Should A Woman Ever Propose To A Man?

April 18, 2011  |  

A short while ago I wrote How To Let A Man Be A Man. And that article created much debate here on Madame Noire. So for this article I wanted to revisit one of the things I wrote about- letting a man propose.

As seen from the comments submitted on How To Let A man Be A Man, particularly from male commenters on Madame Noire, it is quite obvious that many young black men have adopted a different set of values and gender roles when compared to previous generations. Do I think that’s a good thing? Absolutely not.

We have young men that don’t know how to be men. And we have young women who don’t know how to recognize a real man. Plus we have the highest rate young men coming from fatherless homes and young women taking on single motherhood. So it makes me wonder if all these things will eventually drive many young black women to believe that they must, among other things, now desperately ask a man for his hand in marriage if they want to have any chance at securing a traditional family unit.

Ladies, while I think it’s perfectly fine for a woman to bring up the subject of marriage, and highly advisable for a couple to discuss the topic of marriage before a proposal, I want to reiterate that it is the man’s duty to get down on one knee and ask for your hand in marriage. Ladies, don’t believe any hype that a man tries to sell you about us being “equals” and how “a woman can propose too.” A real man wants the honor of getting down on his knee and asking his woman to marry him. A real man does not want you to take that away from him.

I stand behind all the things I wrote in How To Let A Man Be A Man– particularly the marriage proposal part. In fact, I had discussions with male friends (married and single) and they all agreed that every bit of advice that I offered in that article was on point. Furthermore, one of my married male friends even remarked that the requirements in How To Let A Man Be A Man were actually the “bare minimum on what women should expect from men” and that I was “setting the bar pretty low for men.”

With all that being stated, I now want to ask all you ladies a couple questions:

Do you think there’s anything wrong with a woman proposing to a man?

Would you ever propose to your boyfriend if he wasn’t taking the initiative to propose to you?

Sound off.

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  • Rykimaruh

    I dunno, it feels like men getting proposed are the women in the relationship…while women proposing are the men…hurts our manhood…

  • Truety

    I found this subject during a search because I recently proposed to my boyfriend.
    I would like to add my story and experience thus far to show that EACH and
    every one needs to evaluate their OWN relationship to determine if the woman
    proposing is right or better for THEIR RELATIONSHIP. For the Bible quoters, I
    am a Bible reading, church going, praying and fasting Christian. When I read
    the Book of Ruth, I see that based on HER situation Ruth proposed to Boaz, with
    the help of Naomi who also evaluated Ruth’s situation in order that in the end
    Ruth was living as Godly life as a wife.

    Some type of men may feel emasculated, however other type of men may feel
    relief and flattered because they simply did not know how to go about it or
    needed that push. In my case my boyfriend is the type that he may need a nudge
    or straight push (he is admittedly stubborn) and it’s like blinders are taken
    or the go button is pushed. He goes full speed ahead and as he says cements the
    deal and do what he needs to do.

    We met online, I sent him a small line and after reading my profile and
    becoming very interested he responded with a small book (he wrote a lot about
    himself). I was busy and didn’t respond for days, but he kept writing until I
    did. If according to this article I let a man be a man, clicked his profile and
    hope he contacted me, me have never met and be engaged today. When we met in
    person we immediately had chemistry and so much in common, including our
    Christian faith. However, after being single for many years I had an emotional
    wall up, that I asked him to bear with me as I worked through because I really
    like him. That wall would come back to haunt me when I was ready to be engaged
    and it was what caused him pause. Knowing this was a part of my relationship
    help me evaluate my decision to eventually propose to him.

    The great thing about meeting online is that we only connect and meet if we
    have things in common and the same goals. My boyfriend and I both wanted to
    find someone to marry as we put in our profile. So marriage was ALWAYS talked
    about from the beginning. He told me he loved my after 6 weeks and he asked me
    to look at engagement rings after 3 months and he’d given me the key to his
    house. When I proposed it had been 1.5 year since we met and 1 year since we
    looked at engagement rings. My boyfriend always talks in terms of us and
    frequently calls me his fiance, until I asked him to stop when I notice people
    looking at my bare finger, though he occasionally slipped and if asked he still
    says his fiance. To this day I can’t recall him ever calling me his girlfriend.

