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The sweat, doubt and nerves of a marriage proposal

By Vision Reporter

Added 23rd May 2012 04:06 PM

Ssekito had been friends with Martha for over one year. The two first met in Ssekito’s room at university when Martha visited her OB, who was Ssekito’s roommate.

The sweat, doubt and nerves of a marriage proposal

Ssekito had been friends with Martha for over one year. The two first met in Ssekito’s room at university when Martha visited her OB, who was Ssekito’s roommate.

By Constantine Odongo

 
Ssekito had been friends with Martha for over one year. The two first met in Ssekito’s room at university when Martha visited her OB, who was Ssekito’s roommate. 
 
From there, friendship developed. They would visit each other in turns. During the holidays, they kept in touch and with time, Ssekito developed feelings for Martha. 
 
He shared it with her OB, who in turn told him often times, Martha would talk about him (Ssekito). Then came their annual dinner at Ssekito’s hall of residence. Ssekito wanted to invite Martha, but he did not want her to know he was interested in her, until he was sure about her feelings for him. 
 
So Ssekito kept his intentions to himself, until the day before the function, when his roommate told him Martha was waiting for her invitation. He phoned Martha that evening and she gladly welcomed the idea. 
 
As their bond grew stronger, and they graduated, Ssekito knew he would soon have to propose before anyone else came into the picture. 
 
At the ‘right time’, he made an appointment with Martha for coffee but he was nervous. He wondered what would happen if Martha rejected his proposal. They met coffee but Ssekito did not propose.
 
He walked around with the ring for the next three months until he resolved to do it over dinner at Speke Resort Munyonyo. But again, he lost his nerve and only managed to do it when he was driving Martha home. She said yes. 
Many men, regardless of their social status or wealth, are nervous about the proposal. 
 
Recently, English club Arsenal forward, Theo Walcott admitted that the most nerve-racking moment of his life was proposing to his fiancée. Speaking about his engagement to Melanie Slade, Walcott said: “There was a lot of mental preparation leading up to it. I had never been so nervous.” 
 
But why do guys get nervous about popping the question? According to askmen.com, the explanation is as simple as it is an uncharted territory. Not once have they ever had or wanted to make a gesture of such magnitude. Secondly, men often want to get it right. And sometimes, the fear of rejection is greater than any other feeling.

My sister proposed on my behalf... 
Our writer bumped into some men on the street and engaged them in a debate on how difficult it is to propose.
 
William Nsubuga:  What is hard about proposing? As long as she is my friend, I will not find it hard.
Samson Kayemba: You guys are joking. It is hard at times. You may not believe it but it was my sister who proposed to my wife on my behalf. It was not easy.
 
Abdu Kagame: In that case, Samson, I do not consider you man enough because as a man, you are expected to get your point across. Proposing to a woman is like telling the Government your grievances. No one will victimise you.  
David Byarugaba: Guys, many men fear to propose for different reasons. For example, if she is more classy or wealthier than you, you may find it hard to pop the question. 
 
John Mukisa: When I was in S2, a girl who was my friend wrote in my palms three figures, 143 and asked me to find out the meaning. I nagged my friends, to find out what she meant, in vain. The following day, I approached her and told her to explain what she meant. She told me 1 means ‘I’ and 4 means ‘love’ and 3 means ‘you’. If a girl can say that to a guy, why not you, the man? 
 
William Nsubuga: I have two wives. I was friends with my first wife for three months before I proposed to her. For the second one, it took me eight months. I think it is all about self-esteem.
 
John Mukisa: As long you speak a language that you both understand, then it should not be hard for the guy.
 
William Nsubuga: I think some guys are just impatient. They rush to propose and expect an immediate answer from the girl. If she does not respond with in the expected time, he loses the courage and starts condemning himself.
Compiled by Emmanuel Buufu
 
In the good old days...
Former Kampala mayor Haji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala 
 
INTIMATE’S Emmanuel Buufu interviewed former Kampala mayor Haji Nasser Ntege Sebaggala on what it took to propose to a lady in his day.
 
 
How did a man propose to the lady he admired at your time?
In our times, parents identified marriage partners for their children. This was done to protect their children from families that were known to have unacceptable practices, for example night dancers, those suffering from epilepsy and lepers. It was unheard of for a boy to propose to a girl or even date secretly. Everything was done by the elders and the first time the two would meet was on the introduction day where boy’s family brought dowry.   

How did the girls react?
Girls did not react to it negatively 
because they were trained and brought up to respect elders and what they decided on their behalf. This was the trend at the time, so a girl would not feel betrayed or think that her rights were being trampled on.

