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February the 29th – the date that legend has it when a woman has the privilege of proposing to a man. This tradition and practice dates back about four centuries.   It continues in our day and once again – Leap Year is upon us.

Information available about the origins of Leap Year proposals points to St Bridget in the 5th century. She lodged a complaint to St Patrick because women had to wait far too long for men to propose to them. He then passed a decree allowing a woman to ask her loved one to marry her on only one day of the year, the 29th of February.

There are other stories about Queen Margaret of Scotland announcing that men would have to pay a fine, if they refused a marriage proposal. Other legends from Northern Europe state that the fine was 12 pairs of gloves and, in some countries, a silk gown.

While the thought of 12 pairs of cashmere-lined, bespoke, leather gloves sounds like a suitable fine in my world, fortunately none of the hundreds of men I have coached has had to reach deep into his pockets to do this.

I have huge admiration for these men having witnessed first-hand the amount of detail some of them have spent ensuring that their own proposals are beautifully co-ordinated – sometimes like a Swiss train schedule so it flows smoothly.

As yet I have not had any of the women I coach ask my advice on marriage proposals. However, because this is Leap Year, the big question ladies is – should you propose to your beloved? If so, what, when and how should you do it?

IS THE RELATIONSHIP WELL ESTABLISHED

Firstly to eliminate the risks of being rejected, – we want to establish that this is a relationship with a solid foundation and that it has the legs to go the distance.

You’ve been dating long enough to have experienced one another’s worst traits, met the families, socialised with friends, discussed the future and what you both want from it as individuals and TOGETHER.

As long as he (or she) loves you and is committed to a future with you and has no issues with marriage, he/she should say yes.

Before answering the question as to whether a woman should propose and when and how should she go about doing this, I decided to conduct a survey. I am thankful to the cross section of men from all professions and trades – including some clients, a couple of good male friends, and an ex-boyfriend – men who readily shared their opinions and answers to help out.

THE RESULTS ARE IN

Stephen was quite emphatic in his reply that he would never want the woman he loved to propose to him. He’s very much the Alpha male and said that it would make him feel like she was taking over. “Heck, I would feel completely emasculated!” he yelped.
This is not about right and wrong. It is important to consider this if your partner fits into the Alpha Male category, perhaps leave the proposal to him.

Neil loved the idea of the woman proposing. “To me, the setting is so important,” he told me. “I love the idea of either a dawn or dusk setting as long as it’s a surprise.” He said he wanted a rich-textured experience followed by a fun event that she knows he would love – a concert, favourite musician or dinner in a beautiful location to consolidate the moment.

Rory thought a jazz club after an intimate kiss would be the ideal time and place. “I love jazz and the romance of the setting. This, together with the heightened emotions from the music would be just perfect,” he told me.

Barry was quite taken back when I asked his opinion, as it had never crossed his mind before. After some thought he replied that the best time for the question to be asked was just as he turned the light off to go to sleep, to followed by a passionate encounter.

Michael was quite in favour of being proposed to by the woman of his dreams.

He said an everyday real-life situation like a supermarket queue would certainly surprise him.

Personally I would opt for a setting that would be emotionally memorable.

Mark is into adventure experiences. “I suggest she pop the question just after a bungee jump when the adrenaline is high,” he laughed.
The detail is in the planning. If you know your man well, you will also know what he likes to do, whether he is a morning or late evening person and what time of day would be best.

When a man is planning to propose to a woman he thinks about it for a long time and women need to appreciate this.

If you have been waiting for Leap Year to do this – you still have time to plan the event.

Think about what would please your beloved. Unexpected is the keyword – don’t tell all your girlfriends beforehand.

I love the moment when Emma from Radio 4’s The Archers proposed to her partner Ed.

Imagine the scene: The lights are turned on and Emma compliments Ed for being an amazing man and a wonderful Father. She says that he succeeds and that’s why she knows he will be an amazing husband too. Ed is completely surprised and says, “What?” Emma replies and says that he knows she loves him and then asks the question: “Will you make me the happiest woman in the world? Will you marry me?”

This scene captures all of the surprise and emotion. Ed ecstatically says YES, again and again and again. Click on the link below to listen to the special moment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWvmrtXDocw

DOING IT

You might consider heading to a beautiful place with a good view, or an adventurous setting like skydiving, snorkelling, while watching the sun rise over a wilderness, or on safari. A romantic city break you both love such as Prague, Florence or Rome?
If you are very active, a hike up a mountain or hill with a bottle of something amazing to celebrate at the end.
Having been on the receiving side of two marriage proposals in non-memorable settings, I really do suggest that thought and planning go into the detail. Sadly both times I felt somewhat cheated of the magic and excitement of what could have been a truly memorable event

Mark this occasion by arranging something memorable afterwards: dinner with a group of friends, or dinner for two in a favourite place to consolidate the love you feel and last but not least a ring to symbolically tie the knot.

