There’s no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to proposing

Are you thinking about popping the question?

If so, how do you know you’re ready to make the move?

Do you create the mood or wait for the moment to present itself?

Do you involve others or keep it private?

There is no “one size fits all” here. The best proposal is not about what someone else did – it’s about what’s right for your partner.

If your partner is more private, you probably don’t want to make the big announcement in front of strangers at a restaurant.

If your partner hates surprises, you probably want to ease them into it, give them subtle hints and not get carried away.

Understanding your partner and understanding yourself are the most important elements of a proposal. On this note, if you find yourself more nervous than excited about the action of proposing, have more talks with your partner about the future. Make sure you are on the same page, and don’t stress it. Don’t let anxiety take hold. It’s a fun and exciting time and should be something you look forward to – not something that terrifies you.

That being said, it’s totally common to be nervous. This is a big deal, no matter how long you’ve been together. Asking someone to be your partner for the rest of your life should be the biggest question you ever ask, leading to the biggest question you’ll ever answer.

It’s hard to know exactly when you are ready to take this plunge.

I’d been with my partner for three years before proposing, so I’d obviously had a lot of time to think about it before the big day.

What made it clear to me was the conviction I had that life was better with Kari than it was without her, than I felt completed and comforted by her presence and her endless love. I never wanted to lose her.


In 2015, we booked Chico Hot Springs for Valentine’s Day (which also happens to be Kari’s birthday) and I packed the engagement ring in my travel bag. There are few things in this world Kari loves more than hot springs, so I figured combining a soak with a proposal would be perfect. Considering she’s not a fan of the spotlight, I had no intention of proposing in the pool or at dinner. I didn’t want to create a moment. Instead, I wanted the opportunity to occur organically, and it did

Was I nervous? Absolutely. It’s a gigantic question. Although I was optimistic, I had some jitters, and, more than anything, I wanted it to be special and wanted it to be a surprise.

Fortunately, she didn’t see it coming.

“You did it!” she said, before giving me an answer.

She gave me a hug, a kiss and then she said, “yes.”

Was it easy? No, but it was perfect for us, a memory we’ll always cherish.

A year and a half after I asked the question, we said our “I dos,” and we’ve been enjoying the journey of a life together. It’s what we hoped for that evening in Chico, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.   

In my opinion, this is what proposing is all about: consider the ultimate answer before you consider asking the question, and, when you’re ready, make the moment something you know your partner will appreciate.

(as published in the Lewistown News-Argus 2020 Bridal Edition)

About CharliesTrail

Originally from Indianapolis, Denison is a writer and musician who has picked up culture and influences from eccentrics all over the U.S. and overseas. He is a University of Kentucky Journalism School grad and an award-winning Montana journalist. Through the years he's had work published by "Chicken Soup From the Soul," DVD Netflix, Montana Quarterly Magazine, NUVO and Americana Highways. He has a solo album, "Whispers of the Lonely," and continues to chip away at his first novel. Currently Denison is the editor of The Boulder Monitor in Boulder, Montana, where he lives with his wife.
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