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He Said Yes! We Asked Men How They Feel About Women Proposing

Human Interest

Shows like Married At First Sight and 90-Day Fiance prove that matrimony looks a little different than it did when our mother and grandmothers said their vows. Wedding traditions like jumping the broom and losing your virginity on your wedding night seem like a thing of the past, but there are some customs that seem like they will never go out of style.


For example, it is tradition that a man get down on one knee and propose to his wife-to-be, but with feminism on the rise causing a number of gender norms to be thrown out the window, it may soon become socially acceptable for a woman to ask for her man's hand in marriage.

Over the past few weeks, I've seen a number of videos where a woman gets down on one knee, followed with a slew of negative comments echoing the sentiment that it's a man's responsibility to propose. Some people have even used the Bible as a reference to support their argument, quoting a scripture I'm sure we're all familiar with:

"He that findeth a good woman, findeth a good thing; and of the Lord he shall draw up mirth (and he receiveth favour from the Lord)." (Proverbs 18:22-24)

Mind you, that description technically has nothing to do with a marriage proposal. The debate surrounding role reversal in marriage proposals has split the internet down the middle, so to get down to the bottom of this argument, I did a little bit of research. First, let's talk a little about how this ritual came to be in the first place.

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In the past, marriage was symbolic of a business agreement between two families. Historically, marriage was a ritual that ensured that children were legitimately conceived. Many of these marriages were arranged and contrary to popular belief had little-to-nothing to do with love or religion. While the first documented marriage dates back to 2350 B.C., in Mesopotamia, other cultures like the Hebrews, Romans, and Greeks adopted the custom over the next hundred years and applied their own traditions. Marriage between two people didn't officially become associated with the Roman Catholic church until the eighth century, and marriage for love didn't become a concept until the middle ages.

Around the 18th century, it became more of a custom that people choose their own spouses, but still, women often played a muted role in this process. Whether their spouses were arranged or chosen by their own initiative, it has always been tradition that a man ask a woman (or her father) for her hand in marriage.

In a nutshell, there is no biblical or historical reason why a woman shouldn't propose. Getting down on one knee isn't necessarily reserved for one gender. If you love someone, and they love you, why shouldn't a woman feel comfortable enough with her man to propose? Because... double standards. That's why.

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This male-dominated language of courtship has continued for centuries, but now, a number of women have taken it into their own hands to take their relationships into the next level. Before writing this article, I could not fathom getting down on one knee to propose to a potential suitor, but after reading other women's reasons for doing it, I can't help but think that asking for a man's hand in marriage is feminist and progressive AF.

Still wary of the concept, I took it to the streets and asked a few of my guy friends what they thought about a woman proposing. Here's what they had to say:

Clif Cooper, 27

Do you want to get married one day?: Yes

How would you feel if a woman proposed to you?: If a woman decided to propose to me, I think I would naturally feel awkward. Also, if the proposal of her asking me were to happen in a public setting, I would for sure feel nervous. I understand that progression exists and certain things change, but sometimes, it's OK to stick with tradition. Personally, I would want to be the one to put myself out there and ask for her hand in marriage.

Bryant Albert, 26

Do you want to get married one day?: Yes

How would you feel if a woman proposed to you?: I would feel like I haven't done my part as a man to make her feel wanted and secure enough to trust me to propose. Especially because that would be something I expressed in my relationship. I would take a great deal of pride in making her feel like the most special woman in the world. So, if she were to propose, I would have to assume that I gave her no other option.

Jordan Gray, 29

Do you want to get married one day?: Yes

How would you feel if a woman proposed to you?: If a woman proposed to me I would feel flattered. I'd feel flattered that someone found me worthy enough to want to marry me without me asking them. However, I would just feel uneasy because in my mind proposing to the spouse is the man's role. I feel like it has to do with masculinity in the relationship and my masculinity would have decreased.

Although time has passed, and marriage is no longer thought of as a business negotiation, it is still a formal agreement. One that, with discussion and planning, can be proposed by either party in the relationship. But before giving your man the chance to tell his family, "She went to Jared," take these things into consideration:

  • Have you two discussed your thoughts and expectations of marriage to one another?
  • Is he someone who would be flattered or insulted by such a grand gesture?
  • What does it mean for your relationship if he says no?
  • ASK HIM how he feels about the idea of a woman proposing.

I'm no marriage counselor, but the consensus of my friends' statements make it a "nah" for me dawg. It seems like proposing to their dream girl is a pretty big deal for men, and I would never want to rob my soon-to-be husband of that opportunity. But, I also know that every relationship is different, and some women say that proposing to their man took a lot of a pressure off of him and don't regret their decision one bit.

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After gathering this information, I see that the reasons a lot of people don't agree with gender reversed proposals are rooted in a somewhat patriarchal ideology. After this survey, I also will admit that I will never, ever get down on one knee, but, knowing the historical background of marriage proposals makes me think twice about judging the next woman who decides to.

Featured image by Getty Images.

Related Articles:

6 Women Share Their Unforgettable Proposal Stories - Read More

My Relationship Expectations Almost Ruined My Man's Proposal - Read More

9 Months After We Broke Up, I Proposed - Read More

This article is in partnership with Xfinity.

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