In the distant past, courtships and proposals were almost the same. The man would visit the woman in her family home, then formally ask for her hand in marriage. The woman’s family witnesses the whole exchange, and could even answer on the woman’s behalf. If they didn’t approve of the man, his proposal would be denied.
Now, things have changed dramatically. Couples get engaged in romantic places like the Eiffel Tower. Parents no longer stand as witnesses. In fact, most of the time, only the guy knows — and perhaps a few of his and his significant other’s friends — that he’s going to propose.
There had been a time when surprise proposal videos got viral on social media. It put pressure on many guys to match up to the “new” standard, or else they could be judged as “not romantic enough.” But some guys and couples weren’t swayed by this trend at all. Instead, they gravitated closer to tradition, which is to plan the engagement and involve their families if possible. As unromantic as it sounds, it may actually be a smarter move.
Why Surprise Engagements Aren’t Cutting it Anymore
By all means, men are still free to pop the question to their partners unexpectedly. Some women still prefer to be proposed to by surprise, with grand gestures and all. But generally speaking, a surprise proposal isn’t as dreamy as it used to be anymore. Unromantic things like finances, job security, and economic matters are making an impact on couples’ everyday choices now. Many couples have realized that the fairy-tale portrayals of relationships are just fictitious. In reality, couples don’t have to be married to deal with real-world problems.
The idea that a proposal, which is a life-changing commitment, should be a surprise is intimidating. If you and your partner wouldn’t buy a house without planning it thoroughly first, why should you get engaged by surprise? Surely, marriage is harder to maintain than real estate.
If you and your partner have got it all figured out together, meaning you’ve already planned out your goals, then perhaps a surprise proposal won’t hurt you. But if your lifestyle depends on your job security, finances, and the economy, then planning your engagement may fit you more.
Besides, an engagement isn’t a one-way street. When you propose to someone, and they say yes, you two show that you’re ready to enter a commitment that will legally bind you for life. If you surprised your partner with a proposal, it could create the impression that you’re pressuring them to enter this legal commitment with you.
Planning Your Engagement Creates Equality
Men have stopped becoming the dominant party in relationships. Nowadays, both women and men put work into their relationships. More women are becoming unafraid to make the first move. Men aren’t as insecure anymore if their partners out-earn them.
As a result, men and women became equals in their relationships. And in a commitment as serious as an engagement, equality is crucial. It’s not just the man who’ll figure out how things would work. The woman will put her own life into account as well. She’s no longer just submitting. Instead, she has her own career, hobbies, passion, and future plans to consider before getting engaged.
When you marry someone, you’re going to create a life together, so you need to plan it carefully to ensure that you’re headed in the same direction. If you proposed to her by surprise only to find out later that her goals contradict yours, then you’re going to have a lot to compromise or sacrifice in order to be happily married.
Planning Your Engagement is Tough But Fun
More couples are seen in exquisite jewelry stores together, shopping for their own engagement rings. If you think this ruins the excitement of your engagement, you could be mistaken. According to The Knot’s 2017 Jewelry and Engagement Study, 89% of grooms reported being happy about their partner’s involvement in ring-shopping. Besides, having your partner choose their own ring minimizes the chances of failures in a proposal, such as an ill-fitting ring or a ring that your partner secretly finds unappealing.
If you’re unsure whether your partner prefers a planned or a surprise engagement, drop some hints. Casually open up about engagement or marriage. Plan a romantic getaway so that they’d realize how happy you feel when you spend time together. You can also enlist the help of their family or friends. Those people surely know if she’s ready to get engaged, so they’re one of your most trustworthy confidantes when deciding whether to plan your engagement or make it a surprise.
No matter which one you choose, treat your partner as an equal in your engagement. There’s nothing more romantic than a man who respects his woman’s decisions, plans, and well-being.