    However, every time we discussed actually getting engaged or married my
    boyfriend had a different reason why he paused or slowed down. Even after we
    went to pre engagement counseling. We went through most 99%questions and were
    okay, but he focused on the ones we didn’t fully agree on and that was the
    reason for his pause. I would ask if those were reasons that he would not
    propose and if the means we would not marry and he would never say no. Eventually,
    I just felt his actions need to match his words and we needed to stop wasting
    time. I didn’t want him to do something he didn’t want to do, but it wasn’t
    because he always affirmed even to the day before I asked that he wanted to
    marry me. I figured I just needed to get us past that hump and I planned a
    heartfelt and private proposal. He was surprised, thought I was joking at first
    and said a man should ask a woman, then he said “Yes, yes to you yes of
    course”. He said he was in awe, I asked in a good or bad way, he when in
    awe it is in a good way.

    We just enjoyed each other company and said I love you over and over for hours.
    I know it is not traditional so I will wait for him to be ready to tell people,
    which I assume will be after he proposes back to me. However, when he is ready
    will announce it. After I propose I did tell two very close people to me, one
    was ecstatic and congratulated me the other was like oh no, but said they are
    happy that I am happy. That is what is important are WE happy and WE are happy
    and my boyfriend can still propose and he will know despite my initial wall I
    will say yes and we can marry. After the proposal it was like we just met, my
    boyfriend calls me and leaves me I Iove you messages and he hugs me so much

    For me the choice was do I wait for him and go crazy and become
    resentful or threaten to leave which was totally opposite of what WE ultimately
    wanted although how we get there was rocky or do I go full speed in the loving
    and caring direction of what We wanted. I decided it is crazy to do the
    opposite of what I wanted, what WE wanted. So I did the conventional, yet what
    seemed so right for us and ask him to marry me?

    End result is that I am engaged, not waiting, not broken
    up/single, and happy 🙂 I could care less what someone thinks about how it
    happened and if it fit into some traditional box when everything all other
    kinds of gender roles are changing and being accepted.

    So again evaluate your own situation and relationship and if you have a man
    that you know (and you should know or you should not be considering marriage)
    will absolutely not like you proposing and it may cause problems in the
    relationship, then don’t do it. But if you are in a relationship where you know
    that your man is open to it, may feel more endeared to you and feel the need to
    then do what he needs to do and it will improve or move the relationship to the
    next level than do it. And for the Bible quotes, God is not going to condemn
    you for being in the wonderful institute of marriage because you asked the man
    to marry you. As one poster wrote leading is managing and doing what is in the
    best interest of the most, which include consulting and including the wife not
    dictating and this can be done regardless to who proposed.

  • Anonymous21913

    I actually proposed to my man. It’s not that I’m desperate or anything but i feel like its no one responsibility to step up and ask “Will You Marry Me?”. I am truly in love with my man and i would like to spend the rest of my life with him. Yes, we talked about marriage but didn’t know if or when we should ask the question. I actually waited for our 1 year anniversary to propose to him. Yes i hear it from my father because he is old school but all i can say tell him is a female has rights just as a male. I love him and that’s all that matters. Just hope everything work out for the best.

  • Clif

    Who says that proposing to a woman makes you a man? I know plenty men who have proposed to their wives but dont want to work, cook, clean, or take care of their family at all.
    Woman want to grow, want the right to vote as men, be treated as equals, wear pants, and work.. but then when it comes to marriage, all of a sudden, lets go back to how things used to be?
    I dont feel there’s anything wrong with a woman proposing to a man… it doesnt mean you’re desperate.
    When a man proposes to a women.. does that mean he’s desperate too? What if he’s ready and the woman isnt?.. now he’s waiting for her. What is she supposed to do.. say, “hey, im ready.. you cant propose now”..?
    Im pretty sure that would ruin the whole experience.
    Women want a confident, strong man.. a man that can take charge. But men also want a woman that confident, self sufficient, and knows what she wants from life. So my thing is, PROPOSING IS NO ONES RESPONSIBILITY ANYMORE. This is a new era, and if you want cop out to “tradition”.. then women, stop voting, stop wearing pants, and be stay home wives.. as per “tradition”. Its all or nothing, you either want to be seen as equals or you dont. And to me, being equals mean we HAVE THE RIGHT TO, and share the same responsibilities and values of life. IN ALL ASPECTS.

