• SumoMe

The Better Half is a no-holds-barred question and answer session with Maria, the resident expert on all things from a woman’s point of view. Maria answers all types of questions related to men’s fashion, grooming, lifestyle, interests, and advice on maintaining the mantra: happy wife, happy life. Maria is a sassy, organized, and accomplished 20-something bibliophile with a Master’s degree who knows a thing or two about improving the lives of men. Maria also writes her own blog, called Forever in Pearls.

If you have a burning question that you want answered, go ahead and ask Maria.

Q: I’m thinking of proposing to my girlfriend, but we haven’t really talked about any specifics. Is it better to take a more intimate approach versus a public approach? Do you have any ideas that apply to women universally?
–Anonymous from Austin, TX

Ah, the marriage proposal. Few other events strike so much anxiety into the hearts of men. (Kidding!… sort of.) While the perfect proposal for your lady really depends on her personality, remember that this is one of the most joyous and intimate moments you two will share together. Above all, be genuine. You are asking your soul mate to spend the rest of her life with you. Therefore, try not to turn the proposal into a spectacle. This means you should NOT ask her to marry you on the jumbo-tron at the baseball game! (An exception can be made if she has explicitly told you that proposal-by-sports game has been her dream since she was a little girl). Proposing in public is fine, but make sure that your focus is on her, and her alone. If you must involve other people, then they should be people that she knows well- such as family and close friends. A flash mob of strangers singing at you is probably more mortifying than romantic for most girls. When in doubt, go for the intimate proposal. There’s less chance for something to go wrong, and you’ll probably be less nervous if it’s just the two of you. And when you get down on your knee, speak from your heart. Don’t try to memorize a script, or you might come off as canned and robotic. Just look into her eyes, take a deep breath, and tell her how you feel.

An aside: Before proposing, make sure that you two have discussed marriage. Make sure she wants to get married. Make sure she wants to get married to you. Discuss how you both feel about the major topics–kids, religion, and politics. While relationships certainly can work if you disagree on those major things, it’s important that you communicate well so that you can work out any disagreements that come up. For example, if she wants 3 kids, and you want to remain childless for life, then you need to talk about this before you put the ring on her finger. Love usually conquers all, but some things are deal breakers.

Q: My fiancée just bought throw pillows and window treatments literally one day after moving in. What is the deal with girls and decorations? How can I tell her that it might be too much?
–Shay T. from Orem, UT

Be patient with your fiancée. She just made a major adjustment to her life to move in with you, and she’s probably feeling a bit overwhelmed and excited with all the changes. I felt the same way when I moved in with my boyfriend. His apartment was now our apartment, but everything in it reflected him and his tastes. I wanted to turn his apartment into a cozy and attractive home for the two of us right away! Decorating is her way of visibly mixing herself into your life. If you dislike the decorations she’s chosen, offer to go shopping with her to pick things out together to redecorate your place. You’re going to need to accept that your bachelor pad as you knew it is a thing of the past, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a say on how the place looks in the future.