There are, as everyone knows, as many different kinds of engagements as there are people. For example, frogs generally begin their engagement by being kissed by princesses. Lord Ickenham, in contrast, recommends that you proceed as follows: “stride up to the subject, grab her by the wrist, clasp her to your bosom and shower burning kisses on her upturned face. You don’t have to say much—just “My mate!” or something of the sort—and of course, in grabbing by the wrist, don’t behave as if you were handling a delicate piece of china. Grab firmly and waggle her about a bit. It seldom fails, and I usually recommend it.”1
Still, while there is a lot of room for individuality, there are a few tried-and-true tips for those considering entering the married state. In particular, we would like to recommend employing the services of a professional.
If you want to make sure that everything goes smoothly with your affiancing, most authorities strongly recommend you hire an espousal advisor. Why make a mess of things, when you can have a professional do the work expertly. You wouldn’t take the elevator to the 139th floor of a do-it-yourself skyscraper, nor would you consider making an intercontinental flight in a home-made jumbo jet, and marriage is likely to have at least as much of an impact on your life as high-rises and passenger planes. So do it right: make sure you involve a specialist from the very beginning.
So how do you choose the right engagement specialist? There are several things you should look for when evaluating the betrothal pro:
- Make sure your expert has the right credentials. Certification from one of the three national engagement organizations—North American Troth Plighters Association; Commitment Specialists LLC; and American Espousal Institute—is a sure sign of professionalism.
- Check your engagement counselor’s references. If most of the engagements have been broken off, or most of the spouses are maimed, members of heavy metal bands, or believe that they are cabbages, you might consider looking for another expert. And if your prospective engagement professional has ever accidentally proposed to the wrong person, you definitely want to go with someone else.
- Ask your betrothal professional about his own marriage. You might try leading up to this question indirectly, perhaps with a question such as one of the following:
- So, I hear you like football. And speaking of football, does your wife ever beat you?
- I’m interested in your professional services, but first I’d like to know what you would do if you woke up in the middle of the night and found your wife drinking up your secret store of really expensive scotch?
- Do you offer a money-back guarantee? And speaking of guarantees, did you have to threaten your wife with a handgun to get her to marry you?
- P. G. Wodehouse, Cocktail Time, (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1958), 77. ↩