I’ve watched hundreds of bogus, unreal, crazily old-fashioned “will you marry me’s” on TV and I have rolled my eyes quietly to myself through each and every one. What is this sham that we’re continuing to perpetuate? Is this truly anyone’s reality when popping the big question?
Maybe there was a time when couples really didn’t talk about their future and really didn’t know if his or her significant other wanted to get married. Heck, maybe those couples still do exist, and I’ve been living in a sheltered world over the past 20 years of my life — and that should surprise no one. Regardless, pretty much every married couple I’ve ever talked to about how the couple got engaged went pretty similar to how I ended up being engaged to Casey.
Casey and I didn’t know each other for very long before we began having the serious talks about our futures. It was about two weeks into our relationship when Casey asked me if I wanted to drive to Las Vegas to get married over the weekend. She didn’t have any serious intention of staying married; no, she had heard that Mormon boys won’t do the deed unless married so she decided a quick marriage followed by an even quicker annulment would be an easy loophole I could exploit. It was a no go, however.
Then before we knew it things changed in our relationship and neither of us, even now, know why or how things changed, but they changed. We went from a couple that knew we were doomed to breakup who had no business dating each other to a couple wondering what if. Casey came from a family that wasn’t too fond of Mormons, and I came from a Mormon family that wasn’t very familiar with non-Mormon families. Casey was also a girl who grew up in the city doing city things and liking city people. I grew up in a small town in the mountains and my personal vehicle was a truck that was specifically built to climb mountains — a truck she hated then and hates now. We had absolutely nothing in common other than she was a girl who liked boys, and I was a boy who liked girls. Our being together seemed so ill-fitting it was obvious to those around us, and our family members were begging us to kill the relationship before either of us got hurt. Then something changed.
About a week after Casey popped the Las Vegas question, we started having more serious talks about whether our relationship was doable. Could two people with our backgrounds and our stories really fall in love with each other and survive as a married couple and stay in love until the end of time? We thought, maybe.
The conversation about our future happened on a late evening after we watched some bad movie, and the conversation eventually turned to marriage and we both decided that we were ready to get married. We wanted to see if we could turn maybe into a definitely. That was it. No getting on a knee and saying, “Casey, will you marry me?” No panicked anticipation of what Casey’s answer would be. It was just a simple conversation about our future that ended with us wanting to start planning our wedding.
Eventually I did pop the question with a formal “Casey, will you marry me,” and it was an elaborate setup designed to create anger and confusion on Casey’s part only to end with excitement and happiness and a ring marking her as my future wife. As I’ve watched those fake movie and TV scenes about popping the question, I regret a bit that I didn’t get to experience that what if she says no moment, but I think for us having the conversation that transformed our relationship from one that was doomed to failure from the start into something that maybe could last forever has helped solidify our bond together. We needed that moment together where we could both come to a realization — together — that we enjoyed being with each other, that we really loved each other, and that neither of us could picture life without the other.
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