Some of the greatest conversations my fiancé and I have ever had were via text. We are part of the millennial generation, and as such, we came into adulthood along with the development of smartphone technology. Texting is an inherent aspect of our day-to-day life, and we don’t think there’s anything wrong with that. It’s often the easiest way for us to communicate (especially when one of us is in meetings all day), and the most fun because telling jokes with the aid of thousands of emojis is just better.
And I’m far from the only millennial who feels that texting and technology haven’t ruined romance. Writer Rosemary Donahue recently got engaged via text, and she couldn’t have been more thrilled about it. There was no grand gesture — just a simple conversation between two people in love.
And most millennials don’t live by the traditional standards created by generations that are now more than a century apart from us. And why should they? The fact that we still live in a world that hears “engaged” and automatically wants to see the ring and hear the proposal story is incredibly limiting to today’s couples.
I had what some might call a picture perfect proposal by the more traditional standards. It was on a beach at dusk, there was a ring, and my now fiancé asked, “Will you be my wife?” And while the whole thing was lovely and romantic, a large part of it didn’t feel like us, but rather what we both thought the occasion was supposed to be like. We went through all the standard things we know other couples did — we sent the obligatory ring shot to our close family and friends, called our parents and held hands a lot (something we don’t normally do that much). However, it wasn’t until we went to a favorite bar and professed our love to each other in front of a plucky bartender that I really felt engaged. While we always tell the beach story when asked about our proposal, I like to think it actually happened after we were two drinks in at that bar.
So, a text proposal is no less romantic than one on the beach at sunset. The most important thing is that it fits you as a couple. Yet people still expect the fanfare. They still want the ring selfies, and the “she said yeses,” and the relationship status updates. How is any of that helpful to a generation that’s trying to redefine marriage so that it encompasses all people who want to commit their lives to each other in their own way? The short answer is that it isn’t.