Love on Bended Knees

Photo credit: Freepix

Two days back, my best friend came barging into my room with her phone in one hand, her cheeks blushing with excitement, and a smile that hid the mischief in her eyes that I mostly know her for.

“You have to see this!” She screeched so loud that it took some self-restraint not to put my hand over her mouth.

“What’s the matter?” I whispered, hoping she would get the message without my resorting to violence.

“See!”  She squealed a tone lower, handing me her phone. It was a picture of Derele on one knee and Uloma being proposed to, with a caption underneath that read: “She said yes!”

“What!” I heard myself scream. Immediately I felt a hand over my mouth- my friend’s. I surmised it was better to be anywhere else but my room so I stepped out and she followed suit. There was no way I would have contained my shock at our classmates’ engagement without rousing my sleeping roommate.

“I knew only you would act this shocked.” My best friend said dryly while we were outside with mockery written all over her face.

Automatically my brows knit into a frown, “What do you mean? I had no idea they were even dating.” I replied with a hiss, still taking in the breathtaking picture before me.

“Exactly my point.” That was her parting shot before she seized her phone and strutted away like a proud female peacock.


Proposals are always a beautiful sight to behold and even more magical to experience in person. It always has this warm fuzzy feeling to it that leaves you smiling even as an observer. Valentine’s Day is coming (pressure intended) and it will be no news that several enamoured men will take advantage of the blitz of that day to finally pop the question: “Will you marry me?” to their heart-throbs (not that I am recommending it or anything).

The settings will vary from simple to grander proposals. Whether it is publicly or privately done, it seems that with every season, these men get even more creative about how they pop the big question. Despite the obvious variations that exist with every proposal, one tradition is always almost constant: there is a man on bended knee and hopefully, a woman flushed with embarrassment and beside herself with joy.

Why do men propose on one knee? The simple answer is this: it is a sign of love, a show of respect and loyalty to the future bride.

The exact time this began remains shrouded in mystery. A time travel to the medieval times- where monarchy was the order of the day- reveals that when knights were being knighted, they would usually get down on one knee in the presence of their Lord (the King) to show respect, devotion and loyalty. This also became a regular practice in religious gatherings. For example, the Catholics bend on one knee as a sign of respect toward the Tabernacle before settling for Mass. On the battlefield during war, the losing party will kneel in front of the winning army, as a sign of surrender. And I guess you’re more likely to remember when Jon Snow knelt and pledged allegiance to Daenerys Targaryen, recognising her as the rightful queen.

In present Africa, while some may argue that it is not our culture -saying it is a borrowed tradition from the Western world- it is no new thing to see a gentleman propose to his lady in this manner. Many regard this gesture as purely romantic but, it is beyond that. It has a more wholesome meaning attached to it because it is not just the knees that bow but also the heart.

Surrender. Honour. Sacrifice. These are the main themes behind the bended knees in a marriage proposal. When a man kneels, he is surrendering both himself and his lifetime to honour and serve this woman he desires to spend the rest of his life with.

Following this sign of humility and love, the man looks up to the woman in anticipation of a favourable answer: her saying yes. Unfortunately, this has not always been the case as the internet does hold memories of rejected proposals and sadly, most of these were public. For those outcomes, bended knees were simply not enough as some vital issues and discussions had not been properly had. But, I digress.

On the flip side, there have been stories of ladies rejecting proposals because the gentleman proposing did not go down on one knee. This has led to a question and another topic of discourse that seems to have varying answers: Is it enough to say no to love all because it does not come on its knees? I sense it is up to the lady alone to decide what her response will be if that happens.

For several, the posture is not as important as what lies in the heart but, for others, this posture is equally as important as the heartfelt confessions of undying love. So, I will be throwing this open. To my ladies, will you take him seriously if he is not on one knee? To the gentlemen, when it is time to pop the big question, are you ready to let love take you down on one knee?

As the time draws nearer for you to either be proposed to or be the one proposing (unless you hold a permanent Executive role in the single people’s club), choose to let love lead. To the gentlemen, if it makes you go down on one knee or two, it is worth it for a love that will last a lifetime. Lastly, if you happen to know the latest couple (Derele and Uloma), kindly give them my hearty felicitations.

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