Tips for proposing marriage and saying yes

Published 9:55 am Friday, April 4, 2014

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson

“How do you want to celebrate our engagement anniversary?” I asked Sera earlier this week.

We’ll be marking one year since our engagement today, and we’ll need to do something to observe the occasion at least this first year.

Email newsletter signup

It’s hard to believe it’s been a full year since I got down on one knee and asked my wife to spend the rest of our lives together. Yesterday, she shared with me that she actually wrote down everything she could remember about it shortly after I proposed so she could remember it all. She had written seven pages and started crying after reading the first paragraph to herself.

I still remember calling her dad to ask for permission and having him give his blessing in what seemed like the briefest phone conversation I ever had in my life. I sat in my car and stared at my phone for several minutes afterward, certain that he somehow had not understood what I had called about and that he’d be calling back soon to correct what he said. He never did.

I remember holding my then-girlfriend’s hand tightly on a walk to her favorite place in town. I remember finally proposing and momentarily losing my sense of hearing as she screamed joyously for several seconds. I remember feeling ready for marriage.

We took the fast track to the altar, arriving at our wedding day a little over four months later. Thinking back, I wonder if some people thought we were pregnant and wanted to be married before a baby was born. The reality was we’d been dating for more than two years and knew that this was the real deal.

As wedding season is approaching, I’ve come up with a few tips for you that we learned while preparing to get married. Am I an expert? Nope, but I’ve recently been in the rental shoes of a groom, so that must be worth something.

1. Remember that the wedding is one day and marriage is forever. You’ve all heard this, but it can apply to many things in life. Few moments in life are defined by one day, and oftentimes those days aren’t significant in the long run. Remember your first day of kindergarten? If you do, did it dictate how you viewed school for the rest of your life? Probably not.

2. Stop stressing; it makes you look unattractive. Sera and I got married very quickly and would change very little about the entire process. You create your own stress in life, and a lot of times it’s just easier to decide to not be stressed. We successfully planned one of the largest celebrations in our life in four months, and I don’t think it would have been any better if we had taken a year and a half to do it. We’ve had friends talk about how stressful planning their wedding is going, and I can’t help but wonder why it’s stressful for them.

3. Understand that there are phases in life, and it’s good to recognize and live in the phase you’re residing. When Sera and I were dating, we didn’t plan a wedding or talk too much about when we’d get married. We certainly talked about where our relationship was leading and did our best to ensure we were well-suited for each other, but wedding planning was meant for the engagement phase of our lives, a time of preparation. Dating is for getting to know someone, the season of being engaged is for planning a wedding, and marriage is for everything that follows. Don’t rush in to or out of the phase you’re in until you’re ready.

4. Commitment is tough to comprehend sometimes, but it’s important. Sera and I are happy to be in the marriage phase of our lives, and we plan to be here until the end. Life is filled with opportunities to commit to, and you should choose them wisely.

A year ago we celebrated our engagement with a warm, sunny day. Today we’ll be celebrating with the snow. It’s funny how different a day can feel one year later. This day a year ago put us on a journey that would forever change us, and we’re happy to be reflecting on some of the greatest months of preparation we’ve ever had.


Rochester resident Matt Knutson is the communications and events director for United Way of Olmsted County.