Post # 1
Inspired by multiple threads I’ve seen here, I just had to post this thought. The man-on-his-knees proposal is a recent phenomenon. An engagement has traditionally been a couple agreeing they wish to marry and planning accordingly.
I see so much anguish here about couples saying they want to marry each other followed by the man buying a ring and sitting on it for months waiting for his moment to shine and do some production of a proposal and I just don’t get it.
I saw another thread which says that the wedding is where the brides shines and plans, whereas the man gets to shine with his proposal, planned silently and secretively. This seems to involve so much drama. If you’ve decided you’re going to marry one another, you’re engaged. It shouldn’t be a struggle after you’ve both said you wish to wed each other unless you’ve changed your mind. I don’t get why a Pretend Surprise Proposal – since you have already decided you will wed – has to be the way a couple decides to formally start planning for marriage.
Can anyone help me out here?
Post # 3
The couple saying “oh ya someday we’ll get married” is not being engaged. if you’re actively planning a wedding and you don’t have a ring? Thats more of a grey line.
Also I don’t know of many men who had the ring for months before the engagement. But yeah, to each their own.
Post # 4
to each their own. A proposal and a ring “seal the deal” for me personally. Whether or not it’s a recent phenomenon, it’s still what is the norm, and many people follow the norm.
Post # 5
@floralteacup: Honestly I feel the same way you do but it’s my SO who insists that it has to be a “proper” proposal and he wants to plan it for me because I do so much for him and it’s his turn to do something big for me. He’s had the ring for 3 months, we bought our house over 2 years ago and at the time we bought our house we knew we were going to get married eventually. He kept saying we couldn’t be engaged without a ring. I really do feel the proposal is more important to him than it is to me. He wants to have a fantastic story to tell family, friends, our kids and grandkids apparently and he doesn’t want it to be something different and special. We already feel married and he introduces me to people and refers to me as his wife so I guess getting engaged is more of a formality at this point.
Post # 6
plus…to be honest, many guys(even girls) just say what they think the SO wants to hear…like yeah we will get married in the future…and they may not mean it..to me the proposal solidifies it
Post # 7
The origins of European engagement in marriage practice is found in the Jewish law (Torah), first exemplified by Abraham, and outlined in the lastTalmudic tractate of the Nashim (Women) order, where marriage consists of two separate acts, called hierusin (or kiddushin, meaning sanctification), which is the betrothal ceremony, and nissu’in or chupah, the actual ceremony for the marriage. Erusin changes the couple’s interpersonal status, while nissu’in brings about the legal consequences of the change of status. (However, in the Talmud and other sources of Jewish law there is also a process, called shidduchin, corresponding to what today is called engagement. Marrying without such an agreement is considered immoral.
I took this from the Wikipedia article from engagement. Apparently the ritual of asking for the bride’s hand in marriage goes waay back.
Post # 8
Hmm, I don’t see it that way.
A couple planning a life together, with or without the engagment, are committed to each other and invested in the relationship. These are important, but I see engagement as a step towards making it contractual, legally and socially.
Plus… for the sake of conversation… might the romantic proposal be a recent phenomenon because women’s rights (including autonomy to choose her spouse) are similarly ‘recent’?
Post # 9
- Wedding: June 2014 - British Columbia
@floralteacup: I agree. This is how things are done in my culture, traditionally. The man asks for permission from the woman’s parents; the two of them are engaged. Rings are optional.
It just seems like the whole wedding industry makes it so that we aren’t “officially engaged” without a ring on the finger. It’s frustrating.
My Fiance bought the ring 2 years before we were officially engaged. He asked for my parents’ blessings FOUR years before we were officially engaged. LOL! It’s been so long that he asked that my parents didn’t remember Fiance asking for their blessings, until I reminded them about a certain conversation I had to translate AFTER SO left, because his spoken English was too fast for my parents’ understanding.
Post # 10
I wonder about this myself. SO and I aren’t engaged yet, but we picked a date for our wedding (our 10th anniversary). No official planning has been done, but we talk about it like it’s actually planned (“when” not “if”). But he hasn’t decided if he’s ready to propose. Sometimes I get so frustrated, because I’m like…aren’t we basically engaged already?? Men are silly.
Post # 11
Well I can agree with you. SO and I decided we wanted to get married and even decided when. I wanted to start telling everyone but he wanted me to wait until he got the ring and asked me “properly.” I imagine it was because once we started telling people everyone would ask to see the ring and ask how he did it.
It took us almost 2 months to pick out my ring so it was sort of torture because I wanted to tell everyone! In reality I told my parents and a few close friends. We actually booked the venue, photographer, and got my dress before we announced it to everyone else.
Post # 12
My SO feels the same way you do. In his mind, we’re already engaged. and yet, he also wants to buy the ring and propose when I’m not expecting it. I feel like ok either we’re engaged or we aren’t and if he wants to propose, then until then we aren’t. I will consider myself engaged when we start actively planning a wedding instead of just throwing out ideas here and there.
Post # 13
@zonabee: But I’m not talking about noncommital talk about maybe getting married some day. I’m talking about the posts I see where people have had conversations where they’ve decided they want to marry each other but are waiting until the guy feels up to his production of a proposal, often (but not always) after buying the ring.
@shaka: I have to say I’ve never heard anything suggesting that the on-bended-knee proposal has anything to do with feminism. I think that bypassing asking the woman’s father and asking her directly does; but if anything, the surprise proposal seems to be quite the opposite with some women put in a position where they are waiting passively for the man to make a move instead of being active participants in the decision-making process. ETA: I think this especially because they are often told in the forums here to surpress their frustration with having to sit passively waiting for a proposal for months after they’ve decided to get married. It just seems like an unnecessary emotional drain.
Post # 14
FH and I started talking about marriage in “when” terms so long ago that I don’t even remember when it was. I remember telling him, at some point, that we should just consider ourselves engaged, but he wouldn’t hear of it. He HAD to propose with a ring for it to be “official”.
Post # 15
@sablemuse: Interesting! 🙂 I’m sure it would be fascinating to locate a book that gives a history of marriage traditions in western and non-western cultures! That said, I take no issue with the tradition of the groom asking the bride for her hand at all; I take issue with it being a drawn out, mysterious process that must involve a choreographed proposal.
Post # 16
My proposal was so wonderful and special— I wouldn’t dream of having it any other way. We had been dating for 5 years. We’ve lived together for 3 and have a dog. We were 100% committed to eachother, for sure. And of course the topic of marriage came up and we both knew that’s what we wanted. But we were not engaged until he officially asked me in the most romantic way I could ever imagine. Why would you want to trade that for a “Yeah okay, let’s do this thing”? I sure don’t.