We've all seen them: viral YouTube videos (or, I'm dating myself here, when TLC had a show -- a spin-off of "A Wedding Story" -- called "A Proposal Story") of men proposing to their girlfriends in grand manner with marching bands, dancing flash mobs, family members flown or Skyped in, celebrity help or personal films played in rented movie theaters. They're fun and utterly joyful to watch, and you have to commend these guys for putting so much planning and effort into that special moment.
There's nothing wrong and so many things right about them, but I've never wanted that.
I think just about any woman has imagined at some point (barring those who discerned religious life from an early age) how they would like -- or not like -- a man to propose to them, even if the face of the man is still hazy. I, for example, don't want to be proposed to at a sporting event, in a jewelry store (ugh, that one Zales commercial actually makes me cringe a bit), at any store or restaurant for that matter or at a giant family gathering ( for either side). Call me selfish, but -- should I be fortunate in that regard -- I've always wanted that moment to belong just to me and the man who will be my husband. Some of the most beautiful proposal stories I've heard from my now married or engaged girlfriends are the ones where the men planned something personal, yet private, whether it was on a beach, up a mountainside or in a church.
And the other day, going through my Feedly feed, was this post by Ann Voskamp, "The Real Truth about ‘Boring’ Men — and the Women who Live with Them: Redefining Boring," which I find incredibly beautiful.
In it, her sons ask how their dad proposed, and when she says it was without fanfare in a car, pulled over on the side of the road on a cold winter's night, and that he even (shockingly!) didn't drop to one knee, their immediate response is "how boring!"
Voskamp explains to her sons, however, that it isn't the proposal that makes a life, but "how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic."
She doesn't argue that romance is bad, because it isn't at all. But she goes on:
"Romance isn’t measured by how viral your proposal goes. The internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness – so don’t ever make being viral your goal.
Your goal is always to make your Christ-focus contagious – to just one person.
It’s more than just imagining some romantic proposal.
It’s a man who imagines washing puked-on sheets at 2:30 am, plunging
out a full and plugged toilet for the third time this week, and then
scraping out the crud in the bottom screen of the dishwasher — every
single night for the next 37 years without any cameras rolling or
soundtrack playing — that’s imagining true romance. ... The real romantics are the boring ones — they let another heart bore a hole deep into theirs."
I encourage you to read the whole thing.