This erotic romance author’s (un)romantic marriage proposal…

Last week I mentioned that my husband and I were celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary and shared details of how we met. For your amusement, I’d like to reveal how my beloved proposed marriage.

As an author, I should jump into the middle of the action, but bear with some backstory. My husband and I dated for five years before we tied the knot. When we met, he’d only been divorced for two years, after being with his ex-wife for eighteen. They’d married when he was 21, so he’d never had time as a single adult until his divorce. Also, he was (is) 14 years older than me, and was wary about the age difference. We didn’t  exchange the “L word” until we’d been dating for a year and half.

Although I have seen successful marriages occur after very short courtships, in principle, I do not believe that rushing into marriage is a good idea. However, waiting five years is extreme in the other direction. Although I understood my husband’s hesitation, around our third year of dating, I began pushing (he would say hard) for marriage. He continued to resist.

One time when we were discussing marriage hypothetically, he slipped.

“When we get married–” he said.

I pounced. “When we get married?”

If we get married.”

“But you said when.”

“But I meant if!”

In the spring of our fourth year of dating he asked what I wanted for my birthday, which is in August.

“I want an engagement ring,” I said. See, I was willing to work with him and allow him to kill two birds with one stone. I’m flexible and open to compromise that way. 🙂

His response was something along the lines of, “What you do want that you have a chance of getting?”

At that time, I’d just purchased my first computer.  It sat on a folding table I’d borrowed from my husband, and I was using one of my dining chairs. So I figured if I couldn’t have an engagement ring, I may as well have a comfortable chair.

We shopped for computer chairs, I sat in them, and showed him the one wanted.

Fast forward a couple of months to June (still not my birthday). One evening at his house he asked, “Do you want your birthday present now or do you want to wait?”

First I said I wanted to wait, but then I got to thinking. He was going out of town for a few weeks and I had planned to get a lot of writing done in his absence. It would be nice to have a comfortable chair, I decided. “Okay, I’ll take it now.”

“I’ll go get it,” he said and left the room.

He reappeared sans chair and shoved a little black velvet box into my hands and said…

[Drum roll]

[Wait for it]

Here. Maybe now this will get you off my back.”

I opened the box. Inside was the ring. “Are you asking me to marry you?”

“Don’t push your luck.”

And that, folks, was my marriage proposal.

It took me twenty years to come up with a romantic spin, but I think I’ve got one:

After all my lobbying, he did surprise me. He planned a ruse that had me truly believing I was getting a computer chair. He shopped for the ring himself. Both of us are pragmatic people. Had he gotten down on one knee, I don’t think either of us could have kept a straight face.

But,”now maybe this will get you off my back?”

Lets just say he gave me something besides a ring — a story he’ll never live down.

Did you have a bad marriage proposal? Please share it!



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24 Responses to This erotic romance author’s (un)romantic marriage proposal…

  1. Sue Lyndon says:

    LOL Cara, I like the romantic spin you put on your proposal!

    Hmm…I can’t say my proposal was “bad” but it sure wasn’t a surprise. My husband came over one evening (I was still living with my parents), and he stayed for a while and we all played Scrabble. Then he tells me it’s getting late and I should get ready for bed (I had an 8am class the next day). I was pissed that he was pretty much ordering me to go to bed (in front of my parents no less!), but I also thought it strange that he wasn’t immediately going home either, so I “pretended” to go to my room, but really found a good place to eavesdrop. Then after a long silence I hear my husband say, “I’d like to take Susan off your hands….” Yep. Take me off their hands! The next day he proposed. I tried my best to act surprised.


    • Cara Bristol says:

      It was kind of sweet that he wanted to ask your parents. I would have been annoyed too if I’d been ordered to go to bed.

  2. Lina Sacher says:

    That is too funny. Way too funny. I love that proposal. That’s how I would propose if I were a dude. My husband, however, likes the romantic stuff. He asked me to marry him while down on one knee, in front of a pretty pond, and with our dog kinda doing the kneeling thing too and asked “will you marry us?” It was cute, but I said “no, I’m not marrying the dog.” I’m quite the spoilsport.

  3. My husband popped the question while I was half asleep. I guess that was one way to take the pressure off! I gave a sleepy, automatic yes, then my brain said, “Wait a minute! What just happened?”

  4. A.M. Buxton says:

    Cara, that was the best horrible story I have ever heard! It had me laughing out loud many times. And I thought mine was unromantic. My husband and I sat (on opposite sides) in his truck in the mall parking lot and he said, “So you want to get married or something?” No ring, no knee. Super romantic. We did, however, go buy a ring immediately. And I can honestly say I could never imagine in a million years my husband going down on one knee: He has a romantic learning disability. He makes up for it by fixing things.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      But you decided together. That’s sweet. My husband is good at fixing things too. I his own words: “I’m a handy fucker.”

