What do you think of when you imagine the perfect proposal? If you're like most people, it's something straight out of a rom-com, complete with one partner dropping down on one knee while the other gives a resounding "yes!" While it's certainly true that this does happen, it's definitely not always the case—sometimes things pan out a little differently in real life. In fact, in some cases there's no "yes" at all, or the "yes" may come days, weeks, months, or even years after the proposal. Here, four women explain why they made their partners wait for an answer to this important question.
Although Marjie H., from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was crazy about her boyfriend of six months, she says she wasn't ready to get engaged when he dropped down on one knee. "He was wonderful and I loved him, but I wanted to be together for a full year and to naturally experience one really good argument," she says. "It was important for me to know that when that moment came, we could survive it and grow stronger." From a superficial perspective, he asked her in passing, with a younger sister jumping around the room and without a ring, so she replied in surprise, "Is this a proposal? Come back when you're serious." Six months and one healthy disagreement later, he asked the question again, this time with thought, sincerity, and a ring. "We'll be married for 23 years in August of 2019, have three fantastic children, and a dog, and my husband is still my best friend," she says.
Chevron M., from Killeen, Texas, and her partner had been together for almost a year before she had been deployed, which marked the first time in her army career where she had someone waiting for her at home. The couple decided to celebrate their relationship with a vacation in Saint Lucia that would coincide with Chevron's mid-tour leave. "We had a layover that was longer than we expected and the whole time my boyfriend was acting strange and seemed very annoyed about everything, which, in turn, annoyed me. We barely spoke to each other and the trip from the airport to our resort was way too hot and too long. I was worried this would be the first and last vacation we'd take together." His mood, it turned out, was due to nerves. When they finally got to the resort, her then-boyfriend took advantage of a few minutes alone to set up a romantic proposal scene, complete with rose petals and Champagne. But when Chevron returned and saw him holding the ring, she was so shocked that she had misread the situation that she retreated to the bathroom to compose herself. Twenty minutes later, she happily accepted, and though it was a short wait for her new fiancé, she could tell her lack of immediate response was weighing on him. "I have never seen him so happy," she laughs. "He jumped up and hugged me and said, 'I thought you were going to say no.' He also said he hadn't been in the best mood since he wanted everything to be perfect. That's when I realized that communication is so important in a relationship."
For Ashlie W., from Hesperia, California, and her now-husband, the wait was short, too, but just as important. The pair were in San Diego enjoying a nice dinner while gazing out at the sunset when she felt him step away from her. Naturally, she turned around to see him and found him on one knee with a beautiful ring inside of an opened box. "Spews of sweet nothings came pouring out of his mouth and I couldn't believe what was happening," she remembers. While he patiently waited for a response, Ashlie says she was silent before asking a question of her own. "I asked him if he asked for my father's permission first, as this was imperative for me because I was engaged once before to a man that it didn't end up working out with," she explains. "The breakup was awful and my dad was there for me and knew my values more than ever after I spent years healing from that. It was important for me to know that if this man was to become my husband, that he respected and knew me well enough to have gained my father's blessing prior to even asking me." Luckily, his response was "yes," and Ashlie was able to happily give her own long-awaited "yes" in return.
During her senior year at college in St. Louis Helaine F. and her now-husband Burt were introduced by friends. The two started dating pretty quickly, but Helaine was still questioning her feelings for him when he asked her to marry him several months in. "Months later, at my college graduation, Burt asked again if again I said 'no,'" she explains. The pair went their separate ways after she rejected Burt's proposal for the second time, and Helaine used that time apart to think about her future. "Several months after I graduated, I called Burt and asked if the offer for marriage was still on." His answer? A resounding yes. The pair became engaged that November, just shy of a year after they first met. Now, 53 years later, the pair is still happily married and "more in love than ever." "We and our children and grandchildren think the story is a good one and we still laugh about where life has taken us!"