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14 Men Reveal Why They Decided To Put A Ring On It

"I proposed within a year after moving in together. I knew it was time because her love brought me to a place of peace that I had never known within my life."

Love & Relationships

I remember when I first got engaged thirteen years ago. There were exes and guys coming out of the woodwork, professing their so-called love or appreciation for me, and trying to "apologize" for how they treated me in the past. However, I wasn't the least bit concerned because I was focused on my future with my actual fiance, now husband, and I knew we were meant to be together. Nevertheless, it was a testament to the reality that sometimes and unfortunately: people only see the potential for what could've been when they see you doing well by yourself or with someone else.

Will Packer's new hit show, Put A Ring On It, on the OWN Network (airing Fridays at 10pm EST) seems to share similar sentiments - for both the women and the men. The basic premise of the show is to help couples determine if they're with the love of their life and if marriage is the next step with the help of Dr. Nicole LaBeach...and by going on dates with other people. Each couple engages in work to help them unpack their baggage and issues. As you can imagine, it really interesting witnessing their reactions, or lack thereof, when their partners start dating other people.

While these couples are still debating about taking the next step towards marriage, we wanted to talk to some real-life married men, and even a few who are engaged, and find out specifically what convinced them it was time to pop the question.*

Toby & Rynetta: Married for 17 years, Dated for two and half years

Courtesy of Toby and Rynetta

How He Proposed: Toby surprised Rynetta on her birthday by acting like he was bringing her breakfast that morning.

Why He Proposed: "After dating for two and a half years, I realized that Rynetta was different. She pushed me in ways that others didn't and I was all the better for it. I knew that it was time to take the next step. Rynetta had all the qualities that I was looking for in a wife. I knew at that point she was the woman that I was committed to spending the rest of my life with."

Patrick & Angela: Married 9 years, Dated for about two and half years

Courtesy of Patrick and Angela

How He Proposed: Patrick called on Angela's sister and some of his friends who helped him arrange what she thought was a "girls' dinner". Nevertheless, it turned out to be a surprise proposal when he walked into the restaurant with Jamie Foxx's "When I First Saw You" playing over the restaurant's sound system.

Why He Proposed: "A year before I met Angela, I was immature! I ended up going through a tough situation and at the conclusion of that situation, I asked God to make me spiritually and emotionally ready for the next woman. Over the course of a year, I had a true transformation and became a better man. One weekend, I came home to my parent's house for a party. My sister was home as well with a friend from college. I walked upstairs to see my sister and noticed her friend, but only from behind. Once I saw the back of her head, God told me that's your wife. Once I moved my sister out of the way (because she was blocking the door), I went over and introduced myself. Then, I went back downstairs and told my best friend, 'I just met my wife.'

"I was ready to propose from the moment I saw her, but I needed to prepare myself financially to provide the proposal, ring, and future home she deserved. When everything was set in place, I started taking her to jewelers to look at rings, unbeknownst to her that I had already customized a ring for her (with the help of my sister)."

Jacob & Saneda: Married 6 years, Dated for 4 years

Courtesy of Jacob and Saneda

How He Proposed: While on their first trip to Canada, Jacob proposed to Saneda as they enjoyed an intimate dinner at the CN Tower's 360-degree restaurant. As she was reaching into her purse, he reached for the iced-out jewelry box from his pocket.

Why He Proposed: "I never really had one particular moment of clarity when it came to popping the question. Rather it was a culmination of things and it was like all the stars aligned. Not often does one find someone who matches their wit and intelligence, shares similar morals, and enhances your overall life experience. Yet all those things were true. Together, we were living our best life. She would sometimes mention random engagement announcements and things of the sort, so I knew that she was ready, or at least she was making sure I knew that it was something she looked forward to.

"As referenced in a freestyle on some of my earlier work, we moved in 'after only two months, fell in love after only two pumps (she had very nice shoes)'. Since we were already committed to each other and sharing our home, it seemed like the next natural step. No need in putting off the inevitable. I embraced it, and it was one of the best decisions."

"I never really had one particular moment of clarity when it came to popping the question. Rather it was a culmination of things and it was like all the stars aligned. Not often does one find someone who matches their wit and intelligence, shares similar morals, and enhances your overall life experience. Yet all those things were true. Together, we were living our best life."

Harmakhu (“Khu”) & Jackie: Married 7 and a half years

Courtesy of Khu and Jackie

How He Proposed: Khu convinced Jackie to join her in their living room to watch a movie, but she was surprised to walk in and see that some of her family was there waiting to greet her. Khu got down on one knee and proposed to her in front of their family and friends.

Why He Proposed: "Timing is everything and even though we met in high school and had crushes on each other, we didn't date until after reuniting at our 10-year high school reunion. Since we had a good history and understanding of one another, Jackie and I moved in together after only a few months of dating. Upon moving in together, Jackie made it crystal-clear that she was not trying to shack up and would expect marriage plans within a couple of years. I loved the boundary-setting as it was a goal that I could mutually see for myself with her.