    • Jassi

      This is the best way I have seen a response to this subject thus far.  You are right, it is NO ONE PERSONS RESPONSIBILITY.  There are some men that are ready and woman are not.  I undestand that a man may want to be financially stable and take on as head of household, but no one says that when the woman asks you to marry them, that it has to be done right away.  I have no problem with asking a man that I TRULY love and I know LOVES me.  I spoke about this with my boyfriend and he said he would feel no less of a man if a woman proposed to him, if he loves her, nothing makes it different.  I keep seeing people say, its pressuring a man to say YES and it makes the woman look desperate. REALLY? If a man does not want to get married all he has to say is NO.  It is a little heartbreaking and embarrassing, but at least you know how he feels, that way you can decide your plans from there.  Some men are ok with playing house (and women too) for a huge amount of years without getting married.  How would some of you women feel if your dream is to get married and the man you love and want to marry does not want to get married or havent even asked you after a certain amount of years, are you just gonna wait on him? Well guess what, wait on him, he does not plan on it.  I’m so tired of people always wanting to go back to the Bible and tradition.  Please stop it! I know for a fact half of the responders on this blog probably do not even read the bible, go to church, or follow half of the morals in the bible.  Let alone probably sin everyday, so please leave the Bible out of it.

      Great comment CLIF.

  • Diamond in the Ruff

    This is an excellent topic… I would never ask a man to marry me. How could I lower my standards or myself in that way. I have children (girls and boys) and I definately wouldnt want to teach them the opposite of the biblical instructions from our GOD. I had an old boyfriend who tried that with me…telling me I had to ask but he wanted to get married. Was he brain dead? I dont know… but biblically it states " A man that finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor of the LORD". I would not dare step out of those boundaries at any time. A man know who he loves, adores and who he cant spend the rest of his life with out. He knows before the woman does. I will have to allow him to have his manhood. Question remains…how long do you stay with a man who will not propose after many years? I believe in letting things take their course but seriously…how long?

  • reginarenee

    in the book of Good News our father in heaven say a man who find a wife finds a good thing! not a women!

  • Smiley

    Hell no i think thats a man job too do..I mean really a woman gonna buy her own wedding ring thats crazy….but theres some out there thats do thats im not judgeing no one my opinon hell until a man (the rite one) proposes to me hell i be unmarried to the day i die

  • BritNNY

    I think when a man is ready for marriage he will propose period. If he is asked and feels cornered he may just say yes.. because he feels like he has to… but utimately he will resent the woman for taking that lead, those feelings may not manifest right away, it maybe 5 years, 10 years down the road but it will come forth, in some form or fashion, those feeling will surface. African American men are not allowed to demonstrate their kingship in so many places..why should we take this away from them as well.. Let a man be a man. If he want to marry you he will let you know, just my opinion.

    • Truety

      One marriage proposal from a man does not make a man, just like one marriage proposal by a woman does not make less a woman or a desperate one, just in love.

  • Latisha

    wow that's only mildly ignorant…

  • Cathy

    I would NEVER propose to my boyfriend….. WTF ??? Am I buying my own ring next ??? WHAT IS HE DOING ???Times have changed, but somethings should stay the same and this is one of those things… call me old school, but I believe in letting a man be a man. The man waiting on me to propose to him will be waiting forever. Let a man have something, gessh ! Yes ladies I know we can do it all and are holding it down, but you start taking this away from men and it's going to be complete anarchy !

    • dave

      Cathy – Men getting equal respect and treatment? That’s right! ANARCHY!

  • QualityElement2011

    Question of the day do you even have a man is what I would like to know because a lot of these other reader have some good point of view and your acting like every last one of them is wrong acting like your Maya Angelo Phenomenal woman I bet you’re a lonely woman I was always told by old timer people always have the best advised about relationships sometimes is when there all alone and I bet 100% that you so do everyone on her a favor shut up

  • lol

    that guy's hair was bananas.

  • justme

    To each it's own!!

    My answer is no, but I can understand why some women do. I love my man and I know he loves me. I move a little more quicker than him in some things and my timing is often faster than his. If I proposed I know he would accept and I would be saying, I'm tired of waiting on you, so let's get this done.

    But I would be bothered for the rest of my life thinking " Damn, he couldn't even propose, I had to take the lead on that. Would he ever have decided to do it if I didn't propose?" I would be thinking thoughts like that for a while.

    I'm ready to walk down the aisle tomorrow and my other half is a little slower than me in that line of thinking, but I refuse to propose. He is the man, he is the one to lead this household, so until he is ready, I'ma STFU and let him lead!

  • Charity Glover

    I believe roles were put in place to bring balance. There are too many women that are being the "man" in the relationship because that's all they know. You can still be an independent woman…a lady w/o having to be the initiator in the relationship. You have to let a man be a man. It is his job to love, protect and provide for his family and a woman knows how to let him do that without having lost her independence. I am a traditional woman…however, i do speak my mind and my boyfriend is just as traditional, but the one thing we value more is respect. Respect is the highest form of love one can give. With that said…respect the man enough to let him make the proposal.

