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0807 Getting an Unexpected Marriage Proposal

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Welcome to English as a Second Language Podcast number 807: Getting an Unexpected Marriage Proposal.

This is English as a Second Language Podcast episode 807. I’m your host, Dr. Jeff McQuillan, coming to you from the Center for Educational Development in beautiful Los Angeles, California.

Our website is eslpod.com. Go there and take a look at some of our special business and daily English courses. I think you might enjoy them.

This episode is a dialogue between Sean and Ayako about someone making an offer, a proposal of marriage to another person, who I guess doesn’t expect it. Let's get started.

[start of dialogue]

Sean: By now, I think you know how I feel about you. I’m madly in love with you and I believe in my heart of hearts that you’re my soul mate.

Ayako: That’s really sweet of you to say.

Sean: And because I feel the way I do, I would like to ask you a very important question.

Ayako: Okay, but why are you getting down on one knee?

Sean: Ayako, would you marry me?

Ayako: Marry you?! Is this a marriage proposal?

Sean: Yes, and before you say anything else, I just want you to know that I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’m convinced that we’re made for each other.

Ayako: I don’t think...

Sean: And you just have to say the word and we could elope tomorrow, if you wanted to.

Ayako: Elope?!

Sean: Or, if you prefer, we can have a lavish wedding. I’m not picky. I just want us to be husband and wife.

Ayako: Sean, you’re a really nice guy, but don’t you think you might be jumping the gun?

Sean: No. You know what they say: “When it’s right, it’s right.”

Ayako: We’ve only been on two dates!

Sean: Yes, but they have been the best two dates of my life!

[end of dialogue]

Sean begins by saying to Ayako, “By now by this point in time, I think you know how I feel about you. I'm madly in love with you.” To be “in love” with someone means that you feel a strong romantic connection. In this case, to be “madly in love” means to be very much in love, to have very strong romantic feelings toward another person. I'm madly in love with you. “And,” Sean continues, “I believe in my heart of hearts that you are my soul mate, that you're my soul mate.” “In my heart of hearts” is a phrase we use when you are saying something that you believe in very much, that you know is true. In my heart of hearts, what I really believe, what I really think – is what Sean is saying here. He really believes that Ayako is his soul mate. A “soul” (soul) “mate” (mate) is a person that has all of the qualities and characteristics for a romantic partner, for the perfect romantic partner, someone who you could spend the rest of your life with, who understands the world the way you understand the world (even if you're crazy!).

Ayako says, “That’s really sweet of you to say.” “Sweet” (sweet) here means nice, kind. It's not a very strong word, however. When you say, “Oh, that’s very sweet of him,” you mean it's nice of him, it's kind of him. It's definitely a positive thing to say about someone, but perhaps not what you would say when someone says that you are his or her soul mate.

Sean says, continuing on, “And because I feel the way I do because I have these thoughts, these beliefs, these feelings, I would like to ask you a very important question.”

Ayako says, “Okay, but why are you getting down on one knee?” The expression “to get down on one knee” means to bend one knee and let the other knee of your leg go down against the ground. That’s the traditional pose or the traditional position that a man uses to ask a woman to marry him. To get down on one knee means to ask someone to marry you and traditionally that’s what a man would do in asking a woman to marry him.

Sean says, “Ayako, would you marry me?” Would you become my wife?

Ayako says, “Marry you?” She’s quite surprised, shocked even. “Is this a marriage proposal?” “A marriage proposal” is a request from one person, usually the man (traditionally), to marry a woman. So, Ayako is asking quite surprisedly if Sean is proposing to marry her.

Sean says, “Yes, and before you say anything else, I just want you to know that I've given this a lot of thought. I've thought about it a lot. I've been thinking about it and I'm convinced, I know for sure that we're made for each other.” We are made for each other. “To be made for each other” is sort of like having a soul mate, when you are saying that this other person in this romantic relationship is perfect for you, that you each have the characteristics that matched, that go together, and that make you a perfect romantic couple. Of course, there no such thing as a perfect romantic couple, but many people do believe that their husband or wife was “made for them,” meaning they're perfect for them.

Ayako says, “I don’t think…” Sean interrupts her and says, “And you just have to say the word and we could elope tomorrow if you wanted to.” The expression “to say the word” means indicate that you want to do something or the time that you want something done. “You say the word and I will take you to Venice Beach, and we will go swimming.” That means whenever you want to, you just tell me and I will do it. That’s what Sean is saying here to our poor Ayako. Sean says, “We could elope tomorrow.” To “elope” (elope) means to go and get married in secret. You don’t tell any of your family or your friends, you just go somewhere. Here in the United States, people often go to Las Vegas because it's easy, I guess, to get married there. They have lots of places to get married and you'll get married without telling any of your friends and family. That is to elope. Sean is saying that if Ayako wants to, they can go and get married today, tomorrow. They could elope suddenly, without having any sort of wedding or celebration.

