Confession: My Husband’s Proposal Was Pretty Blah
Other people’s engagement stories always blow me away. I’ve met people who have gotten engaged on a mountaintop, during a surprise, spur-of-the-moment vacation, and while on safari. One friend was even proposed to in a funky warehouse that morphed into an after-hours party place after she said “yes.”
I love hearing those engagement stories—they can tell so much about a couple—but I usually end up feeling a twinge of jealousy when I hear a really good one. Why? I got engaged because I cried. Seriously.
Here’s how it went down: For weeks, my then-boyfriend Chris told me that he was going to make me the “best meal of my life.” He’s a chef and isn’t so into cooking at home, so I knew something was up. When the big night arrived, he whipped up an amazing four-course meal, opened a bottle of wine that I bought for him during our first year of dating, and told me how much he loved me. It was so romantic—I just knew he was going to propose. And after dessert, he…fell asleep on the couch. Womp womp.
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The next morning, I was mopey and definitely maybe a little bitchy. When Chris asked me what was up, I started bawling (so not me) and said between sobs, “I just…thought you were going to propose…(hiccup)…and I really want to marry you.” And that’s when he pulled out the ring.
Apparently, my sister had tipped him off that I was on to his original plan, so he delayed the proposal to try to outsmart me—he just hadn’t figured out what Plan B was yet. So basically, I got engaged because he felt bad. I had mussed-up hair, morning breath, and big, ugly tears rolling down my cheeks—it was hardly the stuff of rom-coms.
While Chris and I both laugh at our engagement story now, I still kind of feel like we missed our big romantic moment. We’re not big gesture people—I’d probably get mad at him if he came home with a nice piece of jewelry on a whim—but it’s nice to be on the receiving end of that kind of thing at least once. I’ve heard the same thing from other friends who got engaged in a car, on the couch at home, and in other various ordinary situations. While we were thrilled to say “yes” to great men, we all feel like we came up short in the romance department. Are we being silly?
Kind of, says marriage and family therapist Jane Greer, Ph.D. But she says that it’s normal to feel a little let down that your engagement wasn’t Sleepless in Seattle-worthy. In fact, despite all the viral videos we see, many proposals aren’t. “Women have ideas about unusual, special, or creative proposals, so sometimes if that doesn’t happen, it can be a disappointment,” she says. She points out that the proposer is often so excited to lock things down that the details of how it happens tend to get shoved aside. That’s actually really sweet when you think about it.
Since I’m apparently still a little hung up on the fact that my proposal didn’t feature a sky-writer, specially choreographed dance, or bed of roses, Greer says I should tweak my thinking and look for romance in the day-to-day stuff that Chris does for me, like watching The Bachelor and taking down the Christmas tree because I didn’t want to. That, or just create my own romantic moments for us. I mean, I’m just as capable of choreographing a dance interpretation of my love for Chris to Journey’s “Faithfully,” too. Hmm…Valentine’s Day is coming up…
I asked Chris the other day what he thought about our engagement story, and his take was the complete opposite of mine. “I love how we got engaged,” he said. “It just feels like us. Isn’t that what a proposal is supposed to be?”
Well, when he puts it that way…
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Korin Miller is a writer, SEO nerd, wife, and mom to a little one-year-old dude named Miles. Korin has worked for The Washington Post, New York Daily News, and Cosmopolitan, where she learned more than anyone ever should about sex. She has an unhealthy addiction to gifs.