When my husband proposed to me, I was blown away. We hadn’t been dating for two years yet and I’d always thought that I’d date a guy for at least that long before we got engaged. We hadn’t looked at rings and I was surprised that he was able to keep his plans a secret from everyone we knew. The proposal was a treasure hunt and I was unnerved that he’d hidden a huge pink & green gift bag holding the first “clue” inside in my apartment (in my bedroom!) without my knowledge for more than a week.
You know what wasn’t surprising about his proposal? The fact that he wanted to marry me. I knew that already.
I thought about that while listening to Brandy’s most recent Breakfast Club interview. The singer has not been shy at all about her desire to marry her boyfriend A&R producer, Ryan Press. In fact, in May of this year she told Ebony magazine, “I wish we were engaged. He’s taking a little long on the ring side of things, but I’m patient.” A few months ago she asked Sister2Sister magazine readers to “keep your fingers crossed for sometime soon I will be engaged.” And when the Breakfast Club asked her about a possible engagement, she said “a ring is coming”.
Brandy’s openness about wanting to be engaged has definitely drawn criticism and most are painting her as thirsty, desperate, clingy and co-dependent. But why? Because she knows she wants to marry her boyfriend and is giddy about a possible proposal?
This isn’t to defend Brandy per say. Maybe she is desperate. She obviously doesn’t realize that one interview on the subject is enough because the advent of the internet means five hundred blogs will repost one source. Interviewers keep baiting her by asking about her love life and she remains candid and continues to talk about it.
But I think her brazen honesty about what she wants is something other women should try in their own going-nowhere relationships. Brandy and Ryan have reportedly been dating for more than two years. They’re both self-sufficient adults. If they’re not dating with the intention to get married — and they both intend to be married to someone some day — then what are they doing? I can only assume that the two have discussed getting married and now she is just (publicly) anticipating the proposal. In that case, it’s different, but not desperate.
In fact, if Brandy were a guy telling the Breakfast Club that “it’s a great thing when you’re in love with someone and you’re connected. You want to share your life with them” then panties would be all over the blogosphere. But because she’s a woman who is open about her desire to marry her man then she is labeled a “thirst-bucket”. Why is that?
It’s okay for a woman to be confident that she is marriage material and that her boyfriend loves her and wants to marry her even if she isn’t engaged yet. In fact, I would hope that a woman does know that before she gets engaged. Why should the fact that a man wants to marry you be a surprise? This isn’t some ridiculous chick flick. In real life, it makes sense for marriage minded adults to date intentionally. I once heard a guy say, “[seriously] dating someone without the intention to marry her is like going to the grocery store without any money.” I agree with that. If you’re in a serious relationship with a man, it’s not wrong to have the conversations that result in the expectation that he wants to marry you, just like he should be able to go out and secretly get a ring because he expects you want to marry him too.
The problem is so many women allow men to get serious with them without being serious about them. A woman is admonished not to “pressure” him or “rush” him lest she “scare him away” as though what she wants in the relationship doesn’t matter. Why aren’t men made to feel like dragging their feet indefinitely might scare women away? If it’s okay for a man not to want to get married then it’s okay for a woman to want to get married. Why are women always the ones who are supposed to relax and “wait it out”? Why aren’t men encouraged to man up and commit?
It’s hilarious that women will eat up articles describing “365 Ways To Know Your Boyfriend Wants To Marry You” but if another woman already knows her ring is on the way then she’s the object of scorn and ridicule. Maybe some women aren’t interested in just dating a guy forever, living with him for years, and popping out his babies. Maybe some women desire to move beyond “wifey” to “wife”. Maybe some women would much rather scare the wimp away and be alone for a few minutes than be dragged on for years by the same guy without ever getting married.
Maybe some women are justifiably confident that he’s going to pop the question eventually….and if you asked their boyfriends, they’d tell you the first clue in her Treasure Hunt proposal is already hidden in her bedroom.