Will You Marry Me??

It's a warm fall day, the kind of evening when the wind and sun seem to be harmonizing to create a euphoric feeling of appreciation. The beautiful couple strolls on the boardwalk after having dinner on their date night. The energy is complementing the most beautiful scenery. The sky is painted with all the colors of the sun's descent. A picture would do it no justice.

"Hey Babe, You know how we always say that if we feel something, no matter what it is, we have to say it?” A head nods in agreement. “Well, I’m grateful to have you in my life” (drops to one knee) “ I honestly can’t imagine doing this life journey without you with me. When I think of the most fulfilling moments of my life. I think of you! How you always support me, love me and encourage me to be the best me that I can be. From this day forward, I want to be sure that every high, every low that I will face will be with you by my side….Will You Marry Me?” A perfect stillness takes over Ezra as he looks in the eyes of his now fiance as he says “Yes!!” Pulling Inca close to him as they both kiss with feelings of overwhelming joy.

Marriage proposals have long been initiated by men in relationships. Men in most cultures are nurtured to be the providers in the family, to hunt (work), gather (put together resources) and provide (bring it back to the family). A man was identified as the person who should decide to marry because it was thought that a man had much more to lose in marriage. Also, it was believed that a man was more level-headed.

Many factors have contributed to a shift in the ideals around men controlling the next level of the relationship. Women are able to earn, also on June 26, 2015, a historical event took place. The U.S. Supreme Court made it legal for same sex marriage. Same sex marriages not only opened the door for people to love and marry who they choose. It also brought a lot of women to their knees.

While many may see the shift in roles as a cultural difference, others may see it as tradition. There has been an increase in the number of women who are willing to propose to their mates in heterosexual relationships, defying all cultural and traditional ways. Or are they?

Surprisingly, the act of women proposing to men has been around for centuries for a group of people living off Guinea-Bissau. The Orango people are a matriarchal society in which the woman chooses her husband. However the European tradition of kneeling (which originated in Medieval times as a sign to show respect and honor to a superior Lord) is not their tradition. The women prepare a special fish marinated in red palm oil and give it to the suitor of their choice. The man accepts by eating the fish. The ceremony includes tribal dancing that expresses a form of communication and is performed amongst the community. A man that refuses the proposal is shamed. The women of this village make all the decisions and rules, even building their home by hand for their new union.

While some men strongly disagree with having their woman kneel before them, a survey of users shows that men actually do like women who take the initiative. 70% of men said they would prefer the woman to make the first move when it came to the first kiss or exchanging of phone numbers. Even more shocking is 95% of men said they would be thrilled to have a woman propose to them.

As new generations redefine gender roles, women are stepping outside of boxes and going for what they want. Still, 95% of women say “Absolutely Not!” when asked if they would get on one knee for their significant other.

Ironically in Nigeria, traditional Nigerian men believe kneeling to be a renunciation of their manhood. Nollywood actor Peter Enochie explains, “Any young man who gets on his knees to propose to a girl, is not just an idiot, he’s a bloody fool, a compound buffoon” He continues to say he believes it’s copying off “white folks''. `` Explaining that when men kneel to their wives they are giving up their power and it’s why women in western culture take over the house.

Wherever you are in this world, whatever your beliefs or customs, the best way to do life is on your terms. Happy proposing…or not :)

-Hyacinth Powell

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