It’s Not About the Wedding – Chapter 3 – It’s Not About the Ring

This is the 3rd in a series of 16 chapters from a new manuscript I am working on called It’s Not About the Wedding: A Common Sense Guide to Getting it Right the First Time, or Any Time.  I would love to receive any and all positive or negative feedback on this topic, particularly from those of you who are perhaps currently engaged to be married!  Stay tuned for subsequent chapters to follow…

© All rights reserved by H. Fralin

Chapter 3 – It’s Not About The Ring

A ring is a symbol.  An engagement or wedding ring is supposed to be a symbol of love and never-ending unity.  Instead, it has become a symbol of status.  Spend a day watching wedding-themed television shows, movies, and even commercials, and you would think that the success of your marriage is determined by the size, cut, cost, color, and design of your engagement ring – and/or where you bought it.

As a man who was once young, poor, and engaged – all at the same time – let me assure you that this is a pressure pot that does nothing to relieve any nervousness a future groom may feel about “settling down”.  And don’t even mention the whole “two month’s salary” rule, which originated from De Beers marketing materials in the early 20th century, in an effort to increase the sale of diamonds.  If I hadn’t had the option to finance my purchase, and had only spent two months of what I was making at that point in my life, my fiancée’s finger would have instantly turned green from the gold-painted plastic and Cracker Jack residue.  So, in order to keep up appearances, I began my marriage (before it started) by going into debt.  Not smart.  Remember that by joining hands, hearts, and lives in marriage, you also create a joint financial future.

I read a quote that, while quite entertaining, also struck me as spot-on accurate.  In addressing the growing expense of engagement rings (the average cost of a diamond engagement ring is between $3,500 and $4,000), Conor Friedersdorf wrote, “In a way, it’s bizarre that women given engagement rings don’t respond by saying something like, ‘I’d love to marry you.’ (Beat.) ‘And thank you so much for this ring.’ (Eyes welling up.) ‘I cherish the thought behind it, and I’ll keep it forever if you’d like.’ (Happy tears.) ‘On the other hand, we could take it back and use the money to spend several months together in coastal Italy.’”

In an age where the average American family carries approximately $8,000 in debt, it just doesn’t make sense to start your life together under the financial burden of paying for something that is supposed to symbolize your love – especially when you consider that it could take your entire two-year “Honeymoon Phase” or longer to pay it off in full.  Heck, why not just “go green” and get your significant other’s name tattooed around your ring finger?  If a ring is truly a symbol of love, and if that love is reciprocated by the receiver of the ring, then the details of the ring should be irrelevant.  The size of the diamond is not directly proportionate to the depth of the love.  Look, when rings began back in ancient times they were made out of everything from bone to hemp to hair, and often had to be thrown away after about a year due to general wear and tear!

Men, I know the pressure is on. It’s not only pressure to get a big, expensive ring, but even just to pick out a ring that she likes.  Some of you probably fear picking out a ring that she wouldn’t be seen dead in.  Truthfully, if she really loves you, she will either tell you that she loves it or find a way to talk honestly with you about it until a compromise is reached.  It’s a ring.  Don’t sweat it.  You are not having a wedding to give her a ring.  You are having a wedding to give her yourself.

Women, I know the pressure is on for you as well.  Your sister or neighbor or girlfriend got engaged last month, and she has a 2 carat princess cut diamond on a stunning platinum band!  What are you going to do if the man you love gets down on one knee and gives you a plain gold band with no gemstones?  Are you going to turn him down?  He loves you.  Be content with his offering, whatever it is.  I know more than one woman who proudly wore the ring her husband placed on her hand on their wedding day until some undetermined day, years into their marriage, when she picked out a different one herself – with his blessing.  I know others who didn’t care for their ring at first, but who’s love grew so deeply over time that their desire for anything else faded away.  The ring, plain or pricey, could get lost or stolen tomorrow.  He, on the other hand, is a keeper.

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~ by suitenectar on August 27, 2010.

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