Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is the author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the '"Happiest" Time of Her Life and has been helping brides feel happier, calmer and better prepared for marriage since 2002. She is a bridal counselor, an expert in engagement anxiety and cold feet, and the founder of Emotionally Engaged Counseling for Brides. Here, she discusses what it means if someone else (unintentionally) popped up at your proposal.
The first thought that crossed Rachel's mind when her fiancé got down on one knee: "OMG! OMG! I totally want to marry you! Yay! Yay! Yay! OMG! OMG! OMG!"
The second thought: "This is going to break Dad's heart."
The third: "Seriously? Why am I thinking about Dad right now?"
Another bride, Kate, was completely calm when her fiancé proposed. Happy. Ready. Certain. "But as he was saying all these amazing things to me, I had this sinking, sad feeling in my stomach," she said. "I kept thinking about, and really missing, my mom, who died eight years ago."
Thinking about other people during the proposal is more common than you'd think. It's also a gold mine of information about the emotional work you may have ahead of yourself during your engagement.
Kate's proposal was bittersweet: She was happy about her future with her fiancé, and, in that very moment, she was re-visited by grief. The seeds of Kate's emotional work were planted right there, during the proposal — she had some re-grieving of her mother's death to do.
When Rachel's dad crashed her proposal (in her imagination, at least), she worried it was a sign something was seriously wrong, but nothing was wrong with her marriage-to-be. What needed work was her too-close relationship with her dad. Rachel had to let go of being her dad's emotional caretaker, a role she's played her entire life.
What random person came to mind during your proposal? (A controlling mom who'd make wedding planning hellish? A distant, difficult dad? An old boyfriend?) Why do you think this person, this moment, came to mind during your proposal? Don't sweep under the rug the odd characters or out-of-place events that crossed your mind while he was on bended knee. Use them to understand more about what you need to do to prepare yourself for marriage.