When Should I Propose and How?
So you've done it! You have met the woman of your dreams and want to get married! First of all congratulations! While it's not exactly a rare thing, it is always an exciting one, and so we wish you the best of happiness, wealth, and prosperity. Second of all, though -- are you sure?
Now, this question is not meant to put a damper on things. Not at all. It is, though, meant to make you think about whether or not you are jumping the gun. Are you simply in love with the idea of getting married, and have chosen the first person who fits the bill? Perhaps you are tired of dating and want the stability of married life, and this is the first woman to come along who offers such stability. It might be that your mother, who has been bugging you for years about giving her grandchildren, has finally hit your last nerve and you just want to make her happy so she stops. If any of these or similar reasons for getting married hits close to home for you, I urge you to reconsider. Marriage of convenience is a thing of the past; today, there are plenty of choices for everyone, and no one has to settle for anything less than exactly what they want in a partner.
If, however, you are sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that this woman is the one you want to wake up to every morning; the one whom you will love and respect above all others for the rest of your life; and the one whose happiness means more to you than anyone else's; then it's time indeed to pop the question! Don't worry about how long you've been dating (unless, of course, we are talking about just one wild weekend); don't worry about following some social norm for how love relationships should progress from one stage to another; just listen to your head, heart, and soul for the answer.
Now, how to pop the question is another story. Of course, each person wants the moment to be as special and unique as possible. After all, the engagement ring in the champagne glass thing has been done so many times that it's a bit cliched. Then again, getting too crazy might not be a good idea either; not everyone wants a proposal to come from someone who has just rappelled himself into her bedroom window, or written the question across the sky in jet airline fumes. The first thing you need to consider is the personality of the woman herself; the second is your own personality; and the third is the possibility (however remote) that she will not accept your proposal. Given this last issue, it might well be smart to pop the question in a rather private setting, so as to minimize possible discomfort for one or both of you.
Is she into sports and similar recreational activities? Perhaps wrapping a tennis ball with a piece of paper on which "Will you marry me?" has been written and rolling the ball into the living room where she is sitting would be a fun, sporty, idea. If she's a dreamy-eyed romantic, falling to your knees while on a midnight walk on the beach might do the trick. If she's a hard-core traditionalist, you might wish to ask her father first. Whatever you decide, though, remember that the question itself is enough of a big deal, and offers enough of an emotional bang, that how you ask it is secondary. Just have faith and plan something sweet that you can both look back on with happiness in the years to come.