Watching videos of wedding proposals usually makes me smile, but a look of confusion canceled out any smile on my face when I watched a recent proposal video where a woman gets on one knee and asks for her boyfriend’s hand in marriage.
While I’m all for love and a couple choosing to take that next big step, I do not agree with a woman proposing to a man; it just doesn’t look or seem right.
Obviously, a man proposing to his partner has been the norm for a long time, but is the traditional way necessarily the right way?
The results of one study seem to suggest that there are set gender roles and expectations when it comes to who should be the one to pop the question. A group of 277 male and female undergraduate students at the University of California, Santa Cruz were surveyed on the subject of who should propose. Sixty-six percent of the students said, “they’d definitely want the man to propose marriage in their relationship,” according to Live Science. And while only 2.8 percent of women stated that they “kind of” wouldn’t mind proposing, all of the men said they were opposed to that scenario.
Before I started dating, my mom always told me to never ask a guy for his phone number (instead, give him mine if he seems interested but still hasn’t asked for it), and definitely never ask a guy out on a first date. In further conversations with her, and eventually reading between the lines, I realized that she never wanted me to be seen as desperate or too aggressive.
Of course, this was 20 years ago and things have changed. Women have become more forward in the dating scene, making the first move, taking a man out and even paying. I have no problem with a woman taking the lead, and in fact, society seems to have fun with it with such events like the Sadie Hawkins dance (a dance that promotes a girl asking a guy to the event).
Even if a woman is indifferent about the idea of proposing and could possibly have the guts to do it, I doubt many women would for fear of what others might think. Beth Montemurro, professor of sociology at Penn State University, told the New York Times that “Women don’t want to be seen as less feminine, or too sexual or coming on too strong. And there’s a concern for men about being publicly emasculated.”
Montemurro makes an excellent point about a man’s pride. I’m sure most single men would be extremely flattered if a woman approached them and expressed interest, but just because their romantic relationship started with the woman initiating it doesn’t mean he will want her to also be the one to initiate an engagement. I’m sure he would be embarrassed if he wasn’t the one who asked his girlfriend to marry him. Even worse, if she takes the reins, there’s a chance it signifies that he’s not ready for that commitment.
Some may argue that if a woman proposes then she knows what she wants and she takes matters into her own hands. That may be preferable when compared to trying to drop clues and waiting on her partner to take that leap. Still, I feel that this isn’t the best approach since I assume a man would want and would look forward to asking his partner for her hand.
Most men want to pursue a woman, including while dating, and there’s no difference when it comes to marriage. The Bible even mentions that a man should be the one to initiate a marital union:
He who finds a wife finds a good thing,
And obtains favor from the Lord. – Proverbs 18:22
I believe that the word “finds” means a man does what he can to get her, including nurturing a relationship with her and asking for her hand in marriage.
I’m not quite sure if the success of a marriage can be based on who proposes, but I know that the thought of asking my husband to marry me never crossed my mind. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t crossing the minds of more women these days.
If you choose to forgo the traditional route and get down on one knee (in your dress and heels) and propose to your boyfriend, good luck. Just make sure you are not taking away a memory from your partner that he would otherwise hold dear.