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Modern Marriage Proposal:

How My Kids Proposed To Me And

The Importance Of Living In The Present

By Penny Cohen, LCSW

It was the day of my kid brother’s wedding (he’s 13 years my junior).  That morning I asked my then significant other, Karl, to take the children out to breakfast so I could get dressed for the wedding.  While sitting at the diner my son, David, Age16, asked Karl,  “When are you going to marry my mother?”  Karl choked a little. Then David added, “Are you afraid of commitment?”


Karl apparently cleared his throat.  “No, I’m not afraid of commitment.  I haven’t asked your mother to marry me because your sister,” he pointed to Jessica, age 12, never wanted us to get married.”


David turned to his sister, and asked, “How come?”


“Well, I couldn’t go through another divorce,” she answered.


David turned to Jess and said, “But I’m going off to college next year.  Wouldn’t it be nice to know that mom would be taken care of?”


She gave in shaking her head, “I guess so.  But on one condition,” she added.


“What’s that,” both David and Karl asked.


“No more kids.”


Karl was turning fifty. “Ok” he said quickly.  “I can handle that.”


David smiled at Karl.  “It’s a deal man.”  They shook on it and then David added, “Now I have one condition.”


“What’s that?”  Karl and Jess asked in unison.


“I want to make the announcement at the wedding today.”


Karl agreed, and then paused.  “And I have one condition.”


“What’s that?” the kids asked. 


“No one tells your mother.”


At the wedding after the garter was taken off the bride’s leg and the bouquet thrown, there was a drum roll by the band.  I watched as both my children walked up to the microphone with champagne glasses in their hands.  I figured they were going to congratulate their uncle and welcome their new aunt into the family.


I was busy talking to a friend when I was hushed to listen to my son congratulate the new married couple.  Then he went on. “Now I have an announcement to make.”  Karl was now sitting up front.  “This morning Karl asked my sister and I for our mother’s hand in marriage.  And we both gave our permission.”  He paused.  “But now I think it’s only fair that we ask some other people.”  He turned to my mother and father, “Grandma, what do you think?”


Grandma, gleaming, put her hand to her face, “Oh vey, of course.”


He turned to Grandpa, “What do you think?”  Grandpa was on the heavy side and always lost approximately 50 pounds for any affair.  His hand went to his cheek, “You mean I have to loose another 50 pounds?”  he said with his wonderful sparkling green eyes,  “It’s worth it. Okay.” 


Then David turned to Karl.  “You are four for four man, only I think now there’s someone else you have to ask.”  David handed the microphone to Karl.  Karl waved for me to come forward.  “Penny, will you please stand up?”


I was in shock as my friends lifted me off the chair and guided me to the front of the room. 


“Will you marry me?”  Karl asked, as he handed me the microphone.  There was total silence.  Then I heard someone yell, “Say yes already.”  And that I did.


In the car going home I was still in shock. Had he asked me out to a fine French restaurant with candlelight and violin serenade, and popped the question there, I probably would have said no.  But in front of 200 people?  As time went by I went into panic mode.  We had lived together for six years.  I knew all his faults.  Did I want to live with them the rest of my life?


It was a big decision that I had trouble making.  I wavered back and forth for two weeks until I realized I was projecting into the future.  Whenever we do that there is fear.  When I stopped projecting I realized I had lived with his faults the past six years and we still did well together.  So when I got back into the present, I realized we did have a good thing going.  We were married a few months later.





I invite you to think about when you have fear.  There’s a good chance you’re worried about something going wrong or not working out in the future. Do something to get back into the present.  Meditate, reframe your thoughts, plan a better future scenario and make the right things happen.   Karl and I have been living that philosophy for thirty years now and we’re still happily married.


Keeping In Touch And In Love,



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