Ah, the question girls dream of hearing.
You'd think marriage proposals would be cut and dried, wouldn't you?
A couple dates for a while, and they both know they're serious about each other, and then one day, when she least expects it, he drops down on one knee and proposes. She says yes, absolutely adores the gorgeous ring he picked out for her (completely on his own without any input or consideration for her likes or dislikes because her knows her that well), they get married in a stunning ceremony and live happily ever after.
I mean, that's the way it always seemed to happen in the movies when I was a kid.
Now that I’m older and wiser, and have two sons of my own, one who recently proposed to his sweet and beautiful girlfriend (she said YES, btw!), I have come to a stunning conclusion:
Guys have it tough when it comes to proposing.
First of all, they're taking a big risk. What if the girl says no? Yikes! Even if he can get past that hurdle, he's got to decide where to propose, when, how, whether he should buy a ring of his own choosing, or should he "let the ring out of the bag" and the two them go window shopping together.
The good news is that there is no formula for marriage proposals. Anything goes, and when a couple is madly in love, I suspect the proposal is perfect, even if it happens in a pigsty.
Well, maybe not….
With this in mind, I asked the Seekers to share some of their own proposals and some from their books.
Here's what Audra Harders had to say about her proposal from Gary. "Gary and I met in 4th grade Sunday School. His dad was teaching. I really loved Mr. Harders; his son was a jerk. Gary and I never went to the same schools, but we seemed to go to the same parties in high school. He was your basic irritant.
We finally went out on a real date together when we were thirty. Three months later we were watching Beverly Hills Cop II at his place and he just announced during one of the shoot'em up scenes "I want to marry you."
I said, "okay"
We were married 6 months later.
His friends still can't believe I said yes :)"
Maybe they can't believe it, Audra, but the Seekers know the real score! He's a keeper!
Missy Tippens shares her storybook marriage proposal: “My hubby proposed to me in the exact spot we first met on the one-year anniversary of our first date. He'd said all along that he didn't want to get married until he graduated from seminary. But when I opened the ring box, he had a note with it that said: Will you...THIS summer? (He still had a year left of seminary.) So we married 5 months later!”
Now, isn’t that sweet? Makes me smile from the sheer romance of it!
Julie Lessman’s proposal is classic Julie. I shouldn’t even tell you whose proposal this is. You could probably guess just from the way she tells us about it! lol
Julie says, “When Keith and I were dating, we went to see the brand-new house of a newlywed friend. I was 27 and Keith was 24 and we’d only been seeing each other nine months. I was SO despondent when we went back to my apartment, thinking a marriage and a house would never happen for me, that I turned on him like a banshee.
“Just what exactly are your intentions?” I remember saying, arms folded and chin in the air. “I mean I’m 27 now, going on 28 and if you’re not serious here, I can’t be awaiting around for some young guy to grow up and get a clue, so if you’re not interested, then there’s the door.”
I still remember him staring at me like I’d lost my mind (only the first of many such looks, I assure you), blinking in near-shock, jaw agape and brows in a pinch. “Well, babe, I was going to wait till we’d been dating a year to ask you to marry me, but since you’re in an all-fire hurry, I guess I’ll just do it right now. Will you marry me?” he asked.
I remember freezing on the spot, the question dangling in the air just like my mouth. Wait a minute, I thought, do I want to marry this guy?? I was a hard-core realist who would not allow myself to daydream or even imagine what marriage to Keith would be like until the situation was a reality. “Uh, I don’t know,” I said, “can I have two weeks to think about it?”
I still can’t believe the poor guy didn’t tuck tail and run."
We love our Julie, and Keith does too! I found it quite funny that Julie gave him an ultimatum, then asked for two weeks to think about it. lol
Now we move on to Mary. You know, Mary and Julie remind me of good cop/bad cop, Laurel and Hardy, and George and Gracie routines. While Julie’s story gushes out of her like fireworks shooting off, Mary tells us hers in such a droll monotone that we just know there was a lot more to it than she lets on.
Mary gets all misty-eyed as she reminisces: "My real-life proposal was very low key. We went shopping for the ring together and bought the cheapest one in the jewelry store.
I said, "I want to be asked."
I said yes. We were sitting in his car in my parent's driveway.
I said, "Do you want to ask my dad for my hand in marriage?"
He said, "Nah, Jack'll let me marry you."
