Georgia woman sets the record straight after social media reacts.

There are many ways to propose. Some people prefer all of the pomp and circumstance of a very public and extravagant proposal. Others like a quiet moment that’s meaningful to their relationship. And some, like the woman in this story, are wooed by a handwritten note.

So you can imagine the woman’s surprise when her engagement story went viral for all the wrong reasons.

A Controversial Proposal

a ring in a box and a note that says "will you marry me"

In April 2023, an Atlanta news anchor named Erica Murphy woke up at 5 a.m. and went into the bathroom. There, she found a handwritten note on a torn-out piece of paper from her boyfriend, Monta Homes, that read, “Will You Marry Me?” Next to the note was a gorgeous ring in a box.

Murphy was thrilled and immediately said yes. Then she shared the news on Twitter.

“So it’s been an amazing year with my guy. This morning before I left for work, he left this in the bathroom for me to find. I said YES! #FutureMrsHomes,” she tweeted.

What Murphy wasn’t expecting was for her photo to become a major topic of discussion. It started on social media, where people debated whether it was acceptable to propose on a piece of torn paper. Then it escalated as news outlets around America picked the story up.

“I will say that it’s one thing when you see someone else go viral and, you know, clicking and laughing and all that kind of stuff. But it’s a totally different feeling when it’s you,” Murphy later explained to Today.

“Today, I felt a little embarrassed,” she added. “It was on Sherri Shepherd’s show, and Hoda and Jenna had done a segment on it yesterday.”

Popping the Question

One thing Murphy wanted to clarify following the discourse was that her proposal was not an afterthought. It was planned out and executed with love.

“This man flew in from Detroit to do this. This wasn’t an afterthought,” she continued to the publication. “I had a really rough day the day before.”

According to Murphy, she’d been on assignment covering a Confederate memorial event that zapped her. “I’ve never seen so many Confederate flags in my life. I was just like really exhausted,” she explained.

So when she got home and saw Homes lounging and comfy in his boxers, she couldn’t help but feel a bit resentful.

The following morning her irritation continued when she heard Homes in the bathroom a half hour before her alarm. “I was just so irritated,” she continued. “It was a carryover irritation from before.”

Things got better from there, of course, after the pair cuddled and chatted. Then Murphy found the note.

“This is the type of person I am,” Homes told Today. “I want to catch her when she least expected it… I know other people wanted me to get the blimp with ‘The world is yours’ and all that other stuff. But that’s just, I mean, I could have done that. But I like this better,” he continued.

“That’s just kind of the way that we are. We play around and joke with each other a lot,” Murphy added. “To me, it was very sweet. I mean, this morning, for instance, I woke up because I still have this piece of paper that everyone’s talking so badly about. I woke up, he’s back in Detroit, and I looked at this piece of paper, and I just smiled and said, ‘Monta, you’re so adorable’ because I think it was really heartfelt.”

Remembering What Matters

At the end of the day, marriage is about two people who love each other and are ready to commit their lives to each other. Sure, an expensive ring or a fancy proposal matter to some people. But they don’t matter to everyone.

What matters most is the relationship itself: how these two people care for each other and treat each other. Material things come and go, but you hope it’s the love that stays as the years carry on. Some of the darker social media posts surrounding Murphy and Homes’ engagement prove that it’s easy to forget that.

Criticizing how two people in love chose to do things only leads to negativity. Instead, focus on the positive things: their love, their decision to spend their lives together, and even the way they were able to make a long-distance relationship work.

It’s a lesson we could all apply to our own lives when it comes to judging how others do things, especially if they go about their lives in a different way than we go about ours.

Because at the end of the day, what matters is love. Love, and honoring those who have found a way to celebrate it.