Some may call it traditionalism when a man purposes marriage to a woman, while others may simply view it as the right way of doing things, but we can all agree on the fact that when a woman proposes marriage to a man, controversy erupts. Whether it's due to being tired of waiting, going against the grain, or taking control of things, more women are beginning to propose marriage instead of just simply awaiting a proposal like most of the women in previous generations have. With feminism on the rise and women becoming more empowered, has Holy Matrimony become yet another avenue for the female gender to express empowerment? America may be on the brink of encountering its very first female president, women may be gaining a foothold on equal pay within the workforce, but will a woman proposing to a man ever exist as being the new norm?
When you think marriage, you think engagement, and when you think engagement, you think proposal. How many of us have ever heard the romantic tale of how a woman proposed to a man? Not many I'm sure because we all mostly believe that a man proposing marriage is his way of saying that you're the only one for him now and forever. It appears less romantic the other way around because women are more susceptible to fall in love or desire full committal within a relationship. We love to hear those romantic tales about men because they either remind us of what we shared in our life experience or what we desire to have. Unfortunately, the same can't quite be said when the gender roles are reversed because it is almost frowned upon by society. If you're looking at a marriage proposal in the sense previously noted, then a woman proposing to a man, may not only leave doubt as to if he actually wants to spend the rest of his life with her but it also gives way to the possibility that she may want it more than he does.
What's to be said about the man whose been with a woman for five or ten years who wants to get married, but just hasn't proposed to her? Could it be that something is holding him back and have those things even been addressed? A life long decision such as marriage will make a person reevaluate everything from appearance, to upbringing, to financial stability. A lot of times, many are under the assumption that marriage is the heal all solution when it comes to relationship issues when the truth of the matter is that those same issues will lie dormant temporarily and reappear once the love dust settles and wishing well funds have been depleted. It's better to deal with present issues versus just simply putting a ring over them. This isn't Gondor where rings give off magical powers.
But this is not to say that all engagements that involve a woman proposing results in a negative reaction. There are plenty of men who say yes to them. How many actually mean the yes is yet to be determined. A man will take a year to breakup with a woman who he cares about and because he cares about her, it makes it hard for him to let her down. No good man wants to see a woman cry so they'll often times avoid confrontation, arguments and anything else that will keep the sprinklers away and the same can be said in the instance of a marriage proposal. Both men and women who are unsure about marriage proposals have been known to say yes at the time of a proposal in an attempt to spare the other persons feelings. Some have even gone as far as to marry that person out of obligation or because they knew that there was a possibility of the other person leaving if the proposal wasn't readily accepted.
There are some, when this conversation of who should propose to whom arises, that Ruth is often times brought up. Ruth laid at Boaz's feet at the instruction of her elderly mother-n-law Naomi, and asked him to, "spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid" (Ruth 3:1-11) which is an ancient phrase meaning to take a woman to marriage. One can look at this with a justifying eye but not without considering the time and the cultural differences. To be without a husband during that time meant limited resources, protection, and no opportunity to have children, of which Ruth was in need and want of all three. In this present day, with all three being made available for women, with becoming a parent by way of adoption, without the assistance of a man, could this still be used as a viable indication that a proposal by a woman should become more of an acceptable practice?
A marriage is a marriage and the success of it ultimately falls upon the shoulders of the involved couple. Its success or failure is not so much predicated on who proposed more than the effort of both parties to make the marriage last. Traditionalism often alters the views and opinions of people but when a more acceptable practice is brought to the forefront, those same traditions can be changed. An important question to consider is, do we want this one to change?
Written by Davina
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