  • Black and proud

    "Never ask a question you don’t already know the answer to.

    Never want something more than it wants you back.

    Desperation makes the worst cologne. And though these seem to be romantic in nature they work in almost every situation that involves human beings." -Kalani Perry

  • Black and proud

    Should a woman ever propose to a man? Does desperation make a stinking cologne?

  • Alley6521

    I hate when people give generalizations. Every couple is different. If proposing is a no-no, don't do it. If someone else wants to do so, then let them. It's not illegal. If it doesn't work out, that's life. "/

    • seek2027

      True that i believe it depends on where the couple is at in there relationship i have seen it when the guy is thinking about doing it but the woman beat him to the punch

  • Christie_love

    Hell No! I still believe that is a man’s duty to propose to a woman for marriage. I can not get with that feminist movement that its ok for a woman to propose to a man. God created a man to be the head of his household for a reason. My father proposed to my mother and their marriage lasted nearly twenty seven years until his death.

  • you guys must've got this idea off of love and hip hop…

    Walmart Giving Back After Laying Off Over 50,000 People.. $1,000 Giftcards – I Grab 2 of Them..LOL

    • NM817

      Love and Hip Hop was definitely the inspiration for my article.

      Good points doc! I definitely believe that you rob your man of the opportunity of really being the man by letting him propose on his terms. You also cheat yourself out of knowing for sure that he's ready to get married.

    • @lady_t_04

      I caught that episode of Love and Hip Hop last night. My stomach was in knots for her. She's crying, begging him to marry her, and Jim Jones has this blank expression on his face. She was conflicted herself, but proposed anyway. I was like….NO!

  • CutieReppinNY

    Don't mind these people, most of them are Godless, so it's just the devil in them talking.

  • Cat

    A man should take the initiative to propose marriage…. generally speaking, after being in a relationship for some time, most (not ALL) women have their mind on marriage. If he hasn't asked after a while, maybe his mind isn't on it….

  • theBlackPocahontas

    First of all your statement is UNTRUE. Black women didn't not participate in large numbers in that feminist movement non sense. Overall women want to be treated with respect. They want to be seen as more than s someone who can take care of your ashy little babies and clean your house.

    They wanted a level of independence that can still be had within a relationship, especially a marriage.

    So NO, your wrong in your assertion. And don't allow a small subset of women who have far different ideas about gender roles to define entire group of people.

    • Camile

      Why do the babies have to be ashy lol? My baby is smooth. But anyway, I believe gender roles are needed and important. My daughter came out girly from birth. She’s only one and leans toward all things feminine from the way she crosses her legs, plays and seeks her father’s approval when she has on something pretty. I did NOT teach her that. Women are just softer. We think differently and we feel differently. That’s doesn’t make us weaker or incompetent but it does make is different and that will never, ever change no matter how much the world evolves. Some situation (marriage for example) work better when the man pursues the woman and allows her to feel as if she’s valuable to him. Some may disagree but I’ve seen it where the woman takes “initiative”. Makes the first move, directs the guy. She ends up doing that their ENTIRE relationship. And some women may be fine with that but most will wonder and be shocked as to why their man won’t stand up!

  • FeministTruth

    What I find interesting is this idea of a "real man." I'm not sure what that even means in the 21st century. I think we would first need to define that before we say things like "it is the man's job to propose." This is completely unfounded. And for those of you who believe in tradition, please remember it is tradition that keeps people oppressed. Marriage, in the traditional sense, is an institution put and kept in place to oppress and keep women subservient. So to argue that tradition would have a "real man" propose to a woman is just feeding into that oppressive institution. I'm not saying I would propose to a man either, but I question why I and so many other women feel this way. Gender roles are being reevaluated because they NEEDED to be reevaluated. This is one that I believe should also be reevaluated. I also find it very interesting, and quite odd, that a female doctor would be so non-progressive on a topic like this.

    • Diamond in the Ruff

      I believe the writer is coming from a biblical stand point bc it says "A man that finds a wife, finds a good thing and obtains favor of the LORD". There are some things that need not be touched and this is one of them.

  • InnocentTruth

    Why are women trying to define what manhood is? Women cannot define manhood because they are not a man! I don't like the idea of a female writer discussing issues of black manhood. How can she know what goes throughout the mind of young black men? You cannot take 50 comments from men on this website and apply it to all black men. If you want to discuss manhood this website should have prompted a male author to address this issue. I'm more interested in why females want men to maintain traditional roles but don't adhere to those roles themselves!