Nowadays men use rings in engagement. What was the symbol of engagement then?
Dowry was the only symbol of engagement. The boy’s parents would come and meet the girl’s parents with gifts. After this ceremony, the two would then become engaged to each other. There were no engagement rings.

Comparing then and now, what is the most convenient method?
In our days, it was normal for parents to propose on behalf of the boy because boys were tamed not to propose.  Divorce was unheard of in our times, unlike today. Now both husband and wife contribute equally in a home, yet before financial contribution was only a man’s role. This has made some women become unruly and lose respect for their husbands. 
The biggest percentage of partners meet in clubs, on the streets and others in schools, where they hardly get time to investigate one’s background and personality. In a nutshell, the disadvantages of today outweigh the advantages. So I would prefer what was done then.

What do you think about girls proposing to men? 
This trend is not shocking at all. This is because things change and times will never remain static. 
As the world changes we too should accept and change and should not remain rigid with certain old habits. 
Even Indians who never used to kiss publicly now do it. Therefore, there is nothing wrong with girls proposing to men. 
 
What would you think of a boy who fails to propose to the girl he wants to marry?
It would be unfortunate, but he should not feel out of place. The best thing he can do is to send a messenger to the girl or her family, depending on the situation. 
 
My experience
We had been dating for a year. Every other day I spent with her, just gave me more reason to believe that we were meant to be together for eternity. I wanted to make our relationship official in the eyes of God. 
 
I had bought the ring two weeks before. Getting her size and preference was not hard, because she sells engagement rings and wedding bands. 
 
I told her that one of my friends wanted a ring for his fiancée and asked for her help. I requested her to choose a ring she would want for herself. 
 
I proposed on December 31, 2010. There was nothing special that day.  In fact, we spent the whole day home, watching movies. Then we had a quiet dinner and went to bed. 
 
When it struck 23:59, I stripped off my pajamas and I stood over her like a night dancer about to maim his victim. When the New Year set in, I shook her vigorously to wake her up. She got up, though reluctantly. She struggled to open her eyes from her deep sleep. When she finally did, she saw the pearl in my hands.  All she did was smile, jump out of the bed and give me a passionate hug as she screamed “YES YES YES!” 
Never mind that I actually did not pop the question.
As told to Vision Reporter
 
Daniel Kazibwe a.k.a Ragga Dee, musician
It was not hard for me because we had lived together for some time. At first, she thought I was joking but later realised that I was serious. This was 11 years ago at a party.

Shem Semambo, National Events Manager, Nile Breweries
Mine was not rocket science. It was from the bottom of my heart because she was the true woman I wanted. Proposing to her came naturally in 2001 on a Good Friday. We had gone for a tour in Masaka. As we took an evening walk, I proposed to her. It was a surprise to her, though she contained it.
 
Mike Mukula, MP
It was simple because I was bold. We were in Arusha, Tanzania, in 1984. She was excited because I gave her an             engagement ring that very moment.
 
How to go about it
Before you start on your marriage-proposal plan, you have to ask yourself whether your girlfriend is really “the one.” You really have to trust your instincts here, so be honest about the answer. This can go a long way toward allaying fears you have about proposing. 
 
You have to have both a good sense of self and a good sense of togetherness in the relationship, so you can probably weather anything that comes your way in the relationship. 
 
Talk about the big three issues: money, sex and kids. These are the top issues couples fight about, in that order. 
 
Then there’s that commitment-for-life thing. Proposing means: “I want to walk down the aisle, get married, have children and grow old with you.” That can be frightening to guys as images of losing friends and freedom float through their minds. Guys might think, ‘What am I going to have to give up?’ But you should focus on the flip side which is: ‘What am I gaining?’  
 
When it comes to planning your proposal, the first thing you will want to tackle is the engagement ring, which is probably the most expensive part of the proposal. It’s the symbol of the commitment you want to make. Tastes vary, so you’ll have to figure out what kind of ring she wants.  
 
Craft the proposal around an important place or event in your relationship. If you like to travel, do it on a trip. It shows you care enough to think about what is important in your relationship.
 
Not every proposal elicits a yes. If you do everything right and she asks for more time, give it to her. After all, you may have taken 30 days or more to prepare—you should give her the time she needs. Discuss her concerns and agree to revisit the question later.
 
Once she accepts your proposal, start having frank and honest discussions about the wedding and the marriage. Wise couples plan the wedding together and work on things as partners. This in-between time is perfect for laying the foundation for a lasting relationship. 
 
Get yourself comfortable with the fact that there is no longer just one decision-maker.  Try to be a really good diplomat. There are all sorts of decisions and catastrophes you need to avert.
 
Online sources

The sweat, doubt and nerves of a marriage proposal

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