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Kerre Woodham’s leap of love

Weekly columnist Kerre Woodham shares why she decided to take the plunge and propose to her Irishman.

The Irishman and I have been talking about getting married, on and off, for the past 10 years. But when you’ve been together for so long, after a while, a wedding with all the trappings seems unnecessary. Besides, I’ve never been a girl who’s hankered to be a bride and the Irishman has been married before.

All the wedding-loving women in my family thought it was very selfish of me. My grandmother even resorted to emotional blackmail. When she’d take a turn for the worse, the man and I would visit her in hospital and she would tell us it was time for her to “go”.

“Well,” she’d say weakly, “if you two got married I might be able to carry on…” Even in the face of that shocking manipulation, the man and I held out. But times – and people – change. I’ve been to the weddings of friends of mine in the past year and there was my own daughter’s beautiful nuptials last October – those young people declaring their love for one another was so heartbreakingly courageous.

Although we’ve always said we’d get married one day, I didn’t want to have a ceremony where one of us was in a wheelchair. Or worse, that we’d run out of “one days”. At the funeral of a friend of mine, who died too young, I looked around at our weeping mutual friends and thought I’d far rather have them crying for joy than sorrow.

February 29th was approaching and I mentioned to my Irishman it was tradition for the woman to ask the man to marry her on leap day and if I did, would I get a positive response. “Of course you bloody would,” he said, “but don’t you go changing your mind and leave me disappointed.”

So I asked in a card and he said yes and then I went to work and he went to the gym and it was all business as usual. There’s no ring yet and there’s no specific date, just a promise to do it within the year. We haven’t decided what sort of wedding either. I want a huge party – he wants immediate family in a remote location.

We’ll work it out – just as we’ve worked out every other challenge. And in the meantime we’ll take comfort from the support of our friends and families and the genuine goodwill complete strangers have shown towards us sealing our love with a wedding.

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