So I didn’t know this was a thing, but apparently it is—March 20th is National Proposal Day. Now I know most of you reading this are married, but I’m sure you know someone who is about to propose or hoping to get proposed to! Please share this post with them. And if you are married, then you can still read, enjoy, and remember your proposal day.
We live in a society where we face constant pressure to have the best stories, the most romantic relationship, and the most likable Pinterest/Instagram-worthy moments. The pressure becomes especially noticeable when it comes to marriage proposals. A quick google search reveals pages of videos with tips and tricks on how to pop the question in the most romantic way. The pressure is intense. For a good laugh, check out the Millennial Marriage Proposal video by Jon Crist.
If you’re expecting to come to this post and find suggestions on how to have your proposal video go viral on the internet, you’ve come to the wrong place. I am going to share with you how to have the best marriage proposal ever, but it’s probably different from what you might expect.
While I am not opposed to YouTube-worthy engagement/proposal stories and videos, I think we often miss the mark on what it means to have a great proposal.
Here are six suggestions on how to have the best proposal ever.
1. Make it personal and memorable to her.
Lord-willing, this is your one and only time to propose (or to be asked), so you want to make it special. Propose in a way she will love and remember. In other words, let your proposal speak her love language.
- If she likes gifts, then make sure your proposal includes gifts (besides the ring).
- If her love language is quality time, make sure your proposal involves quality time and discussion that will be memorable to her.
- Or, if she values words of affirmation, speak or write words that show you know and cherish her.
Here’s a great example from my friends Beth and Charlie Kaye of how to make the proposal personal and special. The video is killer (YouTube-worthy – great job, Paul Bailey), but I want you to focus on the proposal itself. Charlie knew what would make Beth feel known and cherished.
2. Serve her and make this about her more than about you.
We often seek the praise and approval of others. We want to impress others, and we want to be noticed. Make sure you put her needs before your own (Philippians 2:3-4). Don’t primarily seek out the approval of other men (Galatians 1:10). For example: Unless she is a giant baseball fan, don’t propose to her at a baseball game so that you can get your face on the Jumbo-Tron. If she loves baseball and doesn’t mind getting engaged in front of 30,000 of her closest friends, then Play Ball! However, if that becomes more about you then her, then don’t strike out in planning your proposal. See what I did there?
3. Throw a post-proposal party (if you think she would want one).
Couples didn’t do these when Kristen and I got engaged, but many couples who now get engaged will set up a proposal party for close friends and family the afternoon or evening of the day you propose. If this would bless your soon-to-be-fiance, then, by all means, enlist the help of close friends and family and set up a gathering that will celebrate and encourage your relationship.
4. Beware of comparison.
Pinterest, Instagram, blogs, you name it, can all be great; but it can also cause you to compare your relationship, engagement, and wedding to others. Comparison at your engagement leads to comparison at your wedding, with your marriage, with your kids, and so on. This is a game no one ever wins. Jon Acuff wrote a (very) brief post on all the good things that happen when you compare yourself to someone else.
5. Give her the freedom to say “no.”
One of the dangers of a public, grand marriage proposal is that your girlfriend might feel the social pressure to accept your proposal since she is potentially surrounded by many strangers. As Tim Kimmel says in the post Public Marriage Proposals: You Might Want to Think Twice, “It is absolutely VITAL that a person being asked for their hand and heart in marriage feels that they are FREE to say… ‘No.’” Your life will turn out much better if she says no to your proposal rather than walk through the hurt of divorce down the road.
6. Most important: Set the Right Priorities.
Spend much more time and money on being a great boyfriend than on having the most epic engagement ever. You want her to be more excited about the person who put the ring on her finger than the size of the rock or the story of how it got there. Prepare for marriage, honor and serve her, put her needs before your own, and work on your relationship with Christ.
One of the main reasons why I wrote Ready or Knot? was to help couples prepare well for marriage. I want you to have a great proposal and wedding day, but I care much more about your relationship and marriage.
The story of how Kristen and I got engaged is epic in our minds. It was personal, significant to her, reflected our personalities, and involved surprise. But the main reason we love it is because all our friends and family were fully on board with our future together. Our proposal has no epic, viral YouTube video, but we love sharing our engagement story. I’m so grateful to call Kristen my bride. In my mind, our proposal will always be the best proposal ever, because of who I got to marry and because I know she loves the man who put the ring on her finger.
I truly hope you have the best proposal ever. The key to this is having the best relationship, with both Christ and your spouse-to-be. I hope 50 years down the road she is more willing to brag about having the best husband ever, rather than the best proposal ever.
What’s your favorite part of your proposal story?