There was no proposal, but we’re engaged anyway

Though my boyfriend of four years didn’t plan an elaborate surprise, get down on one knee, and utter the words “Will you marry me?” I am happily engaged to a wonderful man. I promise.

I never thought our engagement story was odd or unromantic until people began asking me to retell it and were unimpressed. My now-fiancé and I have been together for four years, and have lived together for three of them. We have discussed getting married since the beginning of our relationship — we not only love each other dearly, we also believe that marriage is a big step that affects both of us equally. For us, it never felt right for such a large decision to be made by just one of us, and traditionally this role would fall to him.

In the past, I’ve watched girlfriends struggle in their serious relationships because they wanted to get married, were ready for this next step, but felt like they weren’t allowed to say so. The fear of coming off as nagging held them back — they thought it could only happen when he asked her. While I never wanted my friends to pressure their significant others, I also couldn’t understand why the decision to join their lives together, legally, spiritually, or both, was somehow a taboo topic. Whether it was the fear of rejection or worry that the moment would somehow lose its romanticism, it became an elephant in the room.

I also watched my guy friends struggle with the weight of this decision-making power, and the burden of being forced to make it perfect. From getting the exact ring she had hinted at for months (but couldn’t be a part of the buying process), to the pressure of making proposing a grand surprise, it seemed exhausting.

To the great dismay of my friends, I knew about my engagement ahead of time. In fact, we planned it together. We both took a vacation day, called it our Engagement Celebration Day, ate all of our favorite foods, and did all of our favorite activities. We sat on our couch, the place where laugh with each other and cuddle every evening, and promised to be with each other forever. To me — to us — it was perfect. It was the most romantic moment of my life. We talked for a long time, described our appreciation and admiration of each other, and I cried tears of joy. Then it was done, and we were engaged.

No permission was asked ahead of time and no questions were asked of each other. When it happened, we already knew the answer, and we wanted to share in that knowing together. Every couple deserves to have the engagement story of their dreams, and this was ours. Traditions can be so beautiful and meaningful, but they lose that significance if you only do them because you have to. Make your own traditions, ones that reflect who you are and what you believe in.

My fiancé and I are currently planning our wedding, and since the world is still spinning and I am still madly in love, I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Amanda Steinhoff is a proud Wisconsinite who loves the cold weather, afternoon naps, and believes brunch can make everything better. She works as a communication coordinator and when she finds free time she likes to write, catch up on all things pop culture, and attend as many Milwaukee Bucks games as possible. Find her on Twitter.

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