The gentle art of proposing matrimony may be considered from two angles—His and Hers. Man and woman look at a proposal from vastly different viewpoints. He wants the girl and has to say so or give very positive signs to that effect in order to obtain his wish and wife.
The girl wants the proposal. She may intend to refuse the proposer, even at the risk of throwing away her only chance and remaining a spinster. But if she never marries, she wants to be sure it is from choice, not from necessity, that she is remaining an unplucked peach on the parental stem.
Proposals may also be looked at from the angles of vision of Before and After marriage. Until the proposal is an accepted fact (and the lover accepted or rejected) it is understood that the man must make it. After he is married, man always seems to understand—or to want you to understand—that it was his wife who did the proposing.
But since the percentage of marriages does not seem to increase greatly in leap year, we may safely suppose that however much assistance woman gives man in getting to the point, when he does arrive she sits back and prepares to be duly grateful for what she is about to receive.
A proposal is enshrined in woman’s memory forever. If it comes from the wrong man, it gives her an opportunity to boast of her chances. If it comes from the right man, it sets the seal of an engagement on what she had been fearing might turn out to be only a flirtation or a friendship after all. Not all the froth of aimless living, not all the suds of the washtub can ever dampen the luster of that grand moment.
A proposal is any or all of these things. A formal offer of marriage, a moonlight sonata, a drifting from paths of friendship to meadows of love, a lightning flash of knowledge, a joke to stimulate a dull conversation, a magnificent condescension of the King to the Beggar Maid, an offer of a business partnership, or—And the “Or’s” have it. “Or”—a proposal may be a combination of confidence, sincerity, generosity and tenderness—an offer that breathes of understanding love, of a happy partnership in the business of life “till death do us part.”
A proposal is composed of a man and a woman, an environment, a feeling and an expression of that feeling.
First we choose a combination of right man for right woman. We choose two people who have been and always will be friends. When the first romantic rapture fades, as romantic raptures have a way of doing —since they are colors fast to fly— we want a fine, big, sane background of interests and tastes in common. We choose two healthy young people who are comrades, who can be partners, who enjoy the delight of investigating as well as of understanding one another, and who feel the call of the heart for one another.
For environment, the woods when spring is budding gently to life, the majesty of the summer sea, the glory of autumn’s blaze, the stinging sleet of a February day—the burning mystery of a grate fire. The ideal environment always has in It some of vastness of nature who is calling.
A Seventh avenue bus or a teeming city street has in it an element of bigness. But unforgivable Is the man who degrades his love by dragging it into a restless cabaret environment — or expresses it over a glass of beer.
The Right Moment
But neither environment nor expression count if the feeling is fine and big. Confidence, sincerity, generosity, tenderness —these are the underlying, the unchangeable roots of love’s joy. The proposal that is based upon them must fit the ideal and satisfy the heart.
Confidence of the man that he will love “the woman forever, that he is fit to protect and cherish her! Confidence of the woman that she understands the sacred meaning of the word wife! With this confidence, be sure that you will know how to propose if you have also the sincerity to carry out all that love asks, generosity to give to one another and to life and a great loving tenderness. Tenderness will make life’s joys’ greater together and life’s burdens lighter for the sharing.
How to propose? Take the right man, the right woman, the vast out of doors and a feeling that is made of confidence, sincerity, generosity and tenderness! A proposal Is bound to result. Perhaps eye will speak to eye. and spirit will leap out to spirit. But in the end, when he says the sacred words. “I love you, dear; shall we found a new home together?” she will say “Yes.”
Friendship will grow to love. A divine inspiration will make the day sacred. And for that happy woman “How to Propose” will forever after pc Just the way He did it!