Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Unproposed Marriage - Toastmasters Speech #3

Do you know that you never asked me to marry you?
Do you know that you never asked me to marry you?

Madam Toastmaster, fellow toastmasters and honored guests. On a balmy Saturday afternoon four years ago my wife asked me this question:
Wife: "Do you know that you never asked me to marry you?"
Me: "That's ridiculous. How could we possibly be married if I didn't ask you to marry me?"
Wife: "Okay, describe the place and time and how you proposed to me."

I was silent for a while. Then a while longer. Then I realized that she was right. I had never asked her for her hand in marriage and yet, we had successfully become married. In my defense I was very busy.

We'd been dating for a while. Let me rephrase that. We'd been half-dating. Each time we went out the first thing she'd say to me was "remember, this is not a date because my parents would never allow this." In public I was not permitted to hold her hand. If we went to a restaurant I would have to find a table in the corner while she scouted the area to make sure that nobody she recognized was there. Then like a fighter pilot she would swoop in, sit down, put up a wall of menus and duck down behind them. If we went to the movies then she would come over and sit next to me when the lights went down and would even let me hold her hand.

While we were half-dating she was in the process of completing her papers to immigrate to the United States and she wanted me to come with her and I wanted to go with her. On the immigration forms there's a question "Are you married?" with the options of Yes and No. There was no option for "relationship unapproved by parents." US Immigration is fussy about that. We agreed that the only way we were going to do this was to get married.

I went full steam ahead to arrange a legal marriage. In my mind a marriage was an hour off work at lunchtime where you rushed down to the courthouse with some identification and signed some papers and you were married. Nothing complicated in that.

It turned out that the courts were so backlogged with marriages that you had to make a reservation and the earliest was three months away. I started looking for alternatives and found a priest who was the Chaplin at my old school and whose daughter, coincidentally, had gone to school with my wife. I ran this idea past my whatever-she-was and she pointed out that as a Hindu the church wasn't her first choice of venue for a marriage. However, she agreed that we didn't have any alternative.

Now came the biggest hurdle. Luckily I didn't have to do that. My wife had to tell her parents that she had 1. had a boyfriend and 2. that he was not Hindu and 3. and that she was soon to marry him. Her mother cried for three days.

Initially her parents were not going to come to the wedding but on the day my father-in-law called and asked my wife is she was really going to go through with this. She said yes and he asked if the wedding could be pushed back by a couple of hours so that they could make it. We got married with everyone there and my wife was able to tick the box on the immigration form that said married.

Let's return to the time where my wife has insensitively, but accurately, pointed out that I had never asked her to marry me. Once I realized that I was in a corner I said "will you marry me?" Her answer was "no, you need to do this properly. You need to put some thought into this and make sure that it's in the right setting." Over the ensuing years, when the subject came up, I would immediately ask her to marry me. Each one was rejected because I hadn't put enough thought or effort into it.

Yesterday, I finally put some effort in and went off to Costco and spent a lot of money on this ring. The reason that I bought it from Costco is because if she says no I can always return it and get a refund.

[Walk down aisle towards my wife and get down on one knee.]

Prea will you marry me?

Wife: No answer but there was a lot of smiling.

Ladies and gentlemen I think that smile is a yes, thank you.


Anonymous said...

Hello both of you !I loved your speech and was really happy to have been the priest on that happy [email protected]'s Old Cathedral in PMB!
It remains a distinctive priveledge to preside at a marriage.
So pleased to know that you are obviously in love and happy!
Fred Pitout

Guy Ellis said...

Thank you for being so accommodating on that day Fred! I wish I could have video'd the speech for everyone.

Anonymous said...

Love it Guy, Prea keep the young fella on his toes. Luke and Bronnie. Xx