Marriage is much more than fancy rings, a big wedding and filing taxes together. Marriage is about creating a partnership with someone who empowers you to live life to the fullest and who gives you bites of his/her differently flavored ice cream cone.
As to be expected, to get the marriage ball rolling it starts with a proposal that leads into engagement. Typically this involves a cute couple, where the boyfriend drops to his knee, pulls out a little box with a sparkly engagement ring and asks his girlfriend to spend forever with him (side note: I’m all about the women proposing, too. Go after what you want, ladies)! When friends and loved ones find out about this new relationship status, one of the very first questions asked is “Can I see the ring??” The second question is usually “I’m invited to the wedding, right?!” because the first thing you do after getting engaged is to create your guest list and not immediately make out for hours. Priorities. The ring question is always asked to the woman as we all assume the man’s finger will remain naked until the wedding day. But…why? Why don’t men wear engagement rings?
I get that not everyone is into jewelry, and not everyone wears an engagement ring or even wedding band but let’s pause for a minute to think about what these rings symbolize.
That little ring (or massive ring depending on your tax bracket) represents more than just a new accessory that you watch in the mirror as you attempt to brush your teeth with your left hand for the sparkles.
My engagement ring symbolized the following to me leading up to our wedding day 2.5 years later:
A fancy accessory to show off my new relationship status to family and friends.
Commitment to spending the rest of my life being the best person and partner I could be.
I was taken–off the market over here, folks! Move along..
Shouldn’t my new fiancé be showing off the same things?
When my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I talked about potentially getting married and spending the rest of our lives together, we also talked about our engagement. We discussed what was important to us, the ring situation and what we wanted it to look like (I wanted my favorite foods to be involved and let the record state I got my potato burrito right before he proposed). After all, this was both of our experiences to be engaged, so we talked about what we wanted.
It was important to him to do the proposing and he wanted it to be a surprise but would also take into consideration that I did not want to enter a hot air balloon or be a spectacle in front of a bunch of people.
We looked at engagement rings together because in my mind if I’m wearing the ring until I croak, I want a say in how it looks. It was then we started talking about looking at rings for him. Thankfully, he has an open mind, so we explored it more.
I shared with him my feelings about it being a symbol of our commitment because for us when I accepted his proposal that was a done deal. We had already committed to being together forever. I wanted him to have this tangible commitment on his hand too.
The fun thing about it being the 21st century is that we have a lot more freedom to make choices for what works for us and are less forced to live by outdated expectations.
On top of that, I was about to marry quite the looker who also happens to be super friendly to everyone. I wanted it to be clear he was also off the market, even if he’s friendly to you. Women often walk around with this “I’m taken” accessory while men typically remain with bare fingers until the wedding day.
My then-boyfriend-now-husband agreed as we continued to talk about how we wanted our engagement, wedding and marriage to look. A quick reminder that discussing openly and honestly how you want your marriage to look should be a conversation that is had well before any commitment is made (and continue through the course of your marriage).
He wanted to show people he was spoken for, and he also liked sporting something he’d never worn before. The ring he picked out was originally supposed to turn into his wedding band but of course, three weeks before our wedding he had to have a new wedding band he randomly saw while passing by a jewelry store. Big perk to men’s rings? They are ridiculously more affordable than the typical women’s engagement ring.
Again, marriage is more than rings, holding hands and stealing the covers from each other. Consider starting out the whole process as partners, both wearing a symbol of your love, commitment and the ‘back off I’m taken!’ look.
If you are planning to get engaged, ladies talk to your men about wearing an engagement ring and men feel honored to participate in this symbolic gesture of love, commitment and ice cream sharing!