Can a woman propose marriage?


#1

OK, I am not going to propose marriage; I have been happily married for 25+ years. I'ts just something I've wondered. Can a woman propose marriage? If not, why not? Is this a Catholic teaching or just a cultural idea/norm?

Technically, I did do this when dh and I were dating. We talked about everything, including the possibility of marriage, what it would be like, having kids, etc. One day when we were discussing it, I just asked him. It wasn't something I planned or anything. He said, "You can't ask me! I have to ask you!"

A couple weeks later he did ask me...but it wasn't much of a proposal. He just spontaneously said, "Let's get married." He didn't plan it either. We both knew it was what we wanted; the proposal was more of a formality than anything.

When we had been dating for a while, my mother once asked me, "Do you think you'll marry him?" I told her, "We've talked about it." She was shocked, as if she couldn't imagine such a thing. "TALKED about it??? What is there to talk about?" In her world, the man just "pops" the question and the woman breathlessly says, "YES!" (or refuses). No talking about it needed. I think that may be a difference between the generations.

Anyway, what do you think? And why?


#2

It's not a matter of Catholic teaching. It's more a cultural norm. (From what I understand, in the case of royalty the person of higher rank usually has to be the one who proposes. But that's not really a problem for most of us!;))

That said, I think there are good reasons why it is traditional that the man is usually the one who "officially" proposes. I think it's matter of the normal psychology differences between men and women. Is this an absolute? Of course not. But in general the man has to be the one who assumes the greater responsibility for the support and protection of the wife and children so he gets to say when he's willing to take that role.

But I also believe that a marriage proposal should not come out of the blue. I agree with your idea that the couple should be talking about the possibility of marriage long before the proposal, whoever makes it.


#3

Of course they can! I think it would be refreshing.


#4

I agree that it is more a cultural norm than anything else. I see no reason why women could not propose marriage as long as they are not already married.


#5

That is the Victorian Novel or Hollywood Movie “norm”. IRL, people discuss marriage and it is a process.


#6

Why should a man propose just because he assumes greater responsibility for support of the family? He would still get to say when he’s willing…he is free to say yes or no. No one is bound by a proposal.

Honestly, I am pretty traditional about most things, but I just wonder about this. As I said, my dh and I had talked a lot about the possibilty of marriage before anyone officially asked, and when the asking did happen, it was really more of a formality. We both knew we wanted to be married.

I’m curious to hear what men think about this.


#7

I would say yes. But, I really think it should be a mutual decision and should be discussed before becoming engaged. I would not want to accept an engagement if we had not already determined we agreed on the important decisions about marriage and family.

I also dislike the tradition of a man buying an engagement ring and surprising his intended. If she is going to wear it for the rest of her life she should be the one to pick it out. The man can work with a jeweler ahead of time to show her rings he can afford, or buy the diamond and let her choose the setting.


#8

the most wonderful proposal I have known of involved a woman proposing to a man :) it was sweet, surprising, and fun.


#9

LOL! So…my going out with married women all the time is the reason they don’t accept my proposals? :wink:

Jeez…


#10

Certainly! I think whoever has the nerve to risk rejection should just go right ahead and ask away. You can tell if you're both on that page or not. One of you may be afraid to ask, and the other is more "to the point".


#11

She can. I don't like the idea. This is not a moral matter, at least not in a direct way.

What a woman can do in those milestone question matters is, "if you were to ask me, I would say yes," or, in order to avoid the hard statement, "if you were to ask me, you'd stand a high chance of getting a yes," or even, "some," or even, "so when are you going to ask me?" This gets the result but doesn't cross the line.


#12

[quote="daeve, post:10, topic:192614"]
Certainly! I think whoever has the nerve to risk rejection should just go right ahead and ask away. You can tell if you're both on that page or not. One of you may be afraid to ask, and the other is more "to the point".

[/quote]

I'm going to be very brave and say that **most **men, when they wear their hearts on their sleeves, become blithering emotional cowards and a girl can work wonders if she 'suggests' marriage and gives her intended the courage to actually propose. :)


#13

[quote="PilgrimSong, post:6, topic:192614"]
Why should a man propose just because he assumes greater responsibility for support of the family? He would still get to say when he's willing...he is free to say yes or no. No one is bound by a proposal.

[/quote]

If you want my opinion... I think (good) men have a harder time working up the nerve to ask than women would/do. And I think men value what they have to work for more than women do. (That's not to say women don't value work. I just don't think women have the same "quest" mentality that men do ...at least as far as relationships are concerned.)

In other words, I think being the one to ask makes men feel good about themselves. I don't think women feel that much better about themselves for being the one to ask.

And obviously I'm speaking in generalities.

[quote="PilgrimSong, post:6, topic:192614"]
I'm curious to hear what men think about this.

[/quote]

Me too.


#14

If she’s still with you as your girlfriend and things are going right and she loves you, why fear to propose? If you hear a “not yet”, it’s “not yet”, but if you were to hear “no”, she probably wouldn’t be your girlfriend right now.

Not sure. Women tend to go for challenge these days and they like having to conquer too. Which is great when you have a mutual quest for each other’s affection but not so when you’re expected to play female and allow yourself to be conquered and pull back and return etc., which I’d feel like a sissy for doing (not like I ever would).


#15

Interesting replies. Thanks everyone!

I would think that most couples talk about marriage before any actual proposal is made. As I said, dh and I discussed marriage, children, jobs, and other aspects of possible marriage many times. Therefore, the whole "popping the question" was kind of a formality. As one poster said, it harkens back to Victorian days, or Hollywood movie proposals. Dh just said, "Let's get married" without any planning or fanfare ;) but, as sI said, after much discussion. So perhaps in our case it didn't really matter that much who asked whom. (though it did matter to him!)


#16

I really don't like the idea of those "surprise" marriage proposals, either. My husband and I talked about getting married for about a year before he formally asked me, and before then, we essentially agreed to the engagement. At that point, I could have asked him or he could have asked me. It really didn't matter, and it was no less romantic. The "question" is really just a formality so that you can start talking about your intent to marry and planning your wedding in public. At least, that was my experience in the area.


#17

I had a teacher in high school that actually turned down a woman that asked him to marry her. It happens but is rare and doesnt feel comfortable.


#18

Expected to play the female role and allow yourself to be conquered??? Are you serious? I’m not trying to jump all over you, but I am curious as to why you worded it that way. I never thought of myself being conquered. Dh and I made a mutual decision to wed (he did ask me but it was still a mutual consenting), and then vowed before God to love and honor each other all our lives, but neither of us “conquered” the other.


#19

[quote="momor, post:7, topic:192614"]

I also dislike the tradition of a man buying an engagement ring and surprising his intended. If she is going to wear it for the rest of her life she should be the one to pick it out. The man can work with a jeweler ahead of time to show her rings he can afford, or buy the diamond and let her choose the setting.

[/quote]

I agree, Momor. Dh proposed so spontaneously he didn't have any kind of ring. We went to the jewelry store together. I didn't want a diamond but do have a wedding band.


#20

Hey, Ma’am, put that gun away! I wasn’t talking in strictly marriage proposal terms but the fact that all around me it seems that men who appear indifferent or uninterested are hotter merchandise than those who act interested (talking about interpersonal relationship, not sexual advances, those are trickier). This coincides with the growing trend for women to wear the breeches in relationships. This does look a bit like role reversal (traditional “seduction” by women took different forms and male hardball tactics were also different). Hence my satirical use of the word “to conquer”. We’re soon gonna have princesses in shining armour and lads in distress. :rolleyes:

I’m going to pull the coffee cup move when (if) the day comes.


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