how mr. lively proposed


I know that some may be wondering how on earth Mr. Lively popped the question. Though he scheduled a very sweet post here on MML that went live right as he was asking me to marry him, how he did it in real life is still a bit of a mystery for many.

And though I could go on about the dozens of roses, candles, song he played, and the driver picking us up for Blackbird to celebrate afterward… that’s not really the full story.

You see, he really unofficially “proposed” back in February.

And that’s the story that really should be shared.

So let’s go back to the winter and I’ll tell the story from there, shall we?

Back during the winter Mr. Lively and I were just past celebrating our one year anniversary and were in a period of time where we were deciding whether the relationship was going to go the distance.**

Though nothing had to be decided in that moment, I knew that given our relationship’s pace, it was likely that we were either going to move in together in the fall or go our separate ways if we decided that we weren’t going to be together long into the future.

And all of the uncertainty at that point in time had me worried and unsure. When I envisioned myself the following Febraury, I wasn’t sure if I was planning on being single or theoretically on my way down the aisle.

This also influenced how I felt about my career vision as well. Living with him and getting married affected how I viewed what I would be doing in my career, to some degree. And all of the fuzziness made me feel lost.

As we at lunch on Southport one Saturday afternoon, these nagging worries were in the back of my mind.

Though I didn’t want to be proposed to immediately, I really wanted to know if he was going to get on that page or not.

I remember vividly that I stood in The Southport Grocer’s bathroom that day giving myself a pep talk.

“Jess, he’s only going to want to be with you forever if you are in a good, positive place. He’s got to see you at your best in order for him to love you that way. You’ve got to be a happy, complete person before he’s going to really know that you are the woman he wants to be with for the rest of his life. Chin up and be act happy!!”

But regardless of my positive self-talk, my mood remained pensive.

As we returned home on the bus, I shared how I was feeling unsure about my career in the future. And eventually as he listened to how I was feeling, I also alluded to the fact that it was in part about our own uncertain future as well.

By that point, we had reached his apartment and I had taken my boots off and laid on his bed, pretty much in the fetal position.

I was not the Happy Jess I was hoping to be, let me tell you.

As I laid there and he stroked my hair, out of seemingly no where he declared that he did want to marry me, that he would talk to my friend Emily about the ring, and that he would propose in the summer before we moved in with each other.


All of the sudden my life looked completely different.

The funny part? I actually was still in my fuzzy, unhappy mood. Just because he made his decision, my roller coaster of emotions did not automatically jump to the heights it became eventually. It was such a shock to me that he decided there, that it took about an hour to set in.

He chose me.

When I was feeling yucky.

He chose to be with me when I was NOT the most confident, collected, whole, happy, sexy, etc. Jess.

He chose to be with me regardless of whether I was on the top of the world or not.

Instead of loving me unconditionally because I seemed perfect at the time, he decided to love me unconditionally when I wasn’t anywhere near perfect-seeming.

And that means the world to me.

As Oprah has said, “Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down.”

He was there for me, ready to be with me forever because he decided that is what he wants. Period.

When I’m feeling up or down, he’s ready to be there next to me. Stroking my hair and telling me everything is going to be okay.

And as they say, the rest is history.

From then on, we began to plan our intention for our future and have been doing it ever since.

So though the “official” engagement was very sweet, nothing will compare to the love and acceptance that he demonstrated that dreary, February afternoon.

I didn’t have to be charming for my prince to propose, after all.


** When Mr. Lively and I first started dating, I was honest with him and told him right up front (not quite immediately, but within the first week or two) that I wanted to get married one day and was looking for a relationship that could lead to that outcome. He agreed that if we ever came to a point where we didn’t see this working out for the long haul, we would end the relationship and wish each other well.


This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Anne

    What a wonderful story, Jess. I think Oprah’s quote really, really rings true — for partners, lovers, friends, etc. We need someone who loves us in all of our moods and ups and downs, not just when we’re at our best and brightest. Wishing much happiness to you and Mr. Lively!


    PS: wearing my gold Flea bracelet today. Love it. 🙂

  2. Lovely story! My fiance had a talk with me a few months prior as well. I think it’s great to have a little talk first. Congrats again!

