Barton Goldsmith: Modern proposals

By Barton Goldsmith
Tribune News Service

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) As family therapist Barton Goldsmith points out, when it comes to proposing marriage, “Everyone is different, so your job is to do your due diligence and find out what your intended might appreciate the most.”

Tribune News Service

These days marriage proposals have gotten much more complex than just getting down on one knee with ring in hand.

Today, some people think they have to stretch the moment into an entire day (or two) of romance and lavish gestures before popping the question.

I think it all started with the reality TV show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” where gay men taught straight dudes how to be more romantic.

Yes, my gender could use a little training in this area from time to time. In any case, the show highlighted some amazing proposals, and for the last decade, I’ve seen them get even more creative.

Hot air balloon rides can be exciting, but since you have to get up at the crack of dawn, you would need to do it in a way that is comfortable for both of you.

Renting a cabana on the beach and having a lovely dinner works well too, especially when dessert is the proposal and the ring.

That’s another area to look at. Picking out the ring is something most couples need to do together these days.

I suggest you visit a few stores and keep it casual in the beginning. Trying on a $400,000 yellow diamond can be fun, but it is wise to keep it reasonable.

Family rings and stones are also something that many people dislike, but I truly love the sentiment attached, and if it’s old, chances are it’s not a conflict diamond.

Now when it comes to actually popping the question, skywriting might work, but you have to hope the winds are calm and the name isn’t too long. I prefer a more subtle approach. In an old movie, Cary Grant put a ring in the bottom of a glass of champagne, and for a while that became a thing, until supposedly someone swallowed one.

Everyone is different, so your job is to do your due diligence and find out what your intended might appreciate the most, the best way to make him or her feel like royalty, as you ask to spend the rest of your lives together. It may increase your chances of getting a yes.

Making it a surprise is important, no matter how you choose to do it. My mother used to say you are not engaged until you have a ring and a date.

I guess you could propose on the courthouse steps and walk right in or take a trip to Vegas and get married by an Elvis impersonator at a drive-thru chapel, but seriously, this is a big moment.

The key is to make your proposal truly from the soul. No matter how crazy you get, like proposing during a tandem skydive, the one you love needs to feel it, and so do you. A simple “Will you marry me?” at a lovely place still works if you are in love. You don’t have to go over the top.

There are a number of ways to keep it simple, yet make it very romantic. You can make it a surprise with just a lovely outing and the right words. I don’t suggest proposing on the couch while watching HBO, or sending a text, but you can make it meaningful and easy on yourself at the same time. Just speak what is in your heart.
(Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.”)

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