After dating my husband for three years, I proposed to him.
I didn’t bend down on one knee like those rom-coms where the roles are reversed. Even though I’d been considering popping the question, the words flew out of my mouth sooner than I’d wanted them to. And, I didn’t propose just because I am a feminist.
And it was his fault that I ended up asking him to marry me.
I still joke about how I threw my husband’s phone number in the trash the first time he gave it to me on a little sheet of scrap paper. It’s not because I wasn’t interested in him, but because he’s black and I’m Asian. At 18 years old, I wasn’t ready to defy my parents in such an epic way. Because I didn’t succumb to his charms like his previous girlfriends, he, who was almost four years older than me, worked really hard to “catch” me.
I eventually gave into his charms, and we started dating. Not only did we have amazing chemistry, but our sense of humor complimented each others. One of his most frequent jokes was, “Let’s get married and move to the Bahamas!” Obviously, not the most romantic nor most serious of proposals. His “proposal” became a running joke. He would propose at least once a week. It got to the point that I told him I would never believe him when the real proposal came along.
As much as we joked about getting married, I knew I wasn’t ready. We’d met during my freshman year in college and getting married before I turned 30 was not in my life plan. I also wasn’t sure if he really was The One. He was my only serious relationship. We were both theater majors. What kind of life would that be?
I stalled on my decision mostly because I had to know 1000 percent that he really was the one before I would tell my parents I was even dating a black man. There was never an aha moment when I knew I wanted to marry my husband. Sure, I knew I loved him, but we dated in secret. I had to be sure I was strong enough to stand up to my parents because I knew they’d disown me when they found out. I had to be sure that he — our relationship — was worth fighting for. It took me three years of dating to realize that I could see myself growing old with him.
My husband was quite the catch. A big flirt, he easily charmed every girl in our theater department including me, though I didn’t let it show in the beginning. Eventually his sense of humor and happy energy was too tough to resist. Being around him made me happier. From the very beginning, my instincts told me to trust him. We spent many late nights just discussing everything from our childhoods to our big dreams for the future. It didn’t hurt that our sexual chemistry was electric.
He graduated college ahead of me, and we continued with a long-distance relationship. Back then cell phones were incredibly expensive, so we spent most of our spending money on plastic phone cards. Every Sunday evening, we caught up over the phone while we cooked dinner “together” — he in his kitchen in North Carolina and I in mine in a Louisiana college town. I realized I didn’t want any more proposals made in jest, so I was the one to get serious. During one such Sunday dinner in October, after we cooked and ate dinner together, I popped the question, “Will you marry me?”
I thought I knew what his answer would be, but that didn’t stop me from feeling nervous.
Silence fell on the other end of the line. It was only seconds, but it felt like minutes. I held my breath.
“Are you serious?!?!” is all he said once he recovered. He was ecstatic. Once I convinced him that my proposal was real, he said ,”Yes,” all kidding aside.
Our 12 year anniversary is this August, which we will celebrate with our two children.
It’s a good thing he said, Yes.
Did you have an unconventional marriage proposal?