That's all I remember. Two month engagement. Engaged at Thanksgiving. Graduated from college and moved home to mom and dad's mid-December. Wedding in January."
Why do I find this funny? I don’t know. Maybe because everything Mary writes is funny to me. Go figure.
Oh, and before we go any further, some of the women I surveyed couldn’t remember an actual proposal, just that they had dated for several years, and it was just understood that they would marry, and they did.
But in the interest of saving happy marriages, the anonymous women who couldn’t remember a real bona fide proposal decided not to ask their spouses about the long-forgotten possibly non-existent proposal.
Better to leave well enough alone.
You know, as much as I enjoyed reading about some of the Seekers real proposals, hearing about it second-hand is just not the same as reading a juicy detailed account of an awesome marriage proposal in a book, is it?
Well, we’ve got that too.
The following excerpts are from books by Seekers Julie Lessman, Myra Johnson, Mary Connealy, Debby Guisti, and Pam Hillman. As you can see, there is no right way or wrong way to propose: in fiction or in real life.
This is Mitch’s proposal to Charity in A Passion Redeemed (Julie Lessman) after she leads him to believe she’s pregnant after being attacked in a park.
His head rested on the back of the chair, forcing that formidable chin to jut in the air, and his broad chest rose and fell with every groan issued forth. She reached to wake him, and her fingers stilled on his arm. She swallowed hard. Even in sleep, his biceps were taut and firm. She released a quiet sigh. He was truly a beautiful man. The snoring continued, so she allowed her fingers to trail …
In one shocked breath, he jolted awake. “What are you doing?” he whispered.
Heat stung her cheeks. She quickly glanced out the porthole to deflect her embarrassment. “Nothing. I just turned to look out the window. Goodness, would you look how dark it is! It must be nigh past dinnertime.”
“Uh-huh.” He stood and stretched his limbs with a dubious smile. “It sure felt like a caress to me,” he said with a yawn, then paused long enough to reveal the flicker of a smile at the corners of his mouth. He fixed her with a penetrating gaze and angled a brow. “Was it?”
She was glad it was getting dark—her face was on fire. She looked away, taking great care to adjust the blanket and avoid his eyes. “Don’t be silly, Mitch, you’re imagining things. I didn’t even touch your arm—”
He squatted and took her chin firmly in hand, forcing her to look him in the eye. “Don’t, Charity. Don’t start our marriage out with a lie. No more lies. Just truth. Do you understand?”
The air thinned in her throat. “Our … marriage?”
His eyes searched hers for a brief moment, then strayed to her lips. “If you say yes.”
“M-marry you?” Her heart stopped, then commenced thudding in her chest.
His eyes locked on hers as he slowly brought her hand to his mouth and kissed it. He eased from his squatting position to his knees. “That’s not an answer,” he whispered. He pressed his lips to her palm, causing warmth to fan through her. “Will you marry me?”
She swallowed hard, guilt colliding with joy. “Oh, Mitch … are you … are you sure?”
A crooked smile tilted his mouth. “Still not an answer.”
She sucked in a deep breath. Guilt won out. “But why? Why would you do this?”
His smile faded as he slowly rose to his feet. He released a weighty breath and threaded his fingers through his hair. “Because I’m not going to let you go through this alone.”
She chewed on her thumbnail and glanced up. “Is … is that all?”
He studied her through narrow lids. “No, that’s not all. We’re good friends.”
“Oh.” She tilted her head and gave him a shy look, allowing for a slow sweep of lashes. “Only friends? Nothing more?”
He laughed and turned to grab a fresh dress from her suitcase. He threw it at her, heating her with a wicked grin. “Yeah, there’s more. Because you’re nothing but trouble, little girl, and somebody’s got to take care of you. Here, put this on. That one looks like you slept in it.” He started for the door.
“But wait … I mean, do you …”
He paused, not bothering to turn around. “Do I love you?”
Her heart constricted. “Yes,” she whispered. “Do you?”
His shoulders slumped a fraction of an inch, and she saw his head dip, as if deep in thought. It seemed an eternity as she waited, daring not to breathe lest she miss his reply.
His back finally heaved with a quiet sigh. “God help me, I do,” he whispered.
The relief rushed from her lungs and she closed her eyes. Thank you, God.
He opened his cabin door. “Get dressed. I’ll be back in fifteen minutes.”
He turned, hands slung low on his hips. “Yeah?”