"I proposed within a year after moving in together. I knew it was time because her love brought me to a place of peace that I had never known within my life. During the first six months of dating, I received two promotions, so home and work life definitely took on a new meaning with our partnership. Having already experienced combined finances, planning, and working through the kinds of quirks or kinks that present itself when you cohabitate the same space was everything. It felt natural and it flowed, and marriage was the cherry on top to what we were building together."

Okino & Brianna: Married for 3 years

Courtesy of Okino and Brianna

How He Proposed: Okino lit some candles in their apartment in Florida, got down on one knee, and popped the question to Brianna.

Why He Proposed: "My wife, Brianna, is my soulmate, best friend, and I knew I wanted to be with her forever. We used to sit and talk for hours. We are different in many ways and similar in other ways, but the way she helps me be vulnerable and handles it with care speaks volumes. She is loving, caring, and kind. I knew I had to make it official because I could not let this love bug pass me by. It's one of life's greatest gifts to share and experience love, and when you do, you hold on to it. So, that's what I did."

Anthony & Radiance: Married almost 3 years, Dated two months before they got engaged

Courtesy of Anthony and Radiance

How He Proposed: Anthony surprised Radiance during Thanksgiving in her hometown of Cleveland, OH at her aunt's house with Anthony Hamilton's "Amen" playing in the background. He arranged it so that when it came time to bless the food, Radiance's mom asked him to do it so that he could use the opportunity to propose to her.

Why He Proposed: "We used to volunteer together, and then one Sunday, Radiance walked in and God told me she was my wife. After praying for His guidance, He revealed who had been in front of me for three years. I was ready to be the man and husband God wanted me to be. God confirmed it in different ways, so I was ready to pop the question."

"One Sunday, Radiance walked in and God told me she was my wife. After praying for His guidance, He revealed who had been in front of me for three years. I was ready to be the man and husband God wanted me to be."

Frederick & Jasmine: Married 3 years, Dated for 4 years

Courtesy of Frederick and Jasmine

Photographer Credit: Keighla Fox

How He Proposed: Since Frederick and Jasmine have big personalities, it was only fitting that the proposal was just as grand. Frederick proposed to Jasmine after jumping 14,000-feet out of the air skydiving.

Why He Proposed: "Jasmine is my best friend. I wanted to be committed and spend the rest of my life with her. I loved her spirit, her personality, her tenacity, and her work ethic. I knew that not only would she make an amazing wife, but a good mother, daughter-in-law and life partner. She has all of the qualities of an angel. I'm blessed every day to do life with her."

Thaddeus & Lauren: Married for two years, Dated for 7 years

Courtesy of Thaddeus and Lauren

How He Proposed: Initially, Thaddeus planned to propose to Lauren before they boarded a plane headed on vacation. However, since the ring was "burning a hole" in his pocket and he couldn't wait, he was on one knee asking her to marry him as soon as they arrived at the airport.

Why He Proposed: "I knew I was ready to pop the question when I realized I was the happiest when she was around, and when she wasn't around, I wanted her around. To understand how that meant a lot to me, you'd have to understand me. I really appreciate my alone time. So, the fact that I desired to have someone in my space and didn't want them to leave is when I knew I was ready. I didn't have a desire for anything else that didn't include her as a part of if.

"When I would think about future plans, I always considered her and how this would affect us, not just me. When I realized, I was making decisions based on what was best for us, I knew it was time for me to make us a forever thing. Lauren is literally my best friend. I truly feel like we are one because of how we have always poured into each other. "

"When I would think about future plans, I always considered her and how this would affect us, not just me. When I realized, I was making decisions based on what was best for us, I knew it was time for me to make us a forever thing. Lauren is literally my best friend. I truly feel like we are one because of how we have always poured into each other. "

Lance & Alison: Married for 10 months, Dated for a little over a year

Courtesy of Lance and Alison

How He Proposed: While visiting Alison's hometown in Cleveland, Ohio and after dinner with family and friends, Lance proposed to Alison before walking back into their Airbnb.

Why He Proposed: "We faced a couple of issues while dating and we were able to resolve them with communication and honesty. We both accepted each other's flaws, goofy selves, and worked on making each other better. Spending time together was not stressful, in fact, it was easy. I know marriage and love is work, but we do the work together to improve our love. We made plans together to travel, and even going to common places like the grocery store is fun and exciting. We have seen each other at our worst and love each other anyway. I felt and still feel a strong connection whenever she is in the room, and I couldn't live life without her in it."

