Although a lot has changed in Poland in terms of the social and personal relationships over the last two decades or so, proposal and marriage continue to be serious matters, and you need to be certain of your feelings before you can proceed with the woman of your choice. However, despite most of the population being Roman Catholic, many young people consider virginity and chastity to be notions which can only be read about in books of yore rather than practical tips fit for the contemporary world.
Before a proposal can be made, it is customary for a man and a woman to spend some time together (how much time is required depends on the personal situation and needs or wants of the couple concerned). They can either date for weeks on end, spending an occasional night at the other person’s place, or they can decide to move in with either one of them and try to live as a regular couple for several months, or even years. The latter stands in clear opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church, but many young people, despite being true believers, have lost an understanding of the strict laws which used to govern the life of the early Christians.
Surprisingly enough, this situation, although not directly endorsed, is tolerated by their parents who seem to believe that no harm is done as a result of getting to know the other person better through the common chores, problems and joys of everyday life.
Following the dating or living-together period, a couple may decide to make a firmer promise to each other by consent, or, and this appears to be a much more romantic approach, by the man who usually makes a surprise proposal to the partner. Bear in mind that most Poles are extremely romantic souls who strongly believe in love and romance, and are happy to demonstrate their commitment in a really knock-down manner. This would involve such extraordinary undertakings as surprise journeys to Paris only to propose to the woman on top of the Eiffel tower, declarations of love on stage by actors before a full house or, recently, on a tram because that is where the couple met for the first time.
The more unique, the better, as Polish women just love to be adored, and this is one way of showing them affection, interest, and wit – extremely important!
And now to the point: how do you propose (oświadczyć się) in Polish? Make sure you have an engagement ring (pierścionek zaręczynowy) and be prepared with your plan. It is practical if you have common friends as they will usually help with the surprise (niespodzianka). Once on your selected spot, ready to pop the question and physically possible, kneel (uklęknij) before your sweetheart and ask her this: Kochanie, wyjdziesz za mnie? (Darling, will you marry me?)
Otherwise you could consider the following scenario of a man proposing to his girlfriend while freefalling with a parachute:
Shouting: “Kochanie, czy nie zastanawiałaś się, jak by to było, gdyby nie otworzył się ten spadochron i więcej nie mielibyśmy się już zobaczyć?” (Honey, have you wondered what would happen if this chute were not to open and we would not see each other again?)
Roaring: “Co takiego?!” (What?!)
Shouting: “No bo pomyślałem, że wolałabyś spadać ze świadomością, że masz u boku mężczyznę swoich snów...” (Well, I thought you’d rather be falling down knowing that the guy beside you is the man of your dreams...)
Roaring: “Co ty pleciesz?!” (What are you going on about?!)
Shouting: “Kochanie, czy zechcesz zostać moją żoną zanim uderzymy w ziemię?” (Sweetheart, will you marry me before we hit the ground?)
Roaring: “Ty wariacie!” (laughing) (You crazy man!)
Shouting: “Odpowiedz, moja droga, albo czeka nas śmierć w rozpaczy.” (laughing) (Answer, my dear, or we’ll die in despair.)
Roaring: “Oczywiście, a teraz szybko pociągnij za linkę!” (Of course, and deploy that chute right now!)
Once on the ground, the man laughs and the woman is mad with the man about compromising their safety in the air, but happy at the same time. This is roughly how it works...