IF HE SAYS NO

Remain calm. It’s not the end of the world. Take a few moments to feel grounded and breathe before you ask him what the reasons are. It could be too early for him in the relationship. He may have some underlying issues you don’t yet know about – perhaps relating to finance, work, or deeper feelings about commitment.

Whatever is discussed, it could be a great moment of illumination and you may be given clarity about whether he is the right partner for you. Perhaps you will ask yourself if it’s worth investing more energy in the relationship, and if it’s time to move on.

To quote Bono: “Marriage is like an act of Grand Madness – you jump off the top of Killarney Hill and discover that you actually can fly”.

Wishing you a lifetime of love and magical kisses

Love

Shelley

 

 

 

 

 

Depression

A lazy Sunday morning – my house is very quiet.  My son is away for the weekend, no mess, no noise – oh yes, I love the fact that my student son lives at home – and I also love the solitude and the reflective time I can enjoy when no-one is around.  I slept in this morning, a rare treat.  The torrential downpours made dog walking impossible.  In fact the dogs took to their beds in disgust so I have decided to indulge even more and spent the entire morning cuddled up in my duvet reading a great book. I love my life.  But I haven’t always been in this happy place.

When I finally surfaced and came downstairs to make a late lunch I popped the radio on.  The words “I have nothing if I don’t have you” being sung by the late Whitney Houston, struck a cord that belonged to my old life.

The life where I thought I would die when my partner walked out of the door.  I was left feeling directionless, hopeless, locked in pain and disassociated from everyone and everything around me.

I was fortunate enough to know that if I did something about my circumstances, I would survive and eventually thrive.  So I used all the resources I had available to turn my life around from thinking that if I didn’t have my partner, I didn’t have anything.

It was a journey of intense healing to come back to the one truth that matters most in life – a truth that we often only learn when going through the fire.  I would volunteer to go through this yet again to get the lesson.

The truth is that YOU DO HAVE EVERYTHING BECAUSE YOU HAVE YOU!

Who you are is enough and you are worthy of great love.  This is the belief that underpins the foundation of  a successful and happy life.

The reality is that most of us were doing really well before we met our partners.  Needing a partner is very different to wanting to share your life with someone.

Neediness comes from lack, from not feeling whole, from not living life in your fullness.

When you are in the state of neediness it is because you believe you are not getting the love you want from someone.  The reality is that your partner was only a mirror for that love because it flows inside of you and through you.  The best place to be in, to give and receive a great love, is to be ok without it.  You want to love your life regardless of whether you have a partner or not.

It’s about coming back to ourselves and living an authentic life we love.  It is really about finding our passion and purpose.  With or without a partner – loving life and what we do shouldn’t be any different.  Yes, I know that it’s wonderful to share that closeness and intimacy, to have someone who has your back, a partner you can depend on and cuddle up to at 2am when the thought monsters decide to creep in, but it certainly isn’t a necessity  to live a purposeful, rich and rewarding life.

Do you know what makes you most attractive to another? It’s when you are authentic, you love your life, you are confident, and you can connect emotionally.

In getting over my heartache and the idea that I had lost everything, I successfully used my own programme that I developed to help my clients heal their broken hearts – and I would like to share these four steps with you:

Clearing:

Clearing your space, body and mind.  Getting rid of the items that were part of your connection.  Putting away the photographs, clearing bedside tables and cupboards.  Perhaps blocking your partner on social media forums – not out of malice and spite, but to aid the clearing part of the process so you can focus on you and are not tempted to spy or stalk an ex on Facebook

Exorcising:

Getting rid of the beliefs and behaviour that have not served you in the past and that are certainly not serving you now.

It is important to take the first step to healing your broken heart by developing a new belief.  This belief is what will underpin the work you start to do.  “I have everything because I have me.  I am worthy of great love and joy”, is a superb new belief to fortify your foundation.

Living the Dream:

Finding your passion and purpose again as you start to embrace a life you love – doing more of what makes you feel good.  Feeling confident.

Practical Magic:

The tips and suggestions to how to find love again.  How to approach the world of dating:  The do’s and don’ts of connection.  How to show up as your exceptional self.

Should you find yourself in a place where you feel you have nothing or if you know someone in distress after the ending of a relationship, here are a few practical tips for coping with each day:

  • Find a professional coach or therapist to support you through the process of rebuilding again.

 

  • Stay close to your family and friends for support.

 

  • Get up and get dressed each day.  Read and/or listen to something inspirational and motivating.  Google / YouTube.

 

  • Exercise! Yoga and walking are excellent for clarity and releasing endorphins

Much love to you

Shelley xx

 

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