Sunday, April 11, 2010

Worried about ruining unBiblical surprises?

I know this is scary, but the CBE blog is taken up these days with posts and discussions in preparation for an upcoming issue of Mutuality on the subject of "dating".

The latest post, Proposals, Parents and Purchases is by a married couple who have already co-authored an article on the subject in a previous issue. In this blog post, they relate that, "as we noted in the article, often we followed more traditional ways of doing things. Sometimes we wanted to – but often we knew of no other option."

Then, in the section on Proposals, they write the following which brought me up short and actually made me smile, "Would it be possible for a couple to sit down together and collectively make the decision to move forward into engagement? Would this method ruin the “surprise” factor of a proposal, and if so, is it a sacrifice worth making?"

My goodness but this grand project to remake the sexes is a difficult matter, isn't it? They wanted to do things "mutually" but sometimes didn't know how? And really, if they have to ask if collectively making the decision to "move forward into engagement" risks ruining the surprise factor in a traditional scenario -- are they really that Egalitarian after all?

I mean, if all this male supremacy folderol is really an unbiblical and worldly racket for the protection of male privilege, why would doing away with the "surprise" even be a sacrifice?


Chris Jones said...

From the linked post:

Traditionally, the man enjoys the privilege (or bears the burden, depending on his viewpoint) of planning the proposal – often without any input from the woman at all.

This is total bosh, which could be written only by someone with no sense of genuine Tradition at all. The dynamics of a marriage proposal will vary depending on the cultural context, but (unless the marriage is arranged by the parents from soup to nuts) the woman has plenty of opportunity to influence the course of events (though sometimes subtly).

In my home growing up there was a copy of "Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette," and I remember reading and taking to heart these words when steeling myself to propose to my wife:

Any girl with common sense knows when a man is trying to propose and either helps him commit himself or discourages him from doing so before he has gone too far. It is certainly unkind to encourage the expression of a proposal only to turn it down. Yet an obstinate coyness on the part of a girl who would really like to accept a proposal, were it offered, often deters a man, who fears he will be refused. In other words, it is up to the woman, at the right time, to let a man know that a proposal, if offered, will be accepted.

I don't know if my wife had read the same words, but she did her part and I waited until I was confident that "a proposal, if offered, would be accepted." There could be nothing more traditional than my proposal and our engagement, but contrary to this bogus "egalitarian" my wife had plenty of "input."

We have been happily married for 33 years.

Jane said...

Yes, I'm with Chris. This seems to reflect some idea that people who propose in a more traditional fashion follow the mores of some of the more extreme Jane Austen characters -- along the lines of Sir Thomas being pleased that Fanny gave Henry Crawford absolutely no encouragement or signal that she was receptive to his attentions, to the point where he was surprised that Fanny's apparent distaste for Henry's advances was founded upon...distaste. But not even all of Jane Austen's properly behaved characters acted, or were expected to act, this way.

It's called "communication." It doesn't have to be some sterile, "equality" driven concept of a "mutual decision." Somehow, simply by aligning our actions with our intentions, my husband and very naturally reached the point where discussing whether marriage appeared to be in our future arose, before he was ready to propose (we had not yet graduated from college and he was not willing to propose until he was employed.)

But you know, the day some months later when he handed me the jar full of Hershey kisses with the ring at the bottom was still pretty special.