3) Friendly Little Competitions

Amanda and I often have friendly little competitions. It has been a great way to plan creative and fun dates together. But I have been guilty of mostly planning things that I am good at, so I usually win. Amanda had been playfully teasing me about this, so I told her that I would plan a date contest that she could win.

We fixed a time (and I downplayed everything as much as I possible could in order to throw her off), but I told her that I wouldn’t tell her the nature of the contest. I told her to make sure to wear something she could get dirty. That got her mind racing in all kinds of directions.

When she came over for the surprise contest, I had two easels set up on opposite sides of the room in front of the TV. I told her we were going to have a painting contest (Amanda is much more artistically inclined than I am). I had easels, pallettes, brushes, canvas, and oil paints. I also bought a Bob Ross "Joy of Painting" video. I told her that we would have a contest to see who could better paint a Bob Ross original. I laid out some basic ground rules (stick to what Bob says, no looking at each others’ paintings until we are finished, pause or rewind as often as necessary).

Neither of us had ever painted anything before, and we were both excited. We got started, and it was so much fun. We painted for two and a half hours (even though the video was only a half an hour long!). We had a blast mixing paints, getting dirty, and teasing each other about how good our mountainous landscapes looked. We mixed paints together, so she knew that I was following the same instructions she was.

In the end, we both had paintings that we were proud of. The video was over, and we were just touching our artwork up with little additions. Amanda was so involved in her painting and so intent on making it as nice as she could that she didn’t see how much red paint I was using. My hands trembled with excitement as I painted in big red letters on top of my lake and mountains the words "AMANDA I LOVE YOU WILL YOU MARRY ME?"

It was time to look, and Amanda made me close my eyes before looking at her painting. When I opened them, I complemented her (honestly) on her work. Then I made her close her eyes. When she opened them and read the words, I was on my knees with a beautiful engagement ring. I repeated the words aloud.

Amanda was so surprised and excited. She had had no idea. Paint got all over both of us as we embraced and kissed. She said YES! I won the contest, and now we have two wonderful paintings that we will always treasure.


Proposal Story By:

Mike Nicholas 

Durham, NC


The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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