I'm not exactly sure why, but I have had a bug in my brain that wouldn't go away. About marriage proposals and the custom of the man on bended knee. I kept wondering where it comes from, and why? Maybe it's the recent engagement of our niece, Jessica, to Josh that got me thinking about it. They were on vacation in Hawaii when he popped the question, and on one knee offered her his lifelong commitment. So I got out the encyclopedia. Oops, the encyclopedias are gone! I meant I got out my electronic encyclopedia! And from this website engagementrings.lovetoknow.com I learned this:
Marriage Proposal on Bended Knee
There is no more immediately recognizable romantic gesture than when a man proposes marriage down on one bent knee. This custom has been around for centuries and remains popular today.
History Behind Proposing on a Bended Knee
There is no clear historical origin of the idea of proposing on a bent knee, but the gesture bears striking resemblance to many other ceremonial situations, including:
- Religion: Kneeling is appropriate during prayers and other religious ceremonies, including wedding vows for some faiths. Kneeling is also done to genuflect when entering a church or temple. When proposing, kneeling can have the same spiritual connotation and can be seen as a sign of respect.
- Royalty: Knights kneel while being awarded honors from kings and queens. This can hold true for a proposal of marriage and can be seen as a honor.
- Surrender: Bowing in supplication before a victorious enemy is typically seen as a gesture of surrender. When proposing, a couple commits to one another and surrenders oneself to being part of a couple.
Regardless of the origin, the idea of asking for a loved one's hand in marriage while partially kneeling is a highly symbolic gesture embodying the very essence of committing one's life to another. The ideas of goodwill, honor, and trust in that one person is opening themselves completely to another without shame or any physical defenses.
The practical reason behind a bent knee proposal is that it puts the engagement ring in an elevated position between the couple, letting the light hit it clearly without being blocked by both individuals. This highlights the glitter of the ring as well as emphasizing the strength of the commitment.
Modern Bended Knee Marriage Proposals
According to a study done by The Knot and Men's Health, 76 percent of men believe they should go down on a bent knee to propose. Many women find it appealing for a man to propose on one knee. The message behind the gesture can be that the man is offering himself wholeheartedly to the woman, without reservations, elevating her to an exalted position in their relationship, and offering her the choice to determine the course of their relationship.
So there ya' go!