I blame Disney, but I’m not sure that’s entirely fair.
Somehow, somewhere, I got the idea that romance had to be BIG. Dates had to be special and frequent. The proposal had to be elaborate, perhaps with candles or a sunset thrown in.
“Mama, how did Daddy propose?”
It was an innocent enough question for a five or six-year-old. I remember my mom pausing, furrowing her brow a little.
“Hmmmm. Well, we talked about it at Calitiri’s.”
I did not understand.
“You talked about it? You mean, he didn’t surprise you?”
[Insert helicopter landing with champagne here.]
“No, no surprise. I remember eating dinner and your father and I talked about getting married.”
“But then later he got down on one knee, right? And gave you a ring?”
[Insert the many proposals Anne of Green Gables got and turned down in the snow.]
“No, there was no ring, honey. Well, he did give me a sapphire at Christmas, but that wasn’t really an engagement ring.”
The dinner conversation happened in October and they were married in May.
“At least you got a honeymoon, right? Where did you go?”
“We went to Nova Scotia on a boat from Maine. We stayed in a cabin and it was freezing.”
I remember trying to understand why there wasn’t more. I thrived off stories, but my parents didn’t really give me much to work with. A dinner conversation? No surprise? No down-on-one-knee? Are you kidding me?
Where was the princess treatment?
Where was the extended year-long planning process?
Where was the gift registry? The two-week European honeymoon? The violins?
I was five and I thought men treated the women they loved like princesses. Look at Belle or Cinderella, for instance. You don’t see them having conversations about things. I thought that maybe my father didn’t quite know how it worked. I thought that love and romance were the same thing, and my parents just didn’t get it.
These days, my friends would probably say that I’m not a romantic. They tend to like things a little more mushy, a little more This Is Supposed To Be Romantic. The thing is, I’ve been thinking lately, maybe my parents had something right.
What’s better than down-on-one-knee with a ring and roses?
Maybe an eyes-to-eyes and mind-to-mind conversation.
Maybe a six-month whirlwind-ish engagement.
Maybe a focus on the marriage instead of the pomp and circumstance leading up to it.
~ ~ ~
I have so many friends getting married now, and each one is doing things differently. Some are “The bigger the better!” and others are more low-key, and that’s okay. I can’t wait to go to weddings, be in weddings, see the love that I’ve watched grow over the past few years. I’m loving the process of choosing colors and flowers and dresses, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Everyone has a different style.
My romantic just looks a little more like a conversation.
[This is not to say that I will never once post a photo of me and the lucky guy, or that I won’t announce our upcoming nuptials on facebook. I may be a luddite, but I know where to draw the line.]
[Photo credit: Sarah. Thanks for going on a cruise!]
5 Replies to “Proposal of the Century”
So much truth in here Catherine! You are wise beyond your years. Mind-to-mind is the thing. Also remember that marriage doesn’t just “work.” You work to make a marriage. Come and see us! When?
I was just thinking about you today! I can’t wait to see how the homestead’s changed – I’ll email you.
Oh, Anne. She – and her friends and kids – certainly affected my idea of romance. Although one of my biggest takeaways from her story was that I did NOT want to be surprised by the fact of a proposal. And I did NOT want a man to be surprised by my response.
And those conversations? NEVER underestimate their power. They’re amazing, whether they’re about a wedding or science fiction or farms or just the weather.
I know, isn’t that moment horrible? I just don’t understand how anyone could imagine spending his life with someone who had no idea he wanted to.
And yes, the breadth of topics in good conversations span much further than marriage or weddings. I’d love to be a fly on the wall during yours and Carl’s 😉