17. WHAT MAKES A GOOD PROPOSAL?

(The Setting A Good Foundation Series)

Seemingly, from the inception of time to now, men have been asking women to marry them and many such situations (although not all), have resulted in a resounding YES and then a joyous celebration to create and mark the union.

Yet, the question is what exactly makes a good proposal? Is this even important to consider or is the fact that a man has proposed all that matters?

First of all, I believe that it is a man’s place to propose and not the other way round. God created men to take the lead, to pursue and I believe that it is a man’s responsibility to woo, court and propose to a woman. Anything else is downright shameful.

Having said that, as a Christian woman that subscribes to the authority of God’s Word and the principles therein, I believe that for there to be a good proposal, certain factors are necessary on the part of the guy proposing. Personally, I do not believe that I can accept a proposal if any of these factors are not present.

These are as follows:

  • FREEWILL – The proposal should be his idea completely without any pressure, whether subtly or otherwise, from me or anyone else. This should be something that he wants to do and badly/passionately, not something he feels he is obligated to do or that he is indifferent about. It should be guided always by my exceptionally high value in his eyes, that he genuinely wants me in his life forever and feels confident that this is the direction that God has led him. A BAD PROPOSAL exists where a man has done so because he felt coerced, compelled or pressured to propose. This leads me to my next point.
  • GENUINENESS – The proposal should be heartfelt. He does not have to cry but his heart should genuinely be beating with joyous excitement at the prospect of me accepting his proposal, becoming his wife and him getting to spend the rest of his life with me and the family we intend with God’s help, to build together. A BAD PROPOSAL exists where the man has a flippant view of its significance and the idea of marriage or has treated the proposal as some kind of a joke or game.
  • SINCERITY – He should take what he is about to do seriously and fully accept with sincerity, the gravity of what he is about to do, that is he is beginning the process whereby he will be making a commitment to me exclusively for life, to honour me as long as he lives. A BAD PROPOSAL exists where the man has done so insincerely and deceitfully, in that deep down, he did not want to propose but still chose to do so or he has done so without seriously and maturely considering all of the implications and ramifications.
  • HUMILITY – He should be truly humbled (as in metaphorically brought to his knees) by what he is about to do, the implications and how fortunate and blessed he would be to have me as his wife, if I were to say yes. For, he sees my high value, knows that he is undeserving of my hand in marriage, knows that God could have chosen to give me to someone else and knows all the benefits he will acquire by our union.  A BAD PROPOSAL exists where the man approaches pridefully as if he is doing the woman a great favour in proposing and where he assumes that she must say yes, as he is the prized asset for which she ought to be grateful and that she should thank her lucky stars that he is proposing.
  • APPRECIATION – He should be fully cognizant of the fact that I do not have to accept, should be appreciative of having me in his life, all that I have to offer and grateful to God if I were to choose to accept. A BAD PROPOSAL exists where the man just went through the motions, saying the words but without an ounce of real appreciation for the woman he has proposed to and the tremendous benefit of having her in his life.
  • RESPECT – He should respect me as a woman, be eager to honour me as his wife and this should be demonstrated in how he handles the proposal. The proposal should be done in a dignified manner and convey utmost respect, which reinforces the fact that he thinks the world of me and loves me. A BAD PROPOSAL exists where the manner in which the man proposed was downright disrespectful and took away from the woman’s value, self-respect and dignity.
  • ROMANCE/CONSIDERATION/THOUGHTFULNESS – Creativity is not an important factor for me, nor does the proposal have to be over the top or expensive. It doesn’t have to be public and to be quite honest, I would much rather a private proposal than a public one. Somehow, to me, a private proposal is more special and sacred. However, I would like a tinge of romance to remind me that chivalry is not dead. It can be simple, inexpensive but not boring. (I don’t do boring!) Also, I need to see that he put thought and effort into the proposal, that he took it seriously and was genuinely concerned about getting it right and pleasing me. A BAD PROPOSAL exists where it is dull, nonchalant, boring, delivered in a manner that is unromantic and where it is clear that the man did not bother himself to be inconvenienced or tried to minimize the extent to which he would be inconvenienced and did not put his best foot forward.
  • SURPRISE – This is an important factor for me. Even if I know that by God’s grace we are going to be married one day and have my suspicions that he may be thinking of popping the question, I do not want to know before hand that he is actually thinking of it or planning it. I love unpredictability when it comes to proposals. He should guard this secret well (without lying to me at any point though) and make sure that he does nothing to jeopardize the fact that he is about to propose or has been planning it. There is a certain beauty and dignity in the element of surprise which scores high points in my book and reinforces the fact that he is sincere in his intentions. A marriage was meant to be exciting and in some points, unpredictable and I don’t see why a proposal should be any different. A BAD PROPOSAL exists where there is no element of surprise, as the man has let me know that he is thinking of proposing and that he is about to propose, so much so that the actual proposal seems scripted, forced, uneventful and boring.

(Written on 14th August, 2014, added to on 29th March, 2020)

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