I recently asked some friends if it was really any different being married, for them at least. And it turns out it is. Her family had changed, his hadn't. Her family seemed to feel that it was now all as it should be. Granted, they had gone out a long time, and the proposal has a story, but it was never really as though anyone was being stuffed around.
I feel, in my long-term relationship, that where his family is looking forward to a wedding, my family is waiting for a wedding. It's taken a while to convince my family that they don't have to worry about the situation, and as civil as my family is, 'forthrightness' has never really been a stretch, so it often makes me uncomfortable.
But here's what I wonder: is it a sexism thing? Do people still think that because the guy usually does the asking, the girl is at the mercy of the relationship? Or does it just depend on how long a couple has been going out? or their age? What's the age/relationship length ratio before families start thinking 'What are you doing with our girl?' Do people assume that a lack of a marriage proposal means a lack of decisions in general?