Ayako says, “Elope?!” Sean says, “Or, if you prefer, if you want, we can have a lavish wedding.” He’s saying okay, well if you don’t want to elope, we can also have a very expensive, fancy, elegant wedding ceremony. That’s what lavish means, something that usually costs a lot of money. “I'm not picky,” Sean says, meaning it doesn’t matter to me. I'm not going to be mad one way or the other. He can do whatever Ayako wants. “I just want us to be husband and wife” – to be married.

Ayako says, “Sean, you're a really nice guy, but don’t you think you might be jumping the gun?” To “jump the gun” means to do something too soon, before it's the right time, to do something perhaps before something is completed. So, if you invite everyone to a party and you haven’t asked your husband or wife if they can come over to your house, you probably jumped the gun. You’ve done something that you should have waited to do until you were sure of, or certain of, other things. The expression probably comes from track. That is when people race to see who’s fastest. Usually the race begins by shooting a gun in the air. “To jump the gun” means to start running before the gun fires and you, of course, can't do that. That’s the whole point of having the gun, so everyone starts at the same time. Anyway, back to our story.

Ayako thinks that Sean is jumping the gun. Sean says, “No. You know what they say: When it's right, it's right.” This is a phrase that Sean uses to defend his decision. He’s saying that when it's the right time, you just have to do it, and now is the right time.

Ayako says, “We've only been on two dates,” meaning they’ve only gone out romantically somewhere as a couple or gotten together twice, two dates. A “date” is a romantic appointment, dinner and a movie, that sort of thing.

Sean says, “Yes, but they have been the best two dates of my life.” Well, even if they were the best two dates of his life, we would probably agree that Sean is jumping the gun in asking this woman to marry him.

[start of dialogue]

Sean: By now, I think you know how I feel about you. I’m madly in love with you and I believe in my heart of hearts that you’re my soul mate.

Ayako: That’s really sweet of you to say.

Sean: And because I feel the way I do, I would like to ask you a very important question.

Ayako: Okay, but why are you getting down on one knee?

Sean: Ayako, would you marry me?

Ayako: Marry you?! Is this a marriage proposal?

Sean: Yes, and before you say anything else, I just want you to know that I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’m convinced that we’re made for each other.

Ayako: I don’t think...

Sean: And you just have to say the word and we could elope tomorrow, if you wanted to.

Ayako: Elope?!

Sean: Or, if you prefer, we can have a lavish wedding. I’m not picky. I just want us to be husband and wife.

Ayako: Sean, you’re a really nice guy, but don’t you think you might be jumping the gun?

Sean: No. You know what they say: “When it’s right, it’s right.”

Ayako: We’ve only been on two dates!

Sean: Yes, but they have been the best two dates of my life!

[end of dialogue]

I know in my heart of hearts that Lucy Tse, our scriptwriter, is one of the best at what she does.

From Los Angeles, California, I’m Jeff McQuillan. Thank you for listening. Come back and listen to us again here on ESL Podcast.

English as a Second Language Podcast is written and produced by Dr. Lucy Tse, hosted by Dr. Jeff McQuillan, copyright 2012 by the Center for Educational Development.

Glossary
madly in love – with very strong romantic feelings for another person; with strong feelings of love

* They were madly in love, got married right after their high school graduation, and have been together ever since.

in my heart of hearts – a phrase used to present a statement that one believes in very strongly and knows to be true

* The job was interesting and paid well, but in his heard of hearts, Kolya knew it wasn’t what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

soul mate – a person who has all the characteristics one looks for in a romantic relationship; one’s true love; the person one wants to spend the rest of one’s life with

* The moment I saw Carla, I knew she was my soul mate.

sweet – nice, kind, charming and affectionate

* It was so sweet of you to help that little boy find his ball.

to get down on one knee – to bend one knee and rest one’s other knee on the ground, usually when a man asks a woman to be his wife

* I really like Labella, but we’ve only been dating for a few months and I’m not ready to get down on one knee yet.

to marry – to begin a marriage; to become the spouse (husband or wife) of another person

* As a little girl, Greta dreamed of marrying a handsome prince.

marriage proposal – a request for someone to become one’s spouse (husband or wife)