  3. Melissa

    I’ve been stalking MML for the proposal story since you mentioned it last week. What a great “unofficial” proposal story – thanks for sharing! Unconditional love, that’s what it’s all about.

  4. Oh Jess, this is such a lovely tale that gives me much hope that one day, I will feel that kind of happiness and acceptance with someone as well. This made my day. Thank you for this, and wishing you and Mr Lively the bestest of futures.

    Love, Miffalicious. []

  5. Lauren

    This is such a great story and put a big big smile on my face! Congratulations to you both! You are very lucky to have each other 🙂

  6. bethany

    My husband and I talked about getting married within the first few months we were dating, but it was three years before he officially proposed. He proposed in February on a day when I was really crabby about stuff, too – roommates, plans to study abroad that fall, and whether we would be able to get engaged and married when we said we wanted to. When he got down on one knee and showed me the ring, he didn’t just say, “will you marry me?” He said that I was his best friend and that he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me. Those words reassured me more than a ring and a flowery proposal ever could. 🙂

    Congrats to you and Mr. Lively – you’ve clearly learned how to communicate well, which is the key to a strong marriage! So… have you set a date yet?!

  7. katelyn

    this is maybe my favorite post ever on mml, and i’ve been reading for three years! i get a lot of smack when people find out how up front i’ve been with my boyfriend about wanting to get married. i so admire a woman that will put it out there that this is what you want, and a man who steps to the plate to say that if he doesn’t feel the same he would let you know. total awesomeness. congrats again on the engagement and thanks for sharing!

  8. Kelley

    What a beautiful, sweet story! Congrats again. 🙂

    I echo what Katelyn said – I admire that you were honest about the fact that you wanted to get married, and that Mr. Lively was brave enough to say, “if I can’t give you what you want, I’ll let you know” and not just string you along with maybes. You guys seem like an awesome couple.

  9. Kristal

    Wow, that brings tears to my eyes. That’s how you know it’s the right one…they love you no matter what.

  10. Audrey

    So glad you chose to share this “side” of your proposal. Congratulations!

  11. karlita

    Oh Jess, as always… thank you very much for telling us the REAL story.. I guess most of the bloggers would jump to the roses and candles and music story and skip the first one to make it look like a dream. Most of the stories I guess, start like yours… it is a serious talk about the future as a couple and when you know that both are looking to the same direction, that is when you feel the highest point of happiness.

  12. Alexa

    I think this is so beautiful. Congratulations! I’m so happy for you and for Mr. Lively!

  13. Susan

    I was wondering! Wow, that’s such a cute story. That’s the kind of love that I want to have someday, what a blessing that you’ve found it with him!

  14. Congratulations to you and Mr. Lively, Jess! What a guy to give you those affirmations (and clear intentions!) back then. Your proposal story certainly is a special one!

  15. dayka

    Love this! congrats to you for taking the time to really explore what you wanted (after your last break up) and having the COURAGE to go and get it! it makes me think of that verse, “you have not, because you ask not”. i’m sure you knowing what you wanted helped mr. lively get clear for himself as well. congratulations to you both for creating the life you desired…wishing you all the best in marriage! 🙂


  16. CB

    Aww, I am glad you posted this story! I love true love. 🙂

  17. Congrats Jess. I’m a little behind on my blog reading, so I didn’t know he had proposed. Wishing the two of you the best – You deserve it.

  18. Shirley

    What a beautiful and sweet story! I hope all the best. He’s a keeper for sure! =) And thanks for sharing.

  19. All of us have those moments where we are not at our best. To know that a person wants to marry you and will tell you that when you are not at your best is an even bigger testament to their love. Ahh, congratulations. You’ve found a good partner.

  20. Kelly

    That’s amazing!!! So wonderful. I love hearing stories like this! I knew my fiance and I would be getting married as soon as we started dating. He was my best friend, and we started dating when I was at my absolute lowest point in college (which was also one of the lowest points in my life). His happiness at being together and his love for me showed through despite the emotional mess I was.

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