Why I’m Not Recording My Marriage Proposal



I love our culture of display. I love that we can share our deepest most personal moments in a one-click treasure trove.

Seriously. I’m not a cranky old dude who hates the new wave of technology.

But: I don’t want to record my own marriage proposal.

I am not against this at all. But as for me: I just want to keep it in here, between me and my wonderful lady, and not for the world to see.

There is something about recording an event that feels alarmingly self-conscious. It’s sort of a heightened hyper-reality, like I’m thinking ahead to how it’ll be seen, like I am not really there but stuck in a superimposed future.

There is something about squeezing a memory into YouTube that feels driven by a performer’s paranoia, like I must get every moment just right to get the maximum views, the most tears, the most thumbs up.

I don’t mean to sound old-fashioned. Really.

But I’m one of those guys who loves the power of story. The simplicity of re-telling, with my hands and my eyes and my voice, in a chair right in front of you, looking far off to remember every pulsing moment. The quiver in my lips. The smile I can hardly contain. That final breath after the final word.

It is the sharing of our human experience by human means that allows the seed of imagination to bloom. Of course videos can do that. But videos cannot exercise the paintbrush of our spirit. It does the painting for us. Sometimes that is good, but it demands nothing. It is not involved. A video can occasionally be like walking through a museum. A story invites you in to participate. To ride on a journey in that invisible space between your head and your heart.

When my future wife or I pass away, and if God allows us the grace to be with each other on our last days, then we won’t have a video of the day I proposed. Maybe it will be a loss. But we will have our laughter. We will have our tears. We will have an ocean of memory running deep in our veins, a rushing river of intimacy that no one can invade. We can remember together. It will be our private moment. It will be the last thought on my deathbed, and so as I go, it will go as well.

The world can’t have that one.

It belongs to me, to her, and to God.

— J

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8 thoughts on “Why I’m Not Recording My Marriage Proposal

  1. No video can capture what it feels like to see your bride enter the church. No video will tell how cold our hands were, and no video remembers our whispered debate over when, exactly, to cut the cake. But those memories are what warm our hearts.

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  2. I’m terrible about getting pictures for the same reason. When someone’s pointing a lens at me, I’m no longer thinking about the experience, but the perception I’m giving. I don’t like doing that to others very often either.
    Well put.

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  3. Totally agree with this although I probably am one of those cranky old guys 😛

    We didn’t videotape our wedding, either, and specifically forbade anyone else from doing so. In the last 23+ years of marriage, there hasn’t been a single time we’ve regretted that decision. We have a scrapbook of some of our wedding still photos, with handwritten copies of the vows we wrote for each other, and it is enough. Each stage of life is full of experiences and joys and sorrows that need to be lived now. We shouldn’t rely on joys of the past for our current outlook, any more than the sorrows of the past should be pulling us down. The Lord himself told us that. As far as I’m concerned, the memories of those moments will always be much better than a video could ever be.

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  4. Very sweet bro :). We don’t have ours taped or pictures either. I’m glad we have the wedding though because I like to watch it every now and then. I’m a big picture person. When my Papa died I was upset that I didn’t have many pics to remember him. I started forgetting how he looked and it made me sad. Also I have a bad memory. Most of what I remember from my early childhood is because of pictures. So I guess photos to me are proof that I was there and if someone dies I’ll remember them. That’s pitiful probably. I wish I had a better memory. I also like to record voices especially since my Dad died. I have copies of voice messages he left :). If I ever get alzheimers maybe my Hubby can bring me back with our scrapbooks lol.

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  5. On behalf of your future wife, thank you! The over-the-top proposals with recording apparatus seem staged and somehow phony. I’m sure she’ll appreciate keeping this moment between just the two of you. 😉
    PS – are you planning to do this sometime soon? I’ve been out of the loop, so could have missed something as exciting and important as this! If so, congratulations. 🙂

    \o/

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