III. the most nerve-wrecking moment.
We arrived at Huiyi’s home and her parents retreated into their private spaces almost instantaneously; her father marched into the study to use the computer while her mother reclined at the living room to watch a Taiwanese drama serial. This left Huiyi and I in complete disarray of what we ought to do next. It was the most nerve-wrecking moment of our entire evening. I composed myself and attempted to solve this puzzle in my head.
Huiyi was fidgety and was literally skipping to-and-from the living room to the study like a siao-zhar-bor who had too much wine (I quote her father) in hopes of getting her parents into the same square-metre. She did what most daughters would do – approach the patriarch of the household – after all, she’s Daddy’s girl – what could go wrong? Her father left her with five golden words.
“Go and talk to Mummy.”
At this time, she was already crestfallen and I saw defeat in her eyes. We knew each other so well that I could sense that she almost wanted to give up. I refused to give up of course. So like a valiant (and absolutely reckless) warrior, I decided to take over the proceedings. With fire in my belly (not wine), I rescued Huiyi’s night like her knight in shining armour.
Bravely, I declared, “Aunty, actually tonight, Huiyi and I wanted to talk to you and Uncle about us getting married next year”.
*pause for effect*
“HUH!? SO FAST!?” Her eyes nearly popped out of its sockets.
*hears a pin drop*
“Let me finish the show first,” she continued, after composing herself.
*silence on set*
Look, there was almost nothing I could do except to let the matriarch finish the final fifteen minutes of her Taiwanese show. The knight in shining armour became powerless and felt his armour plates rusting in the quarter of an hour that seemed to have lasted forever. It was the longest and most awkward duration of time for Huiyi and I. Oh if only we could count the galaxy of thoughts that sprinted through our heads…
Well, to cut the long story a little shorter, her parents were pretty cool about it eventually. By the end of the evening we were in business mode – negotiating dates and being asked if we had considered the thousand-and-one things that couples should consider. We assured them that this moment had been one year in the planning. And that seemed to do the trick.
It wasn’t a real surprise that their initial reaction was that of sudden shock (and not sweet surprise) – this is a huge moment for any mother or father. The best thing that a man could do at this moment is to assure them that they can be confident that he would take good care of their precious daughter. Don’t exaggerate or make dramatic claims like “I will give her a great life” or “She will have everything she wants”. Instead, be mature, composed and calm about it. Tell them that you are serious about marrying their daughter, committed to do your best for her, and describe to them how you plan to do it in the immediate future. I think every sane parent looks for a realistic future son-in-law, not a romantic one.
All in all, that evening was a great moment for us in the relationship; it was a breakthrough knowing that we received their blessings and support. Never underestimate how important this is, especially for the lady. We used to think that we only wanted to marry one another but over the years, we’ve come to accept that we aren’t just marrying one another but one another’s family as well.
Finally, planning for the proposal can commence.
Next chapter: the ultimate engagement ring.