Ten years ago, after a year of renovation kicked off by a housewarming “Before Party”, we hosted an “After Party”, which became the “(Happily Ever) After Party”. We pledged our devotion to each other and were declared, by virtue of superpowers claimed by the MC, to be “well and truly united”.
In the ten years since, we have recognized how well-matched we truly are: emotionally, intellectually, physically. We have had marvelous adventures, and we have nurtured and watched our families grow while sharing in the losses of our elders. We recognize in each other the love of our life.
I once encountered a story about a 90-year-old man who filed for divorce from his life-long spouse. The clerk at the courthouse asked, “why after all these years would you file for divorce NOW?” His answer: “I don’t want to die married to that awful woman!”
And I suddenly realized that I did not want to die NOT married to this wonderful woman!
It’s a tricky thing, proposing marriage. You want to know what the answer will be. And at our age, there are complications. Neither of us wanted to inflict “spousal impoverishment” on the other because of potential long-term health risks. And property and inheritance issues become entangled. We had talked about these things, and her sensibilities advised her against it.
But marriage is a powerful symbol in our society, one which is strongly encouraged by the state and other institutions. And it is a symbol that I would like to be embodied in the public record, to be seen by my descendants, a willful act indicating my love, devotion, and commitment to this wonderful woman.
As I said, it is a tricky thing proposing marriage. Some men go to extravagant measures to make a big impression on their beloved, but this didn’t seem quite right to me. Instead, I thought maybe a hand-crafted card, delivered during a romantic dinner would convey my earnest request, make a positive impression, and elicit the desired response.
So recently, at a novel nearby restaurant, I presented to her a View-Master containing a reel that held pictures portraying our history– from teenagers, to (late life) lovers, to domestic partners, to travelers and adventurers, to becoming family elders, and ending with a frame that asked: “Will you marry me?” She looked through them, clicking and advancing the reel while I nervously watched. When she reached the end, she put the viewer down and with tears in her eyes, said quietly, “yes”.
I was simply elated.
wow fantastic! so happy for both of you