Glenn & Kiamesha: Married 4 months, Dated for 4 years

Courtesy of Glenn and Kiamesha

Photo Credit: Peridot Imagery

How He Proposed: While visiting Marrakesh, Morocco, Glenn proposed to Kiamesha inside a courtyard while playing "Blessed" by Daniel Caesar. In college, they studied how Moroccans used the courtyard typology to fend off French colonists, so it was only fitting to propose there.

Why He Proposed: "The proposal is always performative and romantic, but imagine deciding a lifetime commitment without communication. Marriage was always discussed and planned so it was never an individual decision. Legacy was the driver for my decision...reclaiming history through marriage and re-imagining our future through children."

Colby Boone & Kheiston: Married 3 months, Dated for 8 months

Courtesy of Colby and Kheiston

Photo Credit: James Willis Photography @james_willis_photography

How He Proposed: Inspired by Pinterest, Colby created an intimate and romantic atmosphere with rose petals, balloons, music, and a scripture written on a whiteboard, and asked for Kheiston's hand in marriage right there in their apartment.

Why He Proposed: "I had the ring for almost a month, and with the pandemic and social injustice, the idea of waiting to be with someone knowing that tomorrow isn't promised didn't seem right. I believe one of the greatest decisions I made was not waiting. Instead, I took a leap and we're pressing toward the goals that we have for ourselves and for what we believe we were put together in this world to do. It was a huge step for me that took effort and creativity especially since all my friends are single. But I'm so glad to start this journey with my best friend, now wife."

Kenneth & Kamirah: Married for two months, Dated for 10 years

Courtesy of Kenneth and Kamirah

How He Proposed: Kenneth proposed to Kamirah at her first annual women's empowerment event in Atlantic City in front of her family and friends.

Why He Proposed: "I honestly always knew that I wanted to get married and start my own family because I was raised by my parents who have been married all my life. I knew even before I saw Kamirah in person that I wanted her in my life. I got to see Kamirah initially through Myspace. It wasn't until my senior year in high school that I got to see Kamirah in person.
After years of dating, I knew that I didn't want to waste any more time. So, I decided to make us official. She has always loved me, respected me and made me feel better than any woman I had previously been with. She has a great sense of humor, she's gorgeous, smart, and VERY ambitious. She doesn't let anything hold her back. I knew I was ready to pop the question because she made me feel secure and complete. She has always loved me unconditionally and pushed me to be the best me I can be! I knew I couldn't and didn't want to live without her so it was my choice to make her Mrs. Brown."

Mike & Courtney: Engaged - Proposed in 2020, Dated for almost a year

Courtesy of Mike and Courtney

How He Proposed: Mike surprised his fiancee by telling her they were shooting a birthday video for his sister. After decorating a loft, hiring a live guitarist, and arranging it so that family and friends could witness it all through livestream, she arrived totally shocked to see him down on one knee proposing to her.

Courtesy of Mike and Courtney

Why He Proposed: "As cliche as it sounds, I knew Courtney was the one from the moment we started talking. My sister lost her first child to preterm labor a year or so prior and I had been praying for another niece or nephew. At the same time, I asked God to send me my wife. We exchanged numbers on Instagram and even though I hated talking on the phone, we spent 10 hours on FaceTime the first time we spoke. Those 10 hours felt like five minutes and by the end we knew everything about each other and how much we had in common.

"The icing on the cake is that I learned my fiancee was a midwife. God answered both my prayers because my sister got pregnant with my now seven-month-old nephew who was cared for during labor by my now-fiancee. This year has brought a lot of loss and many people are missing their loved ones from the dinner table. So, for me, it was a wake-up call that tomorrow isn't promised and I need to let this woman know I want her to be my wife. Hence, I popped the question."

"This year has brought a lot of loss and many people are missing their loved ones from the dinner table. So, for me, it was a wake-up call that tomorrow isn't promised and I need to let this woman know I want her to be my wife. Hence, I popped the question."

Jordan & Jazmyne: Engaged - Proposed in 2020, Dated for almost 3 years

Courtesy of Jordan and Jazmyne

How He Proposed: Jordan arranged for a surprise proposal at their church as well as an engagement photo shoot immediately following the proposal.

Why He Proposed: "I knew Jazmyne was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. We have talked every single day since the very first day we met. I honestly couldn't imagine going a day without talking to her. It's like we are perfect for each other. We complement each other so well and I truly see her as my companion. She helps me to be a better man. She has done so much for me and no one has ever treated me the way she treats me. That's how I knew I was ready. I have so much to be thankful for from her, so putting a ring on it was really the least I could do. I love that girl so much. Not a day goes by where she isn't the first person I think of when I wake up and the last when I fall asleep. I tell her all the time that she deserves everything and I mean that. I'm so blessed to have her in my life and I can't wait to marry her."

*Some phrases may have been slightly modified or paraphrased for the sake of clarity.

Featured image courtesy of Jordan & Jazmyne

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
Sign up

Featured image by Shutterstock

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