Psychology of marriage proposals under scrutiny

Family|February 1st 2015

A Canadian researcher is to examine the psychology behind different types of marriage proposal.

Lisa Hoplock is a graduate student in the Department of Psychology at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. Having previously conducted research into the psychology of romantic relationships, she now plans to examine the previously unexplored topic of marriage proposals.

“How can we better understand this ritual that takes place?”, she explains. Hoplock plans to look at the psychology behind extravagant public declarations as well as more traditional proposals.

She believes that extravagant public declarations – at sporting events, in shopping malls, restaurants, and similar locations – may be motivated by uncertainty on the part of the proposer, and she cautions against such gestures.

The psychologist told Metro:

“If you’re not sure what the person’s response will be and you think they’ll be pressured into saying yes if it’s in front of thousands of people, that’s not the case. Sometimes these people do say no and they’ll run away.”

Evidence suggests that proposals that incorporate elements, such as the man going down on one knee, are more likely to be successful, she added.

Hoplock suggests couples discuss their relationship and their possibly differing attitudes to marriage before one party considers making a proposal.

“You can still keep [the proposal itself] a surprise,” she insists.

Photo by Justin Liew via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence

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