It must have been a little over 19 years ago when I proposed to my then girlfriend, Euphemia. It was one of the most awkward moments in my life, really, as I was proposing over the phone from a different country. We've been going steady for about 3 years, but I had actually decided much earlier than that, that this was the woman for me.
It took me quite a while, however, to come up with the courage to propose, and when I finally did, I was at a loss on how to do it! It was of course a special occasion, and it seemed only natural to do it in a way that's nothing short of extraordinary. But for the life of me, in spite of my brilliant creative mind, I had to crack my head, and still ended up at a dead end! It was rather pathetic that all I could think of was to propose over the phone.
Looking back now, surely there were many, many choices? I mean I could've spent all my savings to hire a small plane to fly with a banner that says "WILL YOU MARRY ME, EUPHEMIA" over the Tg Aru Beach or something like that. Perhaps challenge her to a bungee jump, and just when about to jump, I could've popped the question there and then? Or maybe I could've tried something fancy like bringing her up to the Yayasan Sabah rooftop, get down on my knee and propose that way, just before the security guards arrive to chase us off the area? Hell, I can think of so many ways to do it now!
Instead, I did it over the phone! And just for a few seconds, my heart sank when Mia merely laughed and laughed at my proposal! I mean—was it really that funny? But thankfully in the end she said yes! So that's the sad story of how unsophisticated the way I proposed to my girlfriend all those years ago.
Over the years, people are becoming increasingly creative with the art of marriage proposals. It's no longer enough to utter those few simple words, "Will you marry me?". One has to do it more dramatically; in a special venue, and even to the extent of faking injury as in this story, extracted from our local papers during the recent Valentine's Day celebration (click on picture to get clearer view).
We have come a long way to master the art of marriage proposals. Whoever attempts to propose without extraordinary or theatrical approach would be at risk of accusations of being unromantic and unimaginative! Such is the extent of the mastery of marriage proposals.
Unfortunately, we have not mastered the art of keeping the fire going. Two days ago, after almost 18 years of marriage, my brother, Dennis, and his wife, Shidah, are now officially divorced. Last week, Typhoon Diana, the born life organiser, instructed me to make a last bold bid to stop the divorce by trying to talk to Shidah. I did nothing of the such, of course. For better or worse, I'm sure they have both considered their decision.
Apparently, Dennis said that both of them have changed. I was somewhat surprised that Dennis did not see it coming. Changes are almost inevitable in everybody; it's strange that he only realised that recently. After all, women are not usually easy to understand. You marry them and set up a nice little routine of kissing them every night at bedtime, for example, but sometime in their forties, they suddenly develop the habit of applying lotion, and their faces become off limits to kisses. The only way to deal with changes is to adapt. And adaptation is in itself a skill. But it's not something that everyone can learn.
No, it doesn't seem like we're gonna master the art of keeping the fire going anytime soon. If anything, it seems certain that the divorce rate will be increasing as reported here. If it were me, I'd rather we learn to master the art of keeping the fire going, and not so much the art of marriage proposals, but I guess that's just wishful thinking.