Gentlemen, there comes a time in every man’s life when he will ask himself whether he should put “the question” to the woman he has been dating for some time. If you are in this position, there are a few things we need to run through. If you are seriously considering proposing you want to get it right. Of course, I’m making a big assumption here. I’m assuming that you want your lady to say “yes”.
If yes is what you are after, read on. As Nina Callaway puts it, saying “will you marry me” is
A huge deal, and one that leaves many proposers completely tongue-tied. So practice! It might feel silly, but say the words out loud a few times. You might also write down exactly what you’re going to say, to make sure you come off as smooth and confident.
I’d just add a note of warning to that sage advice from Nina Callaway. If you are only going to use four words (will you marry me), I should skip the writing down bit, if I were you. Your intended may not be overly impressed if you can’t remember four words.
And let’s face it. Your task is made easier by the fact that you only have to remember the four words; with the right intonation the order of the words doesn’t really matter. For example, “marry me, will you?” with a rising infection on the last two words makes perfectly good sense. As does, “you will marry me?” so long as you enunciate it clearly as a question not a demand. Let’s have a look at a few more tips.
Where and When
Let’s take some advice here. Let’s ask women where and when they would like to be proposed to. Indeed, this research has been done for us. The dailymail.co.uk tells us that in:
A new survey, men should pop the question after exactly two years of dating, on a deserted beach, on Valentine’s Day…. Of the 2000 polled, one in four women… said this would be their ideal proposal situation… although it might be considered corny by some….
There are a few things to consider in this research. Call me pedantic, but unless you started dating on Valentine’s Day you cannot put the question after exactly two years on Valentine’s Day. So I think we’ve got quite a bit of room to play with on the time part of the equation.
How about the deserted beach? Deserted beaches are not easy to find. And if you do find a deserted beach it’s probably going to be early morning in the winter (and in the northern hemisphere, Valentine’s Day is in the winter) or there is a very good reason why it’s deserted.
As for Valentine’s day being your chosen day: it seems as good as any, apart from the fact that it narrows down you options to one day in a year. There may be other more suitable days for you and your future wife: Your birthday? Her birthday? Her mother’s birthday? Take your pick.
Do note that only 500 of the 2000 women polled wanted a deserted beach on Valentine’s Day after two years of dating. It was noted that 1500 of those 2000 wanted something else. Frankly, I’d view this research with a very healthy degree of skepticism.
You Need a Ring to Slip on Her Finger…
…but make sure you get it right. Those of you who know a thing or two about women will know that the ring is a big thing. No, it’s more than that. It’s hard to believe, I know, but the ring is as important to a woman as… well it’s difficult to make quite the right comparison. But imagine getting together with a few (male) friends and drinking Coke not beer. Yes, the ring is that important. And it has to be the right ring.
Thus, you have three choices. First, take away the surprise and buy the ring together before you ask her to marry you. Second, buy a ring you think she might like and use that when you propose. I really cannot recommend that option unless you have cast iron confidence of her preferences. The ammunition you will give her for future recriminations is incalculable. Third, slip something on her finger that is nothing more than a symbol of a ring, propose and shop for a ring after she says yes. It seems this option is not one that should be too highly recommended. As Theknot explains, it takes confidence:
To choose an engagement ring with no guidance from your hoped-for fiance, but if you’re not feeling bold enough to buy one on your own, that doesn’t mean you can propose empty-handed. “Proposing with no ring” was first in our survey as the biggest engagement mistake a guy can make.
It’s a difficult one. A fourth option is secretly to try and find out what she likes. You can do this by asking her friends, her mother, sisters (try her brothers but I doubt there’s much mileage there) and previous boyfriends (tread cautiously here). The choice is yours, ultimately.
Ask Her Parents for Her Hand
We are on difficult ground, again, with this one. There’s a very good chance that her parents will like it. Her dad probably did it when he asked her mom to marry him. However, you can never be quite certain. There is always a chance that her parents will see you as an old fashioned, sexist, misogynist, chauvinist, patronizing, patriarchal wannabe who needs to come into the twenty-first century. For what it’s worth, I agree with Brett and Kate McKay that:
It lets your girlfriend’s father know that you’re sincere in your intentions and a true gentleman. It’s an important tradition, a rite of passage, and a bonding experience between you and your future father-in-law. Plus, most women we asked think it’s a sweet gesture.
If you are thinking about asking the love of your life to marry you: I wish you well. When it comes down to it, proposing is an art not a science. It’s different for everyone. And that’s the way it should be. It’s part of what makes the dating game so intriguing and enjoyable.