If you watch anything wedding-related on TV, pretty soon you're going to start thinking that anything wedding-related is a contest. And if you watch any romantic comedies about relationships, you may find yourself thinking that the proposal you had planned simply isn't good enough.
Never mind that there are so few movie and media outlets that deal with girls proposing to guys or girls proposing to girls. There's all that trouble with the wedding industrial complex pushing a certain sparkling rock on you, and there's all this talk about "the best day of your life." First the proposal is the best day of your life. Then the wedding. It's all supposed to be so special, so wonderful, so perfect. But where are the rom coms that deal with the stress of coming up with something so "perfect?" Where are the rom coms that deal with the potentially ugly reactions from family members?
Despite the fact that my girlfriend and I have discussed marriage and I know she's going to say "yes" when I pop the question, there's still stress. She assures me that whatever goes down will be perfect because I'm the one doing the asking, and yet there's still worry. What if she doesn't like the mystic fire topaz engagement ring that I chose for her, and wants a diamond instead? What if she doesn't like my idea to propose to her at a horror movie con with the help of one of her favorite actors? What if it doesn't make a cute story? What if our families jump on the "you haven't known each other long enough" bandwagon? What if it turns out we have more homophobic family members than we anticipated, and nobody will congratulate us because we're a same-sex couple? What if a personal decision that we make as adults is subjected to criticism and turns from a happy occasion to an annoyance?
What if. What if. What if…
What if I stop worrying about whether or not she "needs" a diamond and realize that the ring is not the important thing?
What if I trust her when she says that whatever I do will be perfect?
What if I stop worrying about how other people will react to an engagement story, and focus on her reaction — the yes?
What if I ignore the nay sayers, and work on strengthening our relationship instead of defending it?
What if I focus on the reactions of the family and friends who I know will be happy for us?
What if I make a conscious choice to focus on the positives?
Marriage isn't always easy, so I guess it makes sense that the proposal and engagement shouldn't be all bunnies and roses either. I like to joke with my friends that planning a proposal has given me new respect for straight guys (and all those awesome straight girls who propose to their boyfriends). There's a lot of pressure from the media and films to make this a happy, special, and unique occasion, but I'm sure I'm not the only one who worries or who deals with less-than-enthusiastic family members. Hey, there's one in every bunch, right?
Sometimes, you have to let go of the stress, the worry, the wagging tongues, and even the research. Eventually, you're going to have to get to the point where you know that the right decision was made for you and your partner. So what if Aunt Lue doesn't like your fiancée? She doesn't have to — you do. So what if Grandma thinks it's too soon? If you know it's not, then that's all that counts. So what if the proposal doesn't go exactly as planned, or is different from the ones in the movies? Your fiancée will still love you.
Life is rarely as easy, as romantic, as well lit, and as, well, let's face it, bland as the rom coms. And maybe that's not a bad thing. My girlfriend and I will face hiccups, but we'll choose to write our own script and smile for the camera, knowing that the only ones we have to prove anything to are each other.