Maurissa, 25, was worried that Riley, 32, would not propose after he expressed hesitation following their night in the fantasy suite. She arrived on the beach in Mexico on the final day confident that she wanted to spend the rest of her life with him, but she did not know where he stood.
“My life has been full of letdowns and broken promises until I met you. You showed me what a real man is. You showed me literally everything I’ve dreamed of my whole life. You showed me that fairytales do exist, even though our fairy tale includes whipped cream and toes,” Maurissa said during the finale. “I really never believed in love at first sight, and you showed me that it truly is possible. I knew I loved you the first night that I met you. You were adventurous, passionate. I knew that I was going to do whatever I needed to to make you mine, and today I know that I wanna make you mine forever.”
She added: “You know that I like to run when things get tough, but the more that I run, the more that you stay and then the more I fall in love with you.”
After Maurissa’s heartfelt declaration, Riley tried to fake her out with his speech. “I’ve gone from city to city, from state to state and now from country to country in search of something very special,” he noted. “The difficult thing about what I’m searching for is that it’s not something that you can always see. It’s the feeling of my heart beating fast, it’s the feeling of butterflies in my stomach, it’s the feeling of goosebumps on my arms, and I know that that feeling is love. See, Maurissa, I love you, and I’ve loved you since our very first date, but I just need to be sure.”
The Bachelorette alum then dropped to one knee and asked Maurissa to marry him. She happily accepted, though she scolded him for trying to throw her off.
Earlier in the episode, Riley spoke about his dream to spend Sunday mornings with his wife and kids in the future. A title card at the end of the three-hour finale read, “Riley and Maurissa have lived part of Riley’s dream and are madly in love.”
Riley and Maurissa were a solid couple from the time of his arrival in Paradise. They had an immediate connection, which led them to the boom-boom room after their first date. She credited their alone time with helping them form a lasting bond.
“It was nice also because it allowed us more time together too, so that’s why we were able to build a connection so fast,” she said during a September episode of the “Bachelor Happy Hour” podcast. “We would have more conversation[s], get deeper sometimes.”