My partner Carl and I have been together for nearly four years. He is my first long term boyfriend (my last relationship lasted just a year!) and we bought a house together in October last year. I guess it was only natural that being a woman, I’d be the one dropping hints about marriage.
We had discussed marriage quite early on in the relationship and agreed that it was something we’d both like to do at some point in the future, but Carl had said that he believes marriage is a religious institution so wasn’t too fussed about it either way.
Unfortunately for me, and most women my age, I’d grown up watching all the Disney ‘happily ever after’ fairy tales where the Prince rescues the Damsel in Distress and they get married and live happily ever after.
It dawned on me very recently, that I’m in a relationship with a man who wasn’t surrounded by the fairy tale romance ideal that is thrown down the throats of us ladies. He’s a man – he doesn’t watch chick flicks obsessively like I do. He doesn’t live vicariously through the Sex and the City crew or the Gilmore Girls like I do.
The ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’ idiom is one that is true, at least for me. It was this realisation that made me stop and think ‘no, fuck you Disney, I’m doing this my way’ – So I decided to fuck every fairy tale and chick flick I’d grown up with and decided to move my relationship on myself. I asked Carl to marry me one night as we were sat on the sofa. I instigated ring shopping by saving my favourites to my Etsy account and asking Carl his opinion. When I found the ‘one’ I showed it to him and he gave me his card to buy it.
It wasn’t until we were lying in bed one night and he turns to me and says ‘give me back the ring, I want to do it properly when we’re in Marrakech’ – and he did. He got down on one knee, with the ring, on top of the terrace and asked me to marry him. Of course, I said yes! But, I didn’t NEED him to get down on one knee and propose. I was happy being the instigator in the proposal, but he obviously felt like he wanted to propose to me too and that was lovely.
We’ve had a very egalitarian relationship from the beginning – we both cook, we both clean, we both make financial decisions, we discuss everything together. It seemed that we also managed to have an egalitarian engagement too!
I’m not saying, by any means, that ‘romance is dead’ or that I forced my partner into agreeing to marry me. By telling our story, I’m trying to diffuse the myth that a relationship (or marriage) is all about a man getting down on one knee. It doesn’t have to be that way – FUCK DISNEY, FUCK THE CHICK FLICKS. Also, fuck the ‘leap year’ idea that a woman can only propose to her man during a leap year – how the fuck does that make any difference!? Honestly!
There is no shame in a woman asking a man to marry her. Let’s break down the patriarchal dictatorship that rules our lives and say no to being the damsel in distress. I am not a princess locked in a tower, waiting for a knight in shining armour to save me. I’m a woman, who deeply loves her partner and wants to be legally married to him, to be his wife. Why does the man have to do the asking? In my world, he doesn’t.
(Photos taken on the roof terrace of Riad Assouel in old town Marrakech, Morocco)