Adam and Rachel's Boulder, Colorado Proposal

Today’s proposal comes from the New York Times best selling author Adam Bornstein, who recently launched Fit Together – a pre-wedding personalized fitness and diet plan for couples.

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“You’re only supposed to ask her to marry you once, right?”

That was the thought that ran through my head about 732 times within what must have been only 5 seconds. I had spent so much time obsessing over remembering every moment of this day that now my mind was making it nearly impossible. There I was, on my knee, proposing to this beautiful brunette, and all that greeted me was my own reflection in her sunglasses.”

No news was good news so I asked again.

“Will you marry me?”

“I’m going to marry this girl.”

As I said the words, the voice on the other end of the line had an undeniable swagger.

“I told you Born. ‘Mark my words,” you’re going to end up with this one,” my best friend (and future best man) Neema was on the other end of the line.

If the timing of this story seems awkward, let’s bring you up to speed and back to 2011. This was the exact phone call that occurred a mere 5 minutes after my first date with Rachel. Yup. Date #1 and I was telling my best friend about marriage. If it sounds crazy it’s because it was.

That night, Rach and I had dinner and stayed at our table until they closed down the restaurant. She joked with me all night, showing a type of personality, humility, kindness, and outlandish humor that I had never experienced before in my life. Forget the pretenses of being masculine. I’m a guy who makes a living writing for men’s magazines, but I admitted it then as much as I admit it now: I was in love.

The date ended when the restaurant literally turned off the heat, froze us out of our seats, and into the Pennsylvania night. Apparently I suffered from brain freeze because I gave the world’s worst goodbye (didn’t even walk her to her car), and ended up thinking, “What did I just do?”

I climbed into my SUV, dialed my best friend, and called my shot.

“I’m going to marry this girl.”

Neema wasn’t surprised. He told me the same thing a week prior, before we even met.

Meanwhile, as Rachel approached her car—alone—the response couldn’t have been much different.

“Strike 1, Mr. Bornstein.”

It didn’t matter that I swung and missed. She wasn’t going to see another batter. I called her the next day.

“I’m going to marry Rachel.”

My parents were on the other line. If two Jewish parents could ever jump higher than 10 inches off the floor, I imagine this was the mythical moment when it happened. That’s what occurs when you have great parents. Their love hit me through the phone.

Their surprise? Not so much.

I had been telling them this for months. This is what happens when you fall in love on your first date, wait patiently to tell the girl you love her, and then have to wait even longer to ask her to marry you at the risk of sounding absolutely insane.

To say I’d known for a long time was an understatement. Six months before I planted the seeds of what would be my proposal.

I’d created an elaborate plan that consisted of me insisting I had never seen the sun rise in Boulder, CO. Knowing that Rach was not a morning person, I knew that getting her up for a sunrise would be a big event. In this case: 6 months of infrequent reminders. It was almost an afterthought, but still something we said we’d do.

Every few months I would bring it up. I had a date circled already. October 1. A football Saturday in Boulder.

I knew that on the day I’d ask the women I fell in love with in one day to marry me I’d probably be a bit of a freak show. So I did the only logical thing: I scheduled it on a day when I’m always a bit of a freak show: when the Colorado Buffaloes play football. I’m a passionate fan, and let’s just say their on field performance the last few years hasn’t been pretty.

Any weirdness would easily be attributed to the game. So the plan was set. Take her up to the mountains. Propose on to top of the world. And celebrate in style.

“I’m never going to marry this girl.”

It was my parents on the other line, actually, this time just my dad. Two plane delays and a night spent in Chicago, and here I was on October 1, waking up the morning of my supposed proposal in a Hilton waiting to catch the 6:50 a.m. flight to Denver.

All of my elaborate plans were thrown out the window. The park rangers I called to shut down the mountain for me? Gone to waste.

The morning picnic and watching the sunrise? That’s not going to happen.

The perfect scene to ask that important question? Guess I’ll have to save it for my next proposal. (That’s a joke.)

Naturally I channeled my inner MacGuyver and did what all men are born to do: Pretend to be awesome, make a plan, and end up doing some idiotic things in the process.

With some helpful assistance from my dad, I still went to where I planned to ask Rach to marry me. Only now, dozens of tourists were in from out of town occupying the space. Every time I had a moment, more people crowded the beautiful mountain overlook.

Boulder Colorado Engagement

At one point, my chance finally came. I slipped the ring out of my pocket and into my right hand. As I was about to prepare for my moment, Rach asked me to snap a couple selfie.

“NO! Not now!” I felt the ring getting sweaty in my hand.

“Are you ok?” Rachel asked.

I was being too obvious. Waaaay too obvious. Calm down. Breathe. And grab the camera with your left hand.

“Of course I’ll snap a pic,” as I hold on carefully to the diamond in my other hand.

Time went on. Who knows how long it was.

And just when it seemed like I’d never be able to ask, everyone disappeared.

Time froze for a moment. The only other time I’ve ever feel the same was a year later at our wedding during our first dance. The world could have been ending and I wouldn’t have noticed.

I prepared a few short words. Something I wanted her to remember. Once I finished, I told her I loved her and would love her forever.

The plan was to then drop to one knee. Only Rachel pulled me in for an affectionate hug. It was beautiful. But it ruined everything. She was not supposed to hug me. I was supposed to drop to my knee.

I froze. She wasn’t supposed to hug me.

I stood like an idiot. She looked at me. I looked at her. It was that awkward moment in sixth grade when you wait for someone to make the first move on the dance floor.

Do something!
So I did the only thing left to do: I finally dropped to one knee and asked that question.

Rachel, will you marry me?

It was now the third time I asked. To say this was not how I planned things going would be an understatement.

Once the word “me” left my tongue, Rach finally made a move. She raised her hands, took off her glasses, and revealed water logged eyes.

At that point I didn’t need words to know the answer, but she gave me the best 3-letter response I’ve ever heard.


I hugged her. Kissed her. Put the ring on her finger, and then heard the worst three words in the world

Is it real?

She was referring to the situation. Not the ring. Shock and excitement were the only reasons why it took so long for her to respond. The stunned reaction was exactly what I had wanted.

We hugged. Took a few pictures. And I honestly couldn’t tell you much more of what happened that day. We celebrated. Saw a football game. Ate good food. But the details were lost on me. And you know what? It doesn’t bother me one bit.

All that really mattered was she said yes.

Boulder Colorado Engagement 2

Adam Bornstein is a New York Times best selling author and the founder of Born Fitness. Named “one of the most influential people in health and fitness, you can read more from him at or interact with him (and receive virtual high-fives) on Twitter (@BornFitness). Adam recently started Fit Together – a pre-wedding personalized fitness and diet plan for you and your significant other – and has spots available for couples everywhere.