We had been living together for about a year in a house we bought together when he moved here from California. When we began dating he was in the middle of a divorce, which seemed pretty cut and dried. Sometimes it pays to ask the big questions. Things like "So, did you ever actually take care of that divorce?"
The answer would have been, "No, I changed my mind about that. I haven't had a chance to tell you yet because I don't want any confrontation." That is pretty much exactly what the letter on the top of the pile said. "Dear Mr. *****, We have attempted to contact you on several occasions over the past two months with no response. You initiated these divorce proceedings, yet... "
I could give you a list of reasons he had decided to leave. Some were valid, some were idiotic, some were just painful. The fact is that he left. I cried. We tried to make it work as a long distance couple, with him promising to finish his divorce when he got back. But after that, I had lost faith and I'm sure it felt like I was "phoning it in", which is humorous because that was how we managed to stay in contact for the most part.
When I opened the email I was expecting the worst. We'd been fighting on the phone, over Instant Messenger, in email, and pretty much every form of non-physical communication we could find. If we'd had beepers we'd have beep warred. Just seeing the message there in my inbox, sans subject line, made me grow cold. There was a knot in my throat, panic in my heart, and a tightening in my chest. I felt like throwing up and I hadn't even opened it yet.
Imagine my surprise when I read the opening lines of his marriage proposal. That's right folks, a marriage proposal, via email. ~Swoon~ You were probably thinking he was totally heartless and I was going to go all evil man hater on his sorry ass, huh? But wait! There's more! (FINALLY A PLACE IT FITS!)
Beneath his request for my hand in marriage was a brief description of what was to follow. The contract. You heard me... a marriage contract. Lord help me, I hoped we have enough livestock for my dowry!
The list of conditions was lengthy.
Parts were humorous
7. You will agree to allow me to pleasure you sexually until such time as I am no longer physically able.
Parts were oddly romantic
9. You will allow me to cherish you until the day I die.
But the rest...the rest was where I completely lost my mind
4. You will lose a minimum of 4 pounds a month for the 10 months remaining on my deployment.
6. You will complete a minimum of 3 credit hours of study toward degree completion in one of the following areas.
10-13. You will You will You will... fix everything I deem to be wrong with you. (okay he didn't write that but it pretty much sums up the rest of the list)
I know what you're thinking, how freaking awesome is that?! Take out the guess work. Do away with all that "what if" crap that comes with marriage. Get those issues out of the table now and attack them head on and you'll have a happy marriage! Don't get me wrong, there are times when I miss that directness. Sick, I know. But, I usually knew where I stood. Unfortunately, I did not take up the gauntlet on this one. Instead I sent back something along the lines of, "You've GOT to be kidding me." In return I received something like, "If you really love me..." to which I responded with, "If you really loved me you'd be better looking."
Then I showed it to all of my girlfriends.
For those who believe this to be a work of fiction, I'm posting the FB comment from one of my gfs who remembers "the proposal". ;)
Tell me about your marriage proposal(s)! Whether you accepted or extended a proposal, refused it or were turned down. Tell me what your experience is with this little tradition.