  5. Cara, that is a great story. Not the typical romantic proposal, but at least it’s a fun story to tell, and yes, one he will never live down. I ruined my own proposal.
    My man stopped by my work and told me when I got home to get dressed up, that we were going out to a nice dinner. I thought he was trying to cheer me up, I’d had a couple of not-so-great days before then. I got home, got all done up and he met me in the bedroom. He had on a polo shirt that was buttoned all the way up and he necklace was under the collar, but tuck into his shirt. He looked stupid. Well, I can’t have my man looking foolish in public, so quickly pulled the tucked in necklace out of his shirt. On the necklace was my engagement ring. He got down on his knee and proposed. He loves to tell that story. =)

    • Cara Bristol says:

      That was a sweet proposal. I can picture it: she won’t notice that I have my shirt buttoned all the way…

  6. Jade Cary says:

    What a great story. He sounds like a real tease. I love it.

    Tom proposed while we were in bed, before we had to get up for work. We weren’t living together, but I was ‘sleeping over’ (sorry, mom). He went over all of the bullet points he feels every about-to-be-married couple should go over (how many kids, will we allow parents to live with us, etc), and apparently I answered them all correctly. “So, will you marry me?” Pause. Pause. Pause. Pause.


    “Yay.” Kiss kiss. Two kids and 28 years later, my stomach still flips when he enters the room. He is my reward for something I did right somewhere along the way. I am a lucky girl.

    I think you are too. Love the hands. His look like Tom’s.

  7. Casey McKay says:

    LOL, too funny! I like the “Here. Maybe this will get you off my back.” Super romantic!
    My husband tried so hard to throw me off the scent before we got engaged that we got into a giant argument about a week before. It was right before Christmas and we were shopping at the mall and he asked what I wanted for Christmas. I said “You know what I want.” And he threw a fit– “Now anything I get you is going to look like shit because you want a ring.” He made me feel awful. Then a week later he proposed and I thought he was joking, I had the worst reaction ever. He got down on one knee and everything and I was like “Yeah, sure, okay.” I still feel bad that I didn’t get excited, he caught me off guard.

  8. Oh Cara, this is hilarious!

    My proposal wasn’t romantic either. My other half said. “I guess we better get married…”

    I didn’t even get an engagement ring until much later…I got a baby lol. On the up side, after 31 years, five kids and four grandchildren later, we’re still happy 🙂

  9. Lisa Medley says:

    I stalked my husband since the ninth grade and finally wore him down our freshman year of college. We waited until we graduated and lived together four years before getting married. Honestly, I don’t even remember the actual proposal…did he actually say the words?? I guess by that time it was assumed I had won. Just before Christmas while I was at work at the mall at Famous Barr, he came in and we strolled down the mall during my break. He asked if I wanted a leather jacket for Christmas or an engagement ring. I’m not a jewelry-wearing sort of girl, but you can be assured I chose the ring. Now that ring is in a drawer somewhere and I wear a $10 silver wedding band I bought at the fair (put my original $40 gold one in the same drawer). We celebrated anniversary number 23 this June. I think it’s going to work out.

  10. Aubrey says:

    My husband and I had been together almost a year and had just moved in together the month before. I had no idea he was going to propose and I’m horrible with surprises. We were getting ready to go out and he started saying all these sweet things and got down on one knee and I got upset.

    My eyes bugged and I said, “Shut up, this is not a funny joke. You don’t joke around about these things! Are you serious?!” He then pulled out the ring and I started ugly crying and I guess I kept saying ‘shut up’ and ‘Oh my God, what are you doing?’. He freaked out and was like, “Are you saying no?!”

    I said yes, but I made him wait another two years before we got married. We’ve been together eleven years now and to this day he tries not to surprise me and I love him all the more for it.

    • Cara Bristol says:

      Probably not the reaction he expected! But the proposal took! I guess I feel about marriage proposals the way I feel about marriage v. weddings. It’s the marriage that counts, not the wedding. Same for the proposal.

  11. Toni Sue says:

    That was your guy’s way of being romantic and sweet! My proposal was kind of bass-ackward. We had been living together for about six months and kicking around the idea of making it legal. Toss in Sadie Hawkins Day, a radio announcer’s dare to the female audience (a station we both always listened to), and a very nervous caller (me), and that’s our proposal. Well, my proposal to him. He said yes, thank God! He jokingly tells everyone that he didn’t have the heart to publicly humiliate me. We just celebrated 17 years, so I’m optimistic that things are working out. 😉

  12. Barb Huddleston says:

    What a great story, Cara 🙂 some of the others are, too. My second husband and I were together for three years before we married. I’m not really sure he ever actually proposed, proposed either. One night he took my hand, looked at my grandmother’s opal ring which I wore at the time, and said, “Do you think this can act as an engagement ring until I get into town?” (He lived way out in the country.) That was a November. We never set a date, but the next May when we went to North Missouri to visit my parents, we decided to get married.

    One romantic thing he did–agreed I could keep my former name which I’d had for 29 years and he ordered checks with his name and mine–using that former last name hyphenated with his. Pretty understanding for a basically very conservative guy. I used that double name for a few months until I realized the identity I’d established as a journalist wasn’t all that important. LOL.

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