Proposing to your boyfriend? This Bride-to-be sure did!
If you asked me 5 years ago, will you be proposing to your boyfriend? I think the clear answer would be no.
I met my fiancé 5 years ago now. I was out with a friend and so was he. My friend thought his friend was cute. She and I rambled up to their table. “You guys wanna play Jenga with us?” I asked. They hesitated, looking at each other with sideways grins. “It’s a worknight, whatdya think?” Sam said. Sam’s friend was smooth, “Why not?” he said in a nonchalant way. We laughed and talked. Last call came… and went. We moved to another bar. Making small talk, Sam and I watched the other two flirt and pretend to be mysterious for each other. Maybe they weren’t pretending. Either way, Sam and I weren’t looking for anything at all.
I wasn’t looking for anything…
I had been with an angry, hateful boy for 3 years prior to that time and had just begun to feel like myself again. It was cold the night I met Sam. The fact that it was a weeknight didn’t mean much to me at the time. A server at a corporate restaurant, I had just finished my bachelor’s degree. Most days I spent alone in my apartment reading some memoir or other, feeling young and profound. On the weekends I would go out dancing by myself or with friends. I spun and wiggled and shook until my legs were so tired I could barely walk out of the place.
Neither was he.
Sam had been through a terribly messy divorce followed by a passionate and volatile relationship that ended about a year before the night we met. Sam was 13 years older than me and he had a daughter. Aside from the baggage, I had never met someone who was more fun or made me feel wholly accepted. We were two of the most skittish humans that ever happened to like each other. The first 6-8 months of our relationship consisted of hard conversations. Trying to convince ourselves and each other that nothing was happening for us. We were having fun, but we were also growing big, ginormous feelings for each other.
And yet, something was happening.
But as jittery and untidy as it was, that space was a very good place to start something great. It allowed for total transparency. The building of an honest foundation, free of the silly habit of trying to fit into the other person’s checklist. We were able to just be. To be ourselves; messy and fucked up and human.
We were free to be.
What came from that space is a freaking sweet relationship. It’s the fun, joyful, adventurous, communicative, travel-filled, good-even-when-times-are-hard, kind of love. A partnership, a ride-or-die, a solid thing that makes me believe in love every single day. Every. Single. Day.
And what is it you do with something that good? Well, I decided to make my intentions known and to ask a question very few girls dream of asking. I didn’t even dream of asking it until a male, feminist friend of mine prophesied that was how it would go for me. Self-fulfilling or not, I made my mind up to do it.
Even when hard times came…
One cold night early in 2017, Sam and I were cuddled up on our couch. We were talking about what the last year had held. We had both been through a lot. I had lost my mom that year. It was a sudden and devastating loss. Sam had gotten a huge promotion, good news at a tough time, and his workload doubled. But we had also made great memories, we had hiked and traveled. We went to see bands and spent a lot of time with the people that matter. We had made something good out of a year that would crush a lot of people. In a way, it did crush us, but it also helped us realize the important things.
We always had each other.
We had talked about all of that and then we were talking about us. Never had we questioned us. Not for a single moment. We were unwavering. Each other’s most immense source of strength and stability in a sea of chaos and change.
So I asked that big, stupid, scary question!
Our conversation came to a natural and easy pause. Sam was grinning at me big. Our legs were intertwined under a blanket, warm and safe. I looked at this man on the other end of the couch, this beautiful, incredible man, and I thought, now. So I stood up from the couch and I got down on one knee, just like all those men and a few women before me. I told Sam this, “We have been through so much. We have been through great times and hard times and I have total faith in the man you are and the man you will be. Sam, will you marry me?” Tears had welled in my eyes by the time I finally spit out the words.
And held my breath for an answer.
You know, you always want the person you’re asking to say “YES, OF Course! I thought you’d never ask!” But Sam didn’t say that, you know what he said to me? He said, “Are you sure?” And my heart sank ever so slightly. But then Sam continued, “I mean, are you sure you want to marry me? I’ve been divorced, I have a kid. I come with all kinds of baggage.” And I said, “Yeah, I’m sure!” AND THEN, he said yes to me.
Yes to a lifetime of talks.
He said it just like this in his southern West Virginia draw, “Yeah, baby, I’ll marry you!” Then I sat on his lap and we kissed and then you know what we did, we talked about it. We had a big long talk. At the end of the talk, we both knew we would have many more talks. Because it is a huge choice and it deserves a lot of talks.
That was over a year ago now. We haven’t totally nailed down a date yet and neither of us is in a hurry. Well, not a huge hurry. July 2019, outside, at sunset. That is what we know. And that is just fine. Because this man makes me believe in love Every. Single. Day. So, figuring out what day we decide to make it official doesn’t stress me out too much.
Contributor Bio: Carmen Bowes is a native West Virginian, a writer, a nature-lover, a traveler, and more recently, a bride! She loves her life, the people in it, and is excited about the future. Carmen’s written several features for Daytripper Magazine and has been writing for Samuel Taylor Photography since 2016. Spoiler alert, Sam is her fiancé!
Outside of writing, she also takes pictures and has a teaching degree she doesn’t use. On top of that, she’s a super non-traditional bride, no white dress for this gal, and she proposed to Sam. So, gear up for a different perspective, she’s here to talk the nitty-gritty of getting hitched!
What do you think of Carmen’s engagement story? Share with us in the comments.