I proposed to my husband 30 years ago

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Brides is committed to guiding ALL couples not only through their wedding planning journey, but also through the stages of the relationship and the ups and downs. Every love story is beautiful, has its own distinct story and its own trials – no relationship is alike. To celebrate this uniqueness, we’re asking couples to talk about their romance, for our latest column, “Love Looks Like This.” Below, writer Michelle M. Winner tells her story.

“What are you doing with your life? You’re not getting any younger, you know. My dad chose to drop that wisdom bomb at the Sunday breakfast table. I was 36 and wasted another Saturday evening on the dating ride. “You should find a nice guy and get married. Dad’s idea of ​​the secret to happiness was a beautiful wedding like his. I washed down my papaya with Kona coffee. “OK, Dad, I’ll work on it,” I said halfheartedly, accepting his challenge.

Most datable men in my age group were socially, financially, or mentally unbalanced here on Oahu. I wouldn’t even consider a man with multiple divorce baggage, another spoiled bachelor “trusts a farien” with zero training, or an overly laid back guy who rode the pakalolo wave.

Looking at the ocean is a meditative process that always offers me insight. After watching Maunalua Bay from my parents’ house on top of a mountain ridge, I noticed concentric circles of wake on the water. I went to my dad’s telescope, focusing on a small craft and a group of guys on the beach. Based on the percentages, I figured there must be at least one single man to talk to, but I quickly needed a plan. I changed into hot pink and purple spandex workout clothes, adding lip gloss and mascara. I was an outrigger canoe paddler. I’ve never worn makeup in the ocean, but I was on a mission to grab attention – beach-babe style. I jumped in the car for the short drive to the bay.

I parked away from the jet ski group and ran across the sand. I approached a guy who was watching me intently and asked him, “What’s the point? He looked puzzled. “Can’t you enjoy the ocean without the noise and the fumes? Have you ever paddled a kayak or surfed an outrigger canoe? I said. He offered me his binoculars to see the action from his perspective. After watching several rotations of noisy craft, I returned his glasses and he handed me a gave her business card, her last name was Winner. Is this a joke, I thought?

But, I was curious. I invited him to my club for a drink later. He appeared puzzled. “Honestly, I thought you were inviting me to a strip club where you worked,” he said. So much for having found a quality husband according to my father’s instructions. We sipped cocktails on the veranda of the Outrigger Canoe Club and watched the fiery orange sun slowly sink into the ocean.

Fast forward, but not too fast. I stretched things out a bit, wanting to get to know Mr. Winner better. He had impeccable manners, was kind, caring, generous, a fabulous cook and enjoyed being with me. He was from the East Coast, and I was from Hawaii. But, we shared similar upbringing and values.

On Christmas Eve, he booked dinner for two at my dad and mom’s favorite restaurant, the Maile Room at the Kahala Hilton. He had secretly asked my father where to take me. I asked her to pick me up from my parents while I was getting dressed to give her some alone time with my parents. He had other ideas. My father answered the door to a well-dressed man carrying nicely wrapped presents. “Hello, Mr. Moranha, could you please give them to Michelle?” Mom came into the dressing room smiling. “He’s lovely,” she said as we gently unwrapped a chic red dress and red leather high heels.

The cocktail dress fits perfectly. But, I felt like Cinderella’s ugly sister trying to push my flipper-sized feet into a sage six. Of course, I would have felt mortified if they had been my actual size ten. Was he so smart with women? When he first saw me, he handed me another present. The jeweler’s box revealed a gold choker with a ruby ​​and diamond center which he shyly tied around my neck. Over our exquisite Grand Marnier soufflé dessert, I told her that I was overwhelmed and felt like a princess. He only smiled.

As that weird post-Christmas week of disappointment blew, I was still doing my own thing. He would call. I wouldn’t answer. He would invite me to an elegant event. I would agree, only to send him back to my door in a bathrobe when he came to pick me up. I was cruel and disrespectful. I didn’t care about anything or anyone, a spectator in my own life. I couldn’t help it and I was in pain. He never abandoned me. He just gave me space, checking if I was hungry or broke. I think he was in love.

I celebrated the last night of the year alone in my apartment, enduring hours of self-loathing. Just after midnight, I called him. He had one of those cell phones from the 90s that looked like a brick. “Where are you?” I asked. “On the North Shore waiting for the sun to rise.” “Well,” I told him, “Come and get me when it is.” He was there in an hour. I moved into his house with my cat, and it was natural.

Months later, after a day of jet skiing on Maunalua Bay—yes, an eye roll here would be appropriate—we stopped at the club for pupus and sunset. I watched him interact with my friends in his easy and open way. We walked hand in hand to the upper parking lot as the rising moon lit up the ridges of Diamond Head. He turned and kissed me slowly and with the depth of feeling that only lovers know. This time lightning and rockets erupted in my head; I flew elsewhere. We went home and made love. It was so good. I bared my soul and asked her to marry me.

Courtesy of Michelle Winner


We got married at the Kahala Hilton in a simple beachside ceremony a few months later. My dad’s opera glasses replaced the binoculars and telescope on top of our cake. “I love this one,” my dad said as we walked down the aisle together toward my fiancé. It was his way of reminding me that I had followed his advice. “Thank you, Dad,” I smiled. Next year, Mr. Winner and I happily celebrate 30 years of personal growth, our crazy-wonderful family, fabulous adventures, deepening love, and my marriage proposal. We wouldn’t change anything.

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