Did you ever notice that when a couple gets engaged, one of the first questions asked is “How did X propose to you?” Why is this? Why is the how more important than the why (as in, why do you want to spend the rest of your life with this person)

Well, I guess it’s less personal to ask how than why.  It’s also easier.  It’s simple to explain – it was done at place Y, they said Z to me, etc. But how do you explain why you want to be with someone? Is there a universal phrase that can sum up why you love? How do you explain to an outside party why you love someone?

To go a step further, other than the words “I Love You”, how do you even show your partner how much you love them? How do you show someone that you care?

Enter the grand gesture.

Promposals.  How did asking someone to prom become an extravaganza? Engagements? Have you seen instagrams of the lengths people will go to when proposing to someone? Why has asking someone a question become an event that takes weeks of planning?(Now, before you go crazy on me, I think the decision to marry someone should be taken with great care…the actual proposal…..well…)

I think people feel they need to make a grand gesture so that there intended knows how much they mean to them.  Anyone can say the words “I love you”, but if you follow it up with a grand, physical gesture?  Then it must be true- this person loves me because they were willing to show it by doing A. They spent time planning out the perfect situation.  They spent money to make sure they got everything right.  There are pictures that I can post on social media- because we all know that if it’s on social media it’s true…A grand gesture is proof that someone cares enough about you to go the extra mile…

Isn’t that what we all want? Proof that someone is willing to extend themselves for you? Whether it be moving in together, or going to prom, or getting married, we want to know that the other person really cares.  We want confirmation that we are not a consolation prize, that we are indeed their first choice.  But no matter how gifted someone may be with words, it’s not always easy to get that point across…so you need an action…something tangible…to make it abundantly clear. The grander the gesture, the greater your expression of love….

So- now it’s your turn.  What do you think of grand gestures of love and commitment, or even just attraction? Do you think they’re necessary? Have you ever orchestrated a grand gesture, or been on the receiving end of one? Do you think love needs to be proved, or are the words enough?

 

55 thoughts on “The Grand Gesture

    1. I totally agree with you about the little random acts of kindness. I think that’s the way you show it everyday. And I used to be against the big grand acts….but, as I’ve gotten older, I’m starting to understand the need for a grand gesture. Now, I don’t think this need to be expensive, like flying to Disneyland and recreating the glass slipper scene….but, I think I underestimated How much these grand gestures matter….this line of thought is new for me and a work in progress, hence writing about it and sounding out ideas. And no, I don’t think that just because there’s a grand gesture it will all work out. But I’m beginning to think it’s not a bad start

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  1. It’s so ironic and a tad funny this is your post today… a little over a month ago my best friend got engaged. Her fiancé called me and asked for my opinion. I told him she isn’t into big declarations, which he agreed wholeheartedly with, and wanted to know how we could make it special without doing the whole thing in a huge public venue. It was small and quaint and romantic what he did and I don’t think he could have asked her any better. (Plus, they knew this was their next step. They’ve been talking marriage off and on for nearly two years now.)
    A part of me wants to say it depends on the person. But honestly? I think it’s more along the lines of the thought that counts. I’d rather have something more along the lines of what my best friend had than anything huge. (Like getting proposed to in the middle of Times Square or the Eiffel Tower etc. You get the idea.) You show love in how you treat each other and how you interact with each other. Are people making up for things in grand gestures? Who really knows.

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    1. It’s funny about semantics. To me, what your friends bf did was a grand gesture. It’s funny…as I was writing the post I didn’t think I was hitting the mark I wanted and now I know why. To me, a grand gesture is when someone goes out if their way to think of something special for their person. It is totally the thought and not the money or extravagance. He did something special for her, with only her in mind. And she will cherish his thought and act. That’s what makes it grand

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  2. Sometimes grand gestures are something the do-er cares about more than the receiver–possibly because it will show them to be cool, creative, wealthy, whatever. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as they are accompanied by consistent and ongoing TNTs (tiny, noticeable things). The grand gestures may make a special moment, but the small, daily acts of love and kindness make a special life.

