, so it is.

I find that the main problem with a man proposing marriage is that a woman has to wait. And wait, and wait, and wait. It is the man’s decision about when he will traditionally ‘settle down’.

And then there’s the concept of ‘stealing his thunder’. Which is strange, but I can understand. If you have been fed the same stories, the same types of gender norms your entire life, it’s strange to suddenly have it switched around on you. I mean, how often in popular culture do we see examples of women proposing to men?

The finest example I could think of was Miranda, from Sex and the City:

Short, sharp, and sweet. But Miranda has never been much of a romantic – and what if you are, and you do want to propose to your boyfriend?

I say, go for it. I have no advice to give on the hows and wheres – for more advice on that, you should look here. There are a myriad of other internet posts concerning this exact topic – and the main concern appears to be one of questioning the male ‘domain’, and of the man feeling threatened by such a bold woman. And to this, I mostly say “What?”. I mean, who did they *think* they were dating this entire time? Trust me, if I ever decide to propose to a future boyfriend, he won’t be surprised. Instead, he’ll recognise that my feminist values have led me to a place where I feel comfortable with proposing to him (and also, that I’d really like to marry him!). It’s a sign of a mature, equal relationship where both partners feel comfortable enough that either of them can propose. I really dislike this idea of desperately “waiting” for the guy to propose – if you really are meant to be together, then why shouldn’t the woman propose?

The point I’m making here is that everyone is different. And every marriage proposal is different. And it shouldn’t necessarily be expected that a man will be the one getting down on one knee.

4 thoughts on “Marriage proposals, and why it should cut both ways

  1. When my wife and I got engaged, it was kind of a joint proposal.

    I actually proposed to her a few years earlier, but I was incredibly insensitive as it was way too soon after her mum died (a few months).

    Anyway, a few years went by and we went to an Indian Bazaar as part of Diwali. There was a jeweller’s stand. Turns out it was run by the parents of a colleague. So we had a look at rings, and jokingly looked at massive CZ rings.

    Then asked if there were any diamond rings we could see. They were brought out, and K tried some on and screwed up her nose at them. Then she tried one on and her face lit up. It was so gorgeous I can still picture it even though it must have been 8 years ago. The decision had been made. So the proposal wasn’t made so much as it was born.

    I went to buy the ring only to find out I didn’t have enough credit on my card, and couldn’t access my savings. So my new fiancee bought her own ring, and I re-paid her several days later.

    Anyway, all that aside, if a man has an “issue” with a woman proposing to him, then his answer is “No”, and it is a good thing too. Love, true love, gives no credence to tradition, to “society”, to what is “expected” of us.

  2. That’s such a wonderful story – I particularly like the part where she had to buy her ring herself!

    You’re right – if a man does have an issue with his girlfriend proposing to him, then they’re probably not a well-suited couple. I say this in the sense that if a woman clearly wants to propose to a man, and he doesn’t want her to because of gender norms, they may well have different perspectives on a variety of gender based issues.

    I wonder if a few marriage proposals happen in much the same way as yours – jointly, as a decision made together.

  3. We also had kind-of a dual proposal. Badger asked me to marry him seven years ago when I was eighteen – and being young and in love, what else would I say but yes? We always took it as a promise to get married some day, rather than something we were going to do anytime soon and got on with our lives – supporting each other through the death of a parent and a friend, moving countries (twice, and not together), moving to different cities to pursue jobs we loved. Then last May, we took a long weekend in Paris, and I proposed to him that we actually start planning to get married – and gave him a fancy watch. He was delighted – and didn’t feel like I had stolen any thunder at all. I had previously scoffed when guys I know talked about how scary it was to propose, but I have to say, I found it a bit daunting – even though I knew the answer wouldn’t be ‘no’ but thought maybe it would be ‘not right now.’ Team Practical helped though, and in the end, it was awesome, and I’m glad I did it.

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