As a 20-something-year-old, more and more of my peers are moving towards marriage.
While my girl friends are quite excited about how they want their proposals to go, I have a feeling that their boyfriends are more stressed out than thrilled.
I don’t blame them. It can’t be the easiest thing to plan a proposal that your partner would like. Some girls prefer a more private and intimate affair but I also have friends who want their proposal to be as flamboyant as possible.
While I can’t advise you on what what your loved one would want exactly, I can offer a framework to have in mind so that at least your bases are covered as you plan your proposal. It’s quite aptly titled BTO, which stands for Buy that ring, Talk to the parents, and On your knee you go.
PROPOSING WITH “BTO”
1. Buy that ring
Unless your girlfriend is a hipster, buying a ring is a no-brainer. But what’s more important than the ring itself is what the ring symbolises: A promise.
In ancient cultures, people would exchange tokens to give their word of honour – these tokens signified a pledge or commitment. God Himself gave us the rainbow as a reminder of the covenant He made with mankind. In ancient Chinese cultures, people would also offer a token of attachment (定情信物) to symbolise their bethrothal.
When we exchange rings, we are exchanging a promise: A promise to remain true through the highs and lows and all temptations. A promise to always choose your partner no matter what.
So when buying a proposal ring, buy it with the correct mindset: That by choosing her – you’re choosing her alone. If you can convey this sincerity and commitment to her, the diamond – whatever size it may be – is simply the icing on the cake.
But what’s more important than the ring itself is what the ring symbolises: A promise.
2. Talk to the parents
My friends always like to say: “When you marry someone, you’re not just marrying him/her. You’re marrying the family too.”
I couldn’t agree more. In Singapore, where values like filial piety are highly esteemed and where family units are usually tight, family tends to mean a lot. It would be a nice and respectful gesture to loop your partner’s parents into such a big life decision even before you propose.
Personally, the type of guy I’d like to marry is one who cares for my family members too. Getting my parents’ blessings would make me feel that my partner respects them and their opinions as well.
And if you need any incentive, honouring parents is actually the first commandment that comes with a blessing (Deuteronomy 5:16). Three cheers to a long life ahead with your folks and in-laws!
When you marry someone, you’re not just marrying him/her. You’re marrying the family too.
3. On your knee you go
The last step to a good proposal is to get down on one knee. The act of kneeling has religious roots, as many worshippers tend to kneel as an expression of their devotion to God.
It’s similar in marriage. In the Message version, 1 Corinthians 7:5 tells us that “Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out.” We marry because of love, and true love is a decision to place the person above your needs and desires.
It is your partner above yourself.
… true love is a decision to place the person above your needs and desires.
Do you remember the proposal which went viral a few years ago? The short version: A Singaporean woman got down on her knee in response to her boyfriend’s proposal.
In the Facebook note, she revealed her reason for doing so: “I don’t want a guy to kneel down in front of me and ask me to spend my life with him. I want to spend my life with the guy that I know I can comfortably kneel down together with, and serve others regardless of the ups and downs… that’s why I knelt down with you.”
Male or female, enter marriage with the mindset of serving your partner. And let your marriage be outward-looking – become a blessing to the people around you as well.
So there you go! Rather than proposing with a BTO application, try this BTO framework instead. I wish the men out there reading this the very best in securing a good wife. After all, a good wife is a blessing from God!