She scrunched her nose. “I’ll marry you, I guess.”
He grinned. “Thanks.”
The following proposal with a twist is from Autumn Rains by Myra Johnson. Valerie has just told Healy she is unable to have children of her own after the tragic accident when her first husband was killed.
He knelt at her feet and enveloped her in his strong arms while she gave in to her grief all over again. When her tears subsided, he pressed her hands between his own. “My precious Valerie,” he said, his eyes filled with tenderness, “if you thought telling me this would change my feelings for you. . .”
She sucked in her breath, both anxious and terrified to hear his next words.
Healy’s voice grew husky. “At this moment my feelings for you are deeper and stronger than they’ve ever been. You are the bravest, most loving woman I have ever known or ever hope to know.”
“Oh, Healy, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.” She pressed her face against the collar of his soft flannel shirt and twined her fingers through his hair.
“You have nothing to be sorry for.” He drew her once again into his sheltering embrace. Then his body stiffened, and his tone became tentative as he added, “Unless this is your way of saying you want me out of your life.”
She pushed him to arm’s length but kept her hands locked around his neck. “That’s the last thing I’d ever say to you, Healy Ferguson.” Her chest ached, her heart pulsed. “Healy, if you’ll have me, I want to spend the rest of my life showing you how much I love you. I want to be your wife.”
Healy recoiled as if she had punched him in the belly. He sputtered, fumbled for words, raked a trembling hand through his hair. “Hey, I know I missed out on a lot while I was in the slammer, but I thought the guy still did the proposing. Anyway,” he added with a chuckle and a downward glance, “I’m the one on my knees here.”
Valerie looked at him with puzzled amusement. “In case you haven’t noticed, this is the twenty-first century. Not that I’d exactly call myself a women’s libber, but I have learned how to ask for what I want.” She tapped her toe with mock impatience. “Now, is that a yes, or a no?”
With a crooked smile he lifted her left hand and caressed her fingers. Abruptly he stopped and held her hand toward the amber glow of the porch light. His brows knitted. “You’re not wearing Tom’s rings. I hadn’t noticed before. When did you take them off?”
With a tender sigh, she thought back to the day she’d said her final good-byes to Tom and the baby she would never hold in her arms. “A few weeks ago, when I realized how desperately I wanted to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“But are you absolutely sure? You and Tom, you had so much—”
“Tom was my first love. Yes, what we had was amazing and wonderful, and it can never be replaced.” A tear slipped down her cheek. “But the love I feel for you, though different, is equally strong. And I think I can love you better for having loved Tom. . .and for knowing how much Tom loved us both.”
Speechless, his own depth of passion shining in his eyes, Healy drew her ring finger to his lips and kissed it. She caressed his face with the palm of her hand before brushing away a streak of dampness from his cheek. She cast him an expectant glance. “You still haven’t said yes to my proposal.”
“Yes,” he said in an explosion of laughter and tears. “Yes, yes, yes!”
From Stealing Jake by Pam Hillman
Jake’s lazy gaze met hers across the sea of children milling about the room. He gave her a lopsided smile. Warmth that had nothing to do with the overheated room surged through her. She’d barely seen him in the last couple of days. He’d gone with Smitty to take Sharp, Gibbons, and the rest of his goons to Chicago, and she’d been helping get all the children settled in at the orphanage. There’d been no time for anything—
He moved, making his way toward her, his green-eyed gaze intent on hers. Livy held her breath. When he reached her side, he didn’t even pause. He laced his fingers in hers and led her from the room. Her heart pounded so loud, she feared the entire gathering heard it.
He pulled her into the privacy of the kitchen, shut the door, and looped his arms around her waist. She shivered at his touch and rested her hands on his shoulders.
Sighing, she traced a cut along his jaw. The bruises were fading, the cuts healing. Her heart flipped alarmingly at the thought that she’d almost lost him.
Thank you, Lord, for keeping him safe.
A tiny smile kicked up one side of his mouth. “Light-fingered Livy O’Brien, huh?”
Livy swatted him on the arm, her face flaming. “I’ll never hear the end of that, will I?”
“Nope. Probably not.”
Jake sobered, tilting her chin, his eyes capturing and holding her gaze. “Livy, I don’t care who you were before you came to Chestnut. I know who you are now, and that’s the Livy O’Brien I love.”
