When things go wrong or end badly in any major aspect of our lives, we all fall into one of two camps. Either you think “once bitten twice shy”, or you’re determined to get it right next time. Assuming you do decide to have another go, how do you go about it?
Making your first ever proposal is both exhilarating and terrifying. But it also means you can cut loose a little more. Crafting that first proposal can be a work of art in itself. The second proposal is a little more like the second season of a TV show. You know what worked and what didn’t, and you’re getting another go at it.
Before You (Re)Take The Plunge
We have some ideas for the proposal coming up but, before that, it’s worth thinking about your first marriage. Too often, we blunder our way through things without thinking about what we got wrong last time. When George Santayana said “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”, he was talking about marriage. Okay, so he was really talking about moral philosophy and our habit of refusing to be pragmatic about things. But, nonetheless, it applies as much to marriage as it does to war, which is not the same thing no matter what some might say!
What a potential 2nd marriage does give you, assuming you heed Santayana’s advice, is all the knowledge you didn’t have the first time around. It requires only small modifications in approach and behavior to put right all the things you got wrong first time. And you did get things wrong. Probably lots of things if we’re honest, but no matter. Now’s your chance!
Just because your first marriage ended doesn’t mean it was a disaster. There are many reasons why these things happen. Leaving aside illness or accident, it may just be that you were both too young. You’re different people now and, whilst many couples deal with that okay, not everybody can. You also might be surprised by how many people get married because they feel unable to back out, once things get past a certain point. In such circumstances, it’s difficult to see it ending well. But the point remains that you will have learned enough from that marriage to make this time a whole lot simpler.
The BBC in England, a few years ago, broadcast a sitcom called Dinnerladies. The show had two characters who took 2 full seasons to get together. When they finally did, after a great deal of turmoil, the exchange went like this –
Tony: We’ll be okay, won’t we?
Brenda: No, I think we’ll blunder around, messing it up like everybody else
And there’s an element of that in all relationships. But it doesn’t mean it’s a bad thing. It just means that life is all about learning, and that marriage is a part of that. Take the best of your life to date, and use it to your advantage. Take the worst, flip it around, and do the same. It’s what makes us who we are.
The 2nd Proposal
We’re not going to dwell on the actual marriage itself, that’s for you to figure out, but we are going to take a look at that second first step. The proposal.
A marriage proposal is an odd thing in some ways. It can be the most nerve-racking few seconds of your life, followed immediately by unbridled elation. Assuming you get the answer you want, of course! It is comparable to a full-court basketball shot as the clock is hitting zero. Everything pauses for a fraction of a second until the ball goes through the hoop to win the game. At that point, nothing else matters.
So is it okay to go all out with a second proposal, or should things be a little bit more understated?
The Dos and Don’ts
In case you were wondering, The rules aren’t really any different 2nd time around than they were the 1st time. That doesn’t mean you should use the exact same proposal technique. Even if you’re remarrying the same person, they might not see an exact proposal replica as a good omen. Instead, make it unique to the two of you and both your situation and your personalities.
This time, regardless of what happened the first time around, will probably benefit from a little subtlety. If we’re correct in thinking that you are both a little older and wiser than many first-timers, then there’s also a good chance that you are different people to 10, 15 or even 20 years ago. Bear this in mind, and you’ll stand a good chance of getting it right.
Please, whatever else you do, don’t put the ring in food or drink. A lot of time is spent, by experts, advising people how to keep their ring in the best condition. This means not drowning it in champagne, cream, soup or anything else. It’s messy, inconvenient and might even result in damage to the ring and/or the stones it contains.
Most of all, be you. Your partner wants to marry you, not someone you think you can be.
With all that in mind, here are some suggestions for that 2nd proposal.
Just The Two of You
If you’ve both been through previous proposals, then a nice, relaxed atmosphere can be the best way to propose. Romance doesn’t have to have a dollar value or be in a contrived situation. It can, if you wish, simply be the two of you over a glass of wine or a simple dinner at home.
Short and Simple
Leave the big, heartfelt speeches for Hollywood scriptwriters. The only reason they work so well is that the recipient has literally been told what to say in reply. For you, by all means, say a few words. Tell her how much you love her and what she means to you. Tell her that spending the rest of your life with her will make you happy. Most of all, actually ask her to marry you! You’d be amazed how many times prospective fiancés get so wrapped up in the speech that they never quite get to the point.
The Ringless Proposal
Yes, you heard right. Of course, it’s nice to pop the question with a beautiful diamond engagement ring, but it’s not essential. Here’s why. A second marriage implies that you are both a little older now. Because of that, the purchase of a ring can have a slightly different approach. More and more, we see couples buying rings together, so why not you? It makes a lot of sense to let her choose the style herself. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t propose first. Choose your moment, or don’t, and let the proposal happen naturally. We guarantee it won’t mean anything less for the lack of an engagement ring.
We’re still not advocating massively complicated proposals. No making fake movie trailers, jumping out of a plane or even lip syncing to Bruno Mars with all your family and friends (although we do like that one, admittedly). Chances are that you’re probably both past that point, but you can still ramp it up just a touch.
By this time, you should know your partner well enough to know what will work and what won’t. Some quirkiness is a great idea, but only if it means something. Dressing up as a clown when you’ve never even so much as put lipstick on isn’t going to work. You will know what she likes, her hobbies and interests. Best of all, you will know what makes her happy. Use all of them to construct a situation that you know will be appreciated.
Use a location which has some sort of relevance to her or to both of you. Or perhaps a prop or two which will fit into the proposal without feeling contrived.
But, for all that, it’s your proposal, and you should do what works for you. Just remember that it isn’t just your proposal. That’s all we ask.