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    1. I’m going to try and not totally repeat what u just said to Brit wit. I completely agree that in the long run the little acts are very important, and they are what makes a relationship special. (When I wrote this morning I knew I was missing the blogging mark and I didn’t know why…now I do) when my ex husband proposed, he did it as we were walking down a street. There was no thought involved, just a spontaneous ok let’s get married. At the time I thought it was great that he did it like that, sort if like, I love you let’s make it official. In retrospect, I realize that it was just words, and it’s lack of specialness should have been a red flag that he didn’t think I was special. With age I’m realizing that if someone doesn’t care enough to make some sort of effort, or at least try to make it special for you, then it should be looked at. Does that make sense?

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  3. I think you hit it right on the head (as usual). I’d chock these proposals right up there with people’s incessant need to capture events and share them socially. I have always been bothered by attending my kids’ school programs and seeing what the kids can see: an audience of electronic devices.
    As I read the end of your post, though, I remembered how I loved planning elaborate things for my then-boyfriend when we were dating. My motivation was that I felt an overwhelming affection for him and wanted to express it. I’d associate THAT with a Love Languages thing: I assumed he’d feel even more loved by pleasant surprises.
    As a parting thought: what about the exorbitant cost of weddings after the proposal? Almost everyone has already been living together and the wedding is becoming a formality. Why does it still cost tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars?

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    1. Oh…extravagant weddings are a whole other thing…I think that’s ridiculous. But the other point…I don’t think a grand gesture has to be wild or expensive. I think it just needs to show that you think someone is special enough to make some sort of effort. Great comments!!

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  4. I proposed in a non-romantic parking lot. The night I planned to propose, I asked her to pick a really nice restaurant for dinner(she is a very picky eater) and she chose a new place we wanted to try that turned out to be a very unromantic atmosphere. So, after dinner at the car I said something to the effect of “It’s too bad the restaurant wasn’t more romantic. Now I have to ask you to marry me in a parking lot” No grand gesture for me.

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  5. I think the extent the “promposals” have gotten to is ridiculous. It’s a dance kids. So much pressure placed on the guys to outdo each other. Craziness. Marriage proposals on the other hand are a bit more of a commitment. I agree with your second thought, that it depends on the person and the proposal should be planned with them in mind, not an over the top thing unless you know the person would want an over the top thing (but then, are they going to want over the top for the rest of your life? Does every birthday or anniversary have to have an explosion? That type of person might be too high maintenance for me). Extravagant weddings? Not a fan of those either. We just went to a very nice wedding of a young couple. It was held at a local Curiodyssey and there were animals to be petted if you wanted, a simple but heartfelt ceremony, family style food and dancing. It was really fun. We are invited to another wedding in November and I know it is going to be the opposite end of the spectrum. The invitations say semi-formal, the venue is 2 hours away and there is a three course meal plus appetizers. The bride is a spoiled, rich brat (IMO). Another good post!

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    1. Over the top is unfortunately the new normal. I don’t like extravaganza (I got married the second time in Vegas) but I was saying grand, but thinking special….there’s a difference

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  6. Our entire family is tired of the big productions. Birthdays are now ridiculous and proposals seem geared to Instagram. My own proposal was “Hey, you want to get married?” to which I said, “No thanks, I’m good” Four years later after he had filled two closets with wedding stuff I said yes. Now I don’t even remember my anniversary! lol

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  7. I like the everyday little things in my marriage, they are not always roses and sunshine but little things that we do for each other counts for me a lot more than one big grand gesture that is orchestrated.
    If it is done out of love and only for that one special person, I am good with that. But, if it done to put on a show for everyone else, then I think it is just a spectacle and kind of loses it’s true meaning.

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  8. Funny, my husband’s claim to fame is that he never asked me to marry him… which is technically true. After 13 years of “dating,” it was really more of a “well, I guess it’s about time.”