“I love you, too.” Livy’s breath hitched, and she couldn’t hold the tears at bay. “I never dreamed I would fall in love, or that anyone would ever love me back.”
Jake cupped her face in both hands, wiping away her tears with his thumbs. Then he drew her forward, tilting her face to meet his. His kiss melted her heart, and left her longing for more.
He rested his forehead against hers, and she let herself drown in the soft, tender look in his green eyes. “You stole my heart the first day I met you,” he whispered. “Will you marry me?”
“Yes. Oh yes.”
Her fingers, light as a butterfly’s touch, tangled themselves in his hair and pulled him to her.
Okay, Mary Connealy sent me 4 (FOUR) marriage proposals from her books, and I had a really hard time picking just one. What was she thinking, making me choose? Just because she couldn’t. Sheesh! Honestly, just go buy all her books, and read until you get to the marriage proposals. Sometimes you don’t have to read far.
Ethan proposing to Audra in In Too Deep by Mary Connealy
Ethan pulled his hat out of Maggie’s hands and she screamed to make a man’s ears bleed while she grabbed at it, trying to get it back.
“What’s she so riled up about?” Ethan looked with horror at Maggie while he put his hat on.
“She seems partial to you, Ethan,” Rafe said.
The screaming went on and Seth got up. "I'll take her."
Audra felt all eyes turn to her. Except Maggie who was trying to scale Ethan's body, screaming all the while.
The pressure built, the silence—not counting the screaming—stretched.
Julia’s dislike of Seth.
The need to get Maggie somewhere safer.
The sick knowledge that her father would not welcome her home and might in fact sell her off again.
The wrongness of kicking two men out of their home.
Ethan’s handsome face.
Audra caught herself. She hadn’t meant to include that in her list of reasons she felt forced to make a choice.
No money. No home. No rest. No real choice.
At least Ethan wouldn’t yell at her. That mindless grin on his face had the redeeming quality of being a quiet shortcoming.
Her wobbly backbone bent under the pressure. “If you’ll have me, Ethan, I’ll marry you.”
Ethan got a look in his eyes like a scared calf at branding time. She wondered if he’d start kicking and bawling. She had a sudden image of herself twirling a loop of rope over her head and lassoing herself a husband.
Then his fear faded. He smiled and shrugged as if she’d asked him if he wanted a cup of coffee, and said, “Okay, why not? I don’t want to sleep in the bunkhouse.”
It was so far from the romantic proposal of a girl's dreams that Audra was glad she didn’t carry a loaded shotgun.
She might've started blasting.
And from “YULE DIE,” a novella by Debby Giusti, published in CHRISTMAS PERIL
“I don’t want this to end, Callie.” He rubbed his fingers over hers. “I want every day to be Christmas. Not the hostage part, of course, but being together. I want to see you tomorrow and the next day and the next. I want to call you from work and tell you how my day went when my shift’s over. I want to share birthdays and holidays and go to church with you every Sunday.”
Her head swirled and she wanted to laugh with joy. “Aren’t you moving a little fast, Officer Petrecelli?”
“Hmmm? Maybe. But who knows what the future holds?”
A life together was her dream, and she was beginning to think it was Joe’s as well.
He hesitated for a moment then glanced at Robbie and his girlfriend. Callie followed his gaze. The young couple was totally occupied.
“I stopped by Lazarus House this afternoon,” Joe finally said.
He nodded. “I told Theo I’d met a very special woman. I said I didn’t deserve you, and that we must have met because of his prayers. Then I asked his forgiveness for closing him out of my life. Only he said he was the one who’d been wrong.”
Callie sighed with contentment as Joe wrapped his arm around her and drew her close. Being careful of his wounded shoulder, she snuggled into his embrace and, without hesitation, raised her lips to meet his. Their kiss was long and lingering and filled with the promise of a lifetime of Christmases to come.
The tree twinkled, bathing them in light, but it was the light of Christ, the light of a child born so long ago, that reflected in their hearts. Forgiveness and reconciliation, healing and wholeness, were all wrapped up in the Christmas message. Callie’s heart sang with joy, and in the distance she heard a joyous chorus as if the angels were singing on high: “Peace on earth. Goodwill toward men.”
So, there you have it. A smattering of real-life proposals, and a handful of fictional ones from Seeker books, all different, but all perfectly suited to the occasion.
Tell us about your proposal, or an interesting, unusual, or quirky one of someone you know, or even one from your favorite book or movie.