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Proposing on the First Date

I Proposed to My Now-Husband on Our First Date

"Carpe diem" is a phrase all about the value of seizing the day. It's something I thoroughly believe in because I always find that if I hesitate, I miss out. For example, if I stall buying plane tickets, the prices skyrocket, and when I hesitate to buy something at Costco, it isn't there when I go back.

Luckily, I'm not the same way with boyfriends. Um, that doesn't sound right. What I mean is, when I met my now-husband, it was love at first sight. He intrigued me, so I seized the day: I asked him to marry me even though it was the first date. I "carpe'd" his "diem."

I saw him for the first time at a political meeting and was disappointed that he did not stay for drinks afterward, the stinker. But on the day of the Australian federal election in 2004, he introduced himself.

We talked throughout the day and he offered me a ride back to town, since we were campaigning away from the city and I had caught the train. When we finally got back to town, I got down one knee in front of a restaurant on the main drag and popped the question. At that point, we'd spent all of maybe four hours properly together.

I just knew he was the one. I was breathless with excitement and possibility. Was it that he was the man I had been dreaming about my entire life? Dark hair, Irish pale skin, green eyes — he was it for me. I guess he just needed to stare into my eyes a little bit longer though, because he suggested we wait until we'd known each other for 12 hours. Or maybe he said another 12 hours, I can't remember exactly. Whatever. I seized the day, and evidently his heart with my irrationality.

Flash forward to our first Valentine's Day. It was quite the affair. We were living in Sydney and went to the picnic spot de jour — on the harbour, along with 10,000 other couples. Everyone was just about blanket to blanket and intimacy was an embarrassment — or a competition — since everyone had to look their neighbours in the eye when they glanced bashfully away from their valentine.

We had the standard, romantic picnic foods and presents for each other. I had made him a matching singlet and undie set, as you do, and he had put together a bunch of clues and little poems, which peeled away to reveal plane tickets to join him on an overseas holiday. I was not disappointed to not receive a ring, but the thought had crossed my mind because we were maniacs in love. And also, because I had already proposed to him and he had said "not yet."

Lucky for me, he changed his mind five and a half months after I first proposed to him and six weeks after that Valentine's Day!

Perhaps I had planted a seed, or perhaps he saw me for what I was — impetuous and naïve, adventurous and exciting, seizing the day. I'm not suggesting that everyone run out and propose to someone on the first date — unless of course, that's what's right for you (10 years married and it was the right decision for us) — but I am saying "seize the day," your day. Make it this day.

Give someone special that valentine this year, invite them on a scenic picnic or on a scavenger hunt around town. Hold eye contact a fraction too long to let them know how you feel, because "he who hesitates is lost." Act now because for all you know when you finally make it back to the store that thing you wanted could be gone.

Micayla Lally is the author of the contemporary romance A Work of Art (out May 2). Originally from Australia, Micayla now resides in Oregon with her husband and their three boys. When she isn't planning their next vow renewal — which they've done multiple times — Micayla can be found writing, sewing, and reading into the wee hours of the night.

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