    • @lady_t_04

      My Pastor once said that the husband should be the head of the household, but added that the roots of the word mean "to manage" such as in running an estate and "to take care of". If a man is going to take care of me (not just economically, but guard my heart, love my body, help when I am tired, love my family, etc), then I will definitely do the same for him and will GLADLY submit in the traditional/biblical sense. A man who does this is at his core unselfish. As the head of the household, he will consider the impact that his decisions, seek out his wife for advise and decide in a way that makes the most sense for the benefit of the many. In short, he will work hard to make sure the home and everyone in it are taken care of. If it seems that women are reluctant to maintain traditional roles, then maybe, it is because they have only dealt with men do not act in a way that would allow them to do so. I'm not trying to bash men, and I recognize that some of us women would not know a good man if he sat on us. I'm just offering my two cents.

      • Crystal

        This is the BEST way I've ever seen this explained. Kudos to you sis!

  • @lady_t_04

    I agree with the statement that a couple should discuss marriage when it makes sense, but I'm not proposing to a man. First, I wouldn't feel comfortable doing that. Call me old fashioned, but my father always told me that women should make their interest known in a subtle way and definitely have standards, but women don't pursue men. Further, my man would want to propose. He'd want to setup the date, time, setting, involvement our family and friends…all of that. He'd take pride in surprising me. Now that I think about it, I am not sure that how he would react if I proposed. I think that he would be perplexed (I'm visualizing him now looking at me, shaking his head).

  • lenyara

    h*ll to the No. i would never propose to a guy because it not only shows my insecurities but exposes my desperation. yes, times have changed but there are some issues that are definately not up for compromise. To make it all worse, if a woman is ever forced to go down on one knee then the guy doesnt deserve her. Truth be told, he will take her and her soul for a ride. It's ok to give suttle hints about marriage but not to pop the question. Your article rocks Phoenyx – spot on!

    • Sioban

      completely dissagree!!!!!    I think it shows insecurities if you feel like you want to get married but WAIT on the man… Seriously, why???   Desperation for WHAT??? that is such an old school way of thought.

    • dave

      Lenyara – You are NOT alone! Many women think that the man MUST expose HIS desperation and that it is FINE for the man to get down on his knee ( she doesn’t deserve him?) and that it should be the women who takes the man and his soul for a ride. Lots of women really believe that!

    • Sherrie

      Yes, it does show your insecurities to propose…same as it shows his when he does. Somebody has to take that step to put it out there, officially, that they want to spend their life with the other person. Why does that have to be the man? I think it depends on the couple.

  • Mizz.Anon

    Author I completely agree with every point you made in the original article and this one alike. I applaud you standing by your word. However, I follow the institution of marriage under a biblical sense, with the man being head of household, and would never want to try and reverse those roles. But I feel like woman on there independent steeze, may feel different, and they may not believe in traditional courtship or Marriage but to each his/her own.

    • theBlackPocahontas

      STOP making assumptions especially based on a small group of women who have went overboard. Independent does not mean being a man.

      It means being respected and acknowledged for contributions outside of simply wife, mother and maid. Women work now. They can take care of themselves now. They are educated now. Doesn't mean that a man can't be a man but if he feels that this only consists of dominating his woman, then there is a problem

  • Rastaman

    Go for yours ladies!!
    Who defines these roles anyhow and why are they set in stone?
    Women can fight in wars, go into space, own succesful businesses but God forbid they ask a man to marry them, you have now infringed on a man’s role. Civilization is now doomed!! SMDH.
    Gender roles have been constantly re-defined throughout the history of humanity, it was once men who wore wigs, high heels and makeup in the the 16th century and guess what civilization as we know never seem to falter. Maybe if more women made the decision on whether they wanted to get married rather than waited on some man to ask them they would a lot happier about whatever marital status they had.

    Whenever you cede power/responsibility to another you effectively lose that power. Evolution is about adaptability, those that do not adapt will eventually disappear.

    • theBlackPocahontas

      name me 5 people you know where this happened and the couple has been married any length of time. I'll wait

      • Sioban

        well, I can name one…ME!!!! I proposed on Leap Year and it was AWESOME.  Nothing wrong with it at all.   We have now been together for 10 years!!! anyone who thinks that its not a good idea should go back to the stone ages… SERIOUSLY>>>