“Know what the needs of your body are, what the needs of your mind are, and what fits well with you. There are millions of men and women, and some will make a good match for you and others won’t. The two of you only need to be a key in the lock – a match that works.” –Don Miguel Ruiz, The Mastery of Love (Toltec Wisdom Card Deck)
We got engaged last week! And we wanted to share our exciting engagement and proposal experience with you.
The Mutual Proposal
Getting engaged, for us, was about choice. Proposing was the result of many joint decisions and came from the belief that we are indeed ‘a match that works’ and, in our view, two wholes sharing a path. It involved making decisions around a process (i.e. How do we or I want to get engaged?) and a set of outcomes (i.e. Do I want to "marry" this person?).
In our view, there is no wrong way to become engaged as long as you engage in a method that matches your values, attitudes and beliefs regarding your relationship.
After spending some time researching and discussing our opinions together, we chose an approach to engagement known as a ‘mutual proposal’ – which implies that both partners propose.
Just like there’s no one way of proposing, there’s also no one way of mutually proposing. While some couples ask “will you marry me?” to each other and exchange two rings, others ask the question to each other and only offer one ring. Other mutual proposals don’t involve rings or the question at all.
What’s common to most mutual proposals is that it’s up to both people from start to finish. It involves dialogue, and it allows both partners to shape the proposal experience together. The fact that we could bring in elements of both our styles into the proposal experience made it a lot of fun!
The entire process was authentic, symbolic and meaningful, but not in the form that many people have come to expect. We chose this process for a number of reasons.
For Lindsey, a mutual proposal aligned with her personal principles that are rooted in feminism. Gender roles are changing and this change can be extended to the marriage proposal in a way that allows it to highlight a sense of agency for both parties involved.
David doesn’t subscribe to traditional gender roles in relationships either, and he felt that a mutual proposal best suited his approach to relationships: reflective, dynamic, intentional, collaborative, structured yet flexible and spontaneous, and respectful of two wholes sharing a path.
Ultimately, the mutual proposal made the most sense for us because it made space for us to be our own people, but also to create a shared experience. What’s good for you will depend on who you are and who you want to be in your relationship. Take a look at what we did to see if it could work for you.
The Relationship Zen Mutual Proposal
A blank canvas
An object that represented our relationship
We decided to do this on the new moon and while we were on vacation to make it extra special. We began by laying out all the materials. Then,
We lit incense, meditated and grounded ourselves.
We interpreted what each card meant for our relationship (past, present, and future). For example, Lindsey pulled “Gaia: wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual awakening” and David pulled “To begin a great relationship, know what you want.” This part was quite intriguing… and relevant!
We asked each other questions about the present and future of our relationship. The conversation was heartwarming. Some questions we asked were:
“What’s been amazing?”, and
“What are you looking forward to improving as a couple?”
“What future do you want to create together as a married couple?”
We set intentions with objects that represent our relationship. One of our objects was a “Zen” style rock in the shape of a heart that we had found on one of our adventures together.
Throughout each of the steps, we used a canvas to write words and draw images that stuck with us throughout the proposal process. This was a really fun part of the experience. By the end, the piece of art carried words such as:
“new growth”: awareness that we are committing to the next step in our relationship that will contain various challenges and opportunities that we will grow from;
“embrace”: fully appreciating the ‘good, bad and ugly’ of each other;
“dream”: don’t get caught up in the mundane, have fun, be ambitious, and create a future together.
The ring! ‘If you like it, then you [could] put a ring on it’… so we did. Don’t forget to put your intentions for your relationship in the ring(s) as well. The ring holds another intention. Lindsey has a special relationship with her grandparents. So, she wanted to have a ring that was given to her mother by Lindsey’s grandmother and grandfather as a symbol of their lovely relationship.
The element of surprise. We still appreciate the element of surprise associated with ‘traditional’ proposals, so with the advice of some friends, David also presented Lindsey with a bracelet that matched her ring. It serves as a reminder of our mutual proposal each time David puts it on Lindsey’s wrist.
Not only was it an exciting and memorable way to confirm our commitment, but it was about honouring our past and envisioning the future as two wholes sharing a path.
This article is not meant to be a prescription – it’s meant to be a source of inspiration or reflection. We invite you to take what you need from it.
The article also serves as an announcement that we’re engaged! Thank you for helping us along our journey. Your comments, questions, suggestions, interest, and friendship have been greatly appreciated.
We look forward to continuing to share our experience. As always, please let us know what you think in the comment section or on our Facebook group. What are your thoughts and feelings around wedding proposals?
Sending you positive vibes,
“Love does not consist of gazing at each other, but in looking together in the same direction.” -Antoine de Saint-Exupery