LOUISE: The Truth About Marriage Proposals

Written by Louise Tucker Jones in the January 2014 Issue

FlowersRecently a young man asked me how my husband proposed to me, assuming it would be an “over-the-top” event with marriage proposals so elaborate today. My response: “Carl? Propose? Carl never proposed! At least not that I remember.” And it wasn’t because this handsome guy was a bit egotistical in his younger years, though in fact, he was. No, when Carl told me he loved me, he wasn’t referring to a single day or night. He wasn’t telling me something superficial to see how far that would get him. He was saying, “I love you now; I will love you forever. You have my heart for eternity.”

So who needed a proposal when the facts were clear? We were in love and committed to each other. Of course, marriage would follow! When we were dating, we often talked about what life would be like after we were married, we just never covered the question, “Will you marry me?” That actually pleases me. I liked the way Carl could almost read my mind and how safe and secure his love always made me feel. I loved reading letters from him while in the U. S. Army that told me I was his “life and his future,” even before we were married. We didn’t know what kind of future that would be with the Vietnam War stretching out before us. Would Carl be sent to Southeast Asia? If so, would he come home to me, or would he surrender his life for our country? 

These were much more important questions than, “Will you marry me?” Especially since he already knew the answer. Of course, I would marry him. I would be beside him for the rest of our lives, though neither of us had a clue what that life would be like. We had no idea what sacrifices and compromises we would need to make for each other in coming years. We couldn’t possibly see the future, joyfully holding sweet babies in our arms or weeping beside the grave of one of our little ones. We didn’t see the disagreements that would stretch our commitment to each other when wedded bliss waned. Nor did we think on those beautiful summer and winter dating nights that one day one of us would die and leave the other to mourn that missing part of our heart forever.

I recently read an excerpt from Ann Voskamp called, “The Truth About Boring Men and the Women Who Live With Them.”  Well, I would never call Carl or our life together boring, but Ann’s thoughts are much like mine. “How a man proposes isn’t what makes him romantic. It’s how a man purposes to lay down his life that makes him romantic.” I agree. I even smiled as she described her husband cleaning up puked-on sheets at 2am or standing in line to purchase depend-size pads after she gave birth. Yep, we’ve been there. Those are the real memories of marriage.

So here we are in January, a new year, and I challenge you to look at life differently than the rest of the world. Never accept the norm when you have your own extraordinary way of doing things. Don’t live to be popular, live to be purposeful. And though I am not one to make resolutions, I would ask that you resolve to love deeper, longer, even sacrificially.

As I look back on my life, I find it interesting that I didn’t marry the young men who actually did offer marriage proposals to me. I married the one who didn’t. I married the one who offered his life, not just his love. That made all the difference.

May you find such a rich love in your own life!

4 Comments

Kriste Lee Says:
January 3rd, 2014 at 5:18 pm
Loved this story!! Thanks.

Clark Pearson Says:
January 10th, 2014 at 9:51 pm
November 1950 my girl's mom and dad were divorcing and she said she didn't want to choose who to live with. I asked if she wanted to get married and she said yes. Not a romantic proposal but the marriage lasted 60 years!

Ellen Enlow Says:
January 11th, 2014 at 12:05 am
Our marriage was like that. Good article.

Pam Taylor Says:
January 11th, 2014 at 9:34 am
Love your story. Beautiful and you know, Mike never proposed to me either!
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