This is a story from a good friend of mine who wanted to explain why the question "why hasn't he proposed yet?" is really annoying. Like really.
I met my soon-to-be husband when I was 20 years old through a missions organization called Youth With A Mission (for those of you who know of YWAM *insert cliche marriage joke here*). The way we fell for each other was exactly like I had always wanted. When I like a guy, I tend to freeze up and it becomes too hard to be myself. With Adam, it was different. We became close friends through collaborating on several school projects together, and I noticed how I had never worked so well with someone before. We were continuously on the same page, and that’s how I began to fall for him. We were both passionate about telling stories through video and photography and soon we found ourselves volunteering together in India, creating videos and sharing a similar passion for uncovering the injustices we were exposed to. Our friendship grew into something deeper and a few months later Adam and I began to date. This was a big deal for both of us because it was actually the first serious relationship either of us had been in. I’m a pretty cautious person, so I wanted to take it slow. In fact, taking it slow was the only way I knew how to make it work. I’m an independent introvert who would rather deal with things in the peace of my own head. 20 years of being single made me an expert at dealing with my own problems (AKA listening to John Mayer on repeat in my room until I felt better). I quickly came to realize that when you are in a relationship, you HAVE to communicate to someone other than John Mayer. This may seem obvious to some, but I actually had to learn how to think in terms of “we” and not “me”. In the first few years, Adam would tell you I beat the phrase, “I’m fine” to a pulp. I knew this was going to take some time for us, yet I never felt like there was a rush. We were both simply learning how to be in a relationship.
If you’ve ever dated within a Christian community, you know that the topic of marriage is always lingering behind people’s breath. It’s a constant fuel to conversation. I became used to it... rolling my eyes when random people I hardly knew asked me, “have you received your confirmation in marriage!?”. Seriously, what does that even mean anyway!? I would laugh it off, but what really started to bother me is when people bombarded me with the questions, “why hasn’t Adam proposed yet?” or “what is taking him so long?” These questions were so frustrating for a few reasons. My first frustration was for Adam. I felt bad that all these people were putting unnecessary pressure on him through me. It’s almost like people wanted me to react angrily towards him but I wasn’t sure what he had done wrong.
My next frustration was something that began to boil up deep inside of me. “Where was my say in all of this?”
A relationship proposal along with marriage are both very much two-way streets, but we subconsciously put it all in the man’s hands. I would sit there thinking, “but I’m not ready to get married, why do all these people think this is only Adam’s decision to make?” In Christian culture, there is a tendency to take the women out of the equation when we pry about proposals. This not only makes us insecure in the relationship, but it makes us question the relationship itself. In return, this puts an insane amount of pressure onto the guy. I’m sure this has lead to many pre-mature proposals. In fact, the pressure became so uncomfortable for Adam that it resulted in us breaking up for a few weeks. Once he realized that just because he wasn't ready to propose didn't mean that he didn't love me, he didn't let the pressure from other people bother him and we both felt free and comfortable to continue being with each other.
All relationships vary. Some people get engaged within a few months, and other’s like Adam and I waited 4 years. I can truly say I’m so happy I didn’t listen to all those who pressured us. We were in a healthy place when it did happen and truly ready for the next step. Unless someone in a relationship is directly coming to you to talk or seek counsel about marriage, there is absolutely no need to question them. A proposal should remain a guilt free, pressure free process, between you, your significant other, and God. Let's try to trust each other a little more and not be so quick to impose our own views of 'how things should be' on someone else's relationship.
Adam and Melissa are engaged to be married this year. I have had the privilege of seeing their love first-hand and couldn't be happier to soon be a part of their wedding.
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