* Melissa had no idea David was planning a marriage proposal when he invited her on a trip to Hawaii.

to be made for each other – for two people to be ideally suited for a romantic relationship with each other; for two people to have the characteristics that each other is looking for in a romantic partner

* They have so much in common! It’s as if they were made for each other.

to say the word – to indicate that one wants to do something or that it is time to do something

* Just say the word and I’ll cancel the entire event.

to elope – to have a secret, informal wedding without telling anyone about it ahead of time and without inviting family members or friends, usually out of town and to keep the wedding stress-free and inexpensive

* Wynona’s parents were very disappointed when they found out she had eloped. They really wanted to be at the wedding.

lavish wedding – a very expensive, fancy, and elegant ceremony when two people are married

* They had a lavish wedding with more than 600 guests in a cathedral.

to jump the gun – to do something too soon; to do something before it is the right time

* We really jumped the gun by printing business card with our URL before the website was even ready.

when it’s right, it’s right – a phrase used to defend one’s decision, meaning that one did what needed to be done at the right time, even though other people might doubt or question that decision

* I know it’s foolish to buy the first house you look at, but when it’s right, it’s right.

Comprehension Questions
1. Why is Sean getting down on one knee?
a) Because he wants to ask Ayako to marry him.
b) Because he feels dizzy and almost fell over.
c) Because he wants to be shorter than Ayako.

2. What does Sean mean when he says, “We could elope tomorrow”?
a) They could just live together without getting married.
b) They could announce their engagement in the local newspaper.
c) They could get married before telling anyone about it.

Answers at bottom.

What Else Does It Mean?
sweet

The word “sweet,” in this podcast, means nice, kind, charming and affectionate: “Jemima is a sweet girl, but she isn’t very intelligent.” The word “sweet” can also be used informally to mean “neat,” “cool,” “hip,” or “good”: “That was a sweet ski jump!” The phrase “to have a sweet tooth” is used to describe someone who likes to eat sweet foods, or foods containing a lot of sugar: “Vince has a sweet tooth and he loves to eat cake, cookies, candy, and ice cream.” The phrase “to be sweet on (someone)” means to have a crush or to have romantic feelings for another person: “I think Derrick is sweet on Alice, but he won’t admit it.” Finally, the phrase “a sweet deal” means a good price: “The store is offering a sweet deal on sofas and chairs this week.”

to say the word

In this podcast, the phrase “to say the word” means to indicate that one wants to do something or that it is time to do something: “We’ve all packed, so just say the word and we’ll start the trip.” The phrase “to have a word with (someone)” means to speak with someone briefly, especially if it is a private or personal conversation: “Could you please step into my office? I’d like to have a word with you.” The phrase “to give (one’s) word” means to promise or to say what one will do in the future: “Of course I’ll go to your soccer game. I give you my word.” Finally, the phrase “to get a word in edgewise” means to be able to interrupt and speak when another person is dominating the conversation: “Adam speaks so quickly that it’s hard for anyone else to get a word in edgewise.”

Culture Note
Pre-Wedding Events

Long before “wedding bells begin to ring” (a wedding happens), many events take place that “lead up to” (come before) “the big day” (the special event, usually a wedding). These include the marriage proposal, the engagement, the engagement party, the bridal shower, the rehearsal dinner, and the bachelor and bachelorette parties.

After a man or woman says “yes” to a marriage proposal, the “couple” (two people in a romantic relationship) is “engaged” (promised to be married to each other). During their engagement, they continue “to get to know each other” (become more familiar with each other’s characteristics and interests), but much of the engagement is spent planning for the wedding. Some couples have an “engagement party” to officially celebrate their engagement to each other.

A few weeks before the wedding, there is usually a “bridal shower,” which is organized by the “maid of honor” (the best friend of the “bride” (the woman who is getting married) who has special duties during the wedding). A bridal shower is normally attended only by women. Everyone gives presents to the bride, and sometimes the presents are only “lingerie” (beautiful, delicate, and sexy underwear).

One or a few days before the wedding, everyone in the “wedding party” (the people who play a role in the wedding) “runs through” (practices) the ceremony. Afterward, they enjoy a “rehearsal dinner,” eating together in a nice restaurant and saying nice things about the bride and “groom” (the man who is getting married).

Finally, the night before the wedding, the groom traditionally has a “bachelor party” with his closest male friends. More recently, the bride has a “bachelorette party” with her closest female friends. These parties can be “wild” (crazy; without restrictions) and are supposed to be a way to say goodbye to life as a “single person” (a person who is not married).

Comprehension Answers
1 - a

2 - c