I am not proposing on my knees

I once read a short story about an army unit that had a change in command. At the barracks, there was a concrete guarded by two soldiers, with a change in the shift every six hours. When the new commanding officer asked why they had to guard the set-up, it turned out no one knew. It took some searching, but the officer found documents which revealed that some years earlier, the commanding officer at the time thought to put up a particular structure.

As they waited to move to the next phase of building the structure after the foundation was completed, he placed two soldiers at the set-up to ward off animals that came around to mess with the structure. Unfortunately, the commanding officer got transferred before the building could be continued and he only wrote about it in his file for his successor.

His successor failed to read the document and continued with the practice of having two guards by the structure every day. This had continued for years with no one questioning why the practice was instituted.

Morale of the story: Traditions are a wonderful thing. But if we don’t take care, we could spiral to a point where people just do things without ever knowing why.

We live in a day of idyll amorousness. Just take an online trip to YouTube and after you’ve watched a few proposal clips, you will marvel at how real romance has an imagination like that.

But romance is not measured by how viral a proposal goes. I haven’t forgotten this after reading it from Ann Voskamp, “the internet age may try to sell you something different, but don’t ever forget that viral is closely associated with sickness – so don’t ever make being viral your goal.”

We have come to romanticised love. We forget that the white dress and glass shoe which fit only one lady in an entire town goes beyond those words. We miss the point that a knight in shining amour fighting obstacles and coming to rescue the princess from the wicked witch is a lifestyle our young men must live. We do not get the fact that true love’s kiss to bring Snow White back to life is indicative of something deeper. We have made our own interpretations of “happily ever after.” We associate love with black ties and black suits on bended knees and with outstretched arms, with rolling cameras and a choreographed entourage to boot. We associate love with long walks down a red carpet with rapturous notes from a piano.

Romance is more than just imagining some romantic proposal. It is the man who imagines washing vomit-stained sheets at 2:30 am and helping with the dishes, when he has to, for the next 25 years with no cameras rolling or soundtrack playing.

Romance? It is the man who imagines slipping his arms around his wife’s soft, thickening middle age waistline and letting her know he couldn’t love her more. Because in a society that shuns a mother’s figure and promotes the figures of airbrushed teenagers, that truth could go a long way. No one imagines rushing to the shop to get some sanitary pads because someone he loves is having an unexpected Saturday morning emergency, and all the kids are away at school–but that is romance.

The real romantics see greying and sagging as the deepening of something sacred and beautiful. Because the point is, those stories we read as kids were trying to get across a message–it isn’t how a man proposes that makes him romantic. What makes a man romantic is how he chooses to lay down his life every day.

In our day, we must sound out the truth that a man begins being romantic before there’s the thought of any ring. Because romance begins with having eyes for one woman. Romance is glad there’s been only one woman. Because in a world that has had its fair talking on 50 shades of grey, know this–commitment is pretty much black and white.

Real romance? It is not filmed. Those nights of carrying sick children around the hall throughout the night and praying with all your faith to have God heal your baby. The making up with touches in a language only the two of you have come to understand through years of marriage after the inevitable quarrels. Because real love leaves you vulnerable. Real love makes you suffer. Who are you willing to suffer for?In a world where people fall in love, real romance understands that it is actually about “committing” to love. Who are you willing to listen to, at 2 am when you had a tiring previous day and know very well there is another tough day coming at work? Who are you willing to hold as they grow older and get “realer”? Men, who are you willing to die a bit more for, every day?

Don’t get me wrong – have fun. Go right on ahead and have amazingly sweet memories. Be creatively romantic. But dear young man, please never forget that what wows a woman and what woos her is how you purpose to live your life.

Boys, be men. Leave the toys behind and grow up. Women love this kind of man. The kind of man whose romance doesn’t have to go viral – because it is going eternal.

 Because going down on your knees to propose is only indicative of a kind of life lived on your knees – in service to her and the one who gave you her as a continual proclamation of your love for her.

There will be garbage trips. There will be burnt food. There would be days when they are almost unlovable. But more than anything, it is these days that challenge the authenticity of love. Let’s teach our young men these things. And let us make our young women know they deserve more than viral clips of choreographed proposals and breathtaking weddings.

Else we’d keep having young women crying out in surprise and expectation just because her man went down on his knees as they took a walk in Paris after dinner when he only went down to lace his shoes.

Picture Credit: Getty Images

Source: The Report Ghana

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