    I really think these grand gestures are predominately about getting a lot of “Likes” after posting pictures on social media. I don’t think they have much to do at all about the other person or the relationship. Sadly, we have become a narcistic society, vying each other for attention.

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    1. I was just thinking that yesterday when I thought about some of the posts I see. I’m only on WordPress, and I’m barely in Facebook. But people with a billion accounts….crazy…

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  9. I like grand gestures (to an extent), mostly because they show the thought and care that go into them. That said, grand gestures really don’t mean much if they aren’t backed by regular, everyday small things that also show that you don’t have to think about how much you care about another because it is just a part of you. Both are a product of what that person thinks and feels about you and that is the only thing that is ever really important.

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    1. I agree. When I wrote this post I was thinking about something specific that I didn’t want to share, but without sharing it I inadvertently went the wrong direction. What you said is more what I meant

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      1. Our friends kids haven’t really begun to have kids yet, but we know people who have gone to them. It’s all about cakes with different colors inside!!

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  10. Great question – I’m not a big fan of the grand gesture because it sets an unrealistic precedent. If you do “A” for a promposal, then you must do “A” plus “B” for the next thing, etc. I actually think the small gestures require more meaningful thought and are much more appreciated. But that’s just me!

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  11. I think grand gestures for each individual to choose. I do not need a grand gesture but have helped set up quite a few. I think they have gotten a bit out of hand. Oh, how much money we could save if we stayed simple.

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  12. I think there’s love and beauty in everyday simple gestures – bringing a loved one coffee, making an extra effort when unexpectedly needed (or not), a true embrace (love felt hug), listening and being present when someone is hurting (or even when they’re just telling you about their stressful day). I think it’s in the little things. Actions speak louder than words I think…although I love to hear the words too.

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  13. My man isn’t the grand gestures type. I think the simple things he does for me on a daily basis: opening doors and car doors, carrying my stuff, rubbing my back or feet, holding my hand, etc., are more valuable than a one-time public display of love. I don’t need the whole world to believe he loves me, I just need him to demonstrate his love in ways that make me happy each and every day.

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  14. “Do you think love needs to be proved, or are the words enough?”
    This is a good question and I will try my best to answer it.
    Normally yes words is enough because words are very powerful.
    In this world, unfortunately people tend to believe what they wanna hear instead of paying attention to somebody’s actions. I feel like saying “I love you” means a whole alot in the beginning. But eventually people are looking to see the actions provided with love. And words are powerful but eventually words will become weak if the actions arene’t provided to back up how much you love somebody.

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    1. Well said. But think of it like this. You need to prove your lice every day, in actions and words, because once you stop trying to prove your love it starts to become indifference

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  15. You can prove your love in many ways, but this whole big gesture is overdone. If the person has taken the rather large step to ask why do they have to have a Facebook worthy post to show one and all. A simple heartfelt question with or without jewelry should be enough and if it isn’t I would look closer at yourself, why do you need it?

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  16. I moved from Australia to Tampa for two years and had to be educated on ‘promposals’. It was certainly entertaining to hear of the variety of funny, happy and outrageous question popping that went on – though in my experience it was the Moms who were neck high in the planning, resourcing and logistics of the execution!
    I love grand that still remains deeply personal – my favorite example of this was the marriage proposal to a teacher at my school. Her fiancee (all cleared with the Principal of course) arrived unannounced at her classroom door on Valentine’s Day, dressed in tails and tophat and holding a dozen red roses. Her year 6 students went crazy! When he walked in without saying a word, picked up a marker (by now the class was completely silent) and wrote on the board, “Will you marry me?” – well you can imagine the pandemonium until the young teacher likewise picked up the marker (I am told – you literally could have heard a pin drop) and wrote “YES” – the memory always makes me smile as I am sure it does for the lovely couple and all those kids out there in the world somewhere as 30 somethings! Grand can be classy!

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