There’s a running joke within Singaporean circles that an unromantic method of proposing involves the guy just saying casually, “Eh, when are you free? Let’s go and sign for a flat.”1. No surprises of candlelit hearts, no rooms strewn with roses, no treasure hunts with a diamond ring as a prize.
Well, this is precisely how the Aged Ps got engaged. They decided together that it was time to take the next step, so they went engagement ring shopping and applied for a flat.
If you ask me, I have always felt that this is the most romantic way to become engaged. It’s the simplicity of it all – when two people are so deeply in love that moving together into the next phase of their relationship just happens naturally with no hesitation or uncertainty.
My family is a very big proponent of the ‘friendship-courtship-engagement’ route to marriage. So for me, my potential dating pool consisted solely of people whom I already knew were good and faithful friends. I would only consider dating someone whom I could seriously see as a potential marriage partner. This means that for me, the decision to enter into courtship with the Barn Owl was the big one, mainly because of the intercultural aspect of our relationship.
I wasn’t at all worried about how my parents would react to the Barn Owl as a potential marriage partner. Our family is not new to intercultural relationships. The Aged Ps themselves are from different cultures as you can see from the different formalwear that their moms chose to wear on their wedding day.
The Barn Owl and I had been dating for nearly a year when the Barn Owl had to go away for work experience. We were chatting on ICQ (this was waaaaay before the magic that is Skype), missing each other dreadfully, and it was during this conversation turned towards relationship matters.
We mutually agreed that it would be possible to take our relationship forward towards marriage but before we did so, we would consult our parents and friends. The Barn Owl wanted to talk to his dad for advice and I wanted time to prepare my parents. I told the Barn Owl that he would also need to have a discussion with my dad. Additionally, I wanted to talk to trusted friends and mentors who knew the both of us well.
This delay was not because we were incapable of making this decision on our own. We just wanted to make sure that all the important people in our lives were in agreement with us and supportive of our decision to take the next step in our relationship. We also wanted to make sure that nobody had any objections or concerns that they felt we needed to address.
Several months later, The Barn Owl made a trip to Singapore and it was during this trip that he had a long chat with the Aged P about our plans for the future. The Barn Owl was very nervous about this trip for the following reasons:
1. Although I had gone through great lengths to prepare the Aged Ps and had some idea of what their expectations would be, The Barn Owl wasn’t completely sure that they would make things easy for him. (This was made worse by reason #2)
2. The pastor of our church at the time was an Englishman who had a Singaporean wife. He took great delight in regaling The Barn Owl with his own personal experience dealing with Singaporean Parents which involved being thrown out of the house and barred from seeing his beloved for several days due to some error of communication.
In the end, I think my dad just wanted to make sure that I had graduated from university first before getting married (the Barn Owl and I had several classmates who were already married). He also felt that it would be appropriate for both sets of parents to meet in advance of the engagement. The Barn Owl felt that these were all reasonable expectations. This was also when the Aged P gave the Barn Owl a very special book about love that he had been given on the occasion of his own engagement! Awwwwww….
We went engagement ring shopping together the very next day, and by the end of the week, the Aged Ps had made plans to visit the Outlaws in the UK over Christmas.
We also picked out a date for our engagement ceremony, which would be in summer the following year and held in the Outlaw’s home. This was going to be an important part of our engagement as we wanted both our families to understand that we would always involve them in our lives. It was also because we knew that our wedding would be held in Singapore (to accommodate my large extended family) and we wanted the Outlaws to have the pleasure of hosting this special occasion.
Our engagement ceremony was a very quiet affair, just The Barn Owls parents and mine (and the Barn Owl’s big sister who was able to pop down for the weekend). We sang a few songs together and each of our moms read a verse from the Bible, then each of our dads said a prayer for our relationship. Then our families retired to the garden for tea and cakes, whilst The Barn Owl and I changed out of our fancy attire and went for a quiet walk.
The Barn Owl brought me to the most beautiful part of his little village, a wide grassy meadow next to a river, where he gave me the engagement ring that we had chosen. I also had an engagement present for him – a shiny new watch. I won’t tell you exactly what we said to each other but only that we sealed our promises with a kiss.
This post is part of the Proposal Stories blog train hosted by The Chill Mom. If you would like to read some more romantic stories, just click on the button below (or you can pop back on Friday – A Becky Lee will be sharing her story then!)
On the contrary to the image of your typical auntie, AhSoh very much into Consumer Technology as well as Photography. You won’t find hypocritical parenting and marriage advice here, coz AhSoh is real. She shoots her mind and she rants!
If you want a good laugh, here’s really where you should be. Take a glimpse of the proposal of between Singapore’s most unknown AhPek and AhSoh. Confirm + Guarantee! We promise there won’t be any crappy “would you buy HDB with me” kinda proposal, coz AhPek is too practical for all that FLUFF!
1. This is because only families are eligible to purchase a new flat in one of the housing estates built by the Singapore government, and couples who apply for a flat together have three months to produce a marriage certificate once they receive the keys to the flat.↩