I was sitting at my desk when a girl I work with came over to talk to my cubicle mate.
“Can…Can I look at your engagement ring?” she asked. My cubicle mate beamed with pride, said “Sure!” and proceeded to tell the story of how she came upon her engagement ring.
She and her husband had looked at rings together and she had picked out the size of diamond, cut and shape of the diamond, and band color of the ring. He did the rest. I stifled a laugh when she said those words: ‘he did the rest’. What was there left to do?
Her story was followed up with our colleague remarking her boyfriend had recently brought up rings to her and asked what she would like. She had been doing research but was really unsure what would look good in person, among other concerns. My married colleague stated that she “had the perfect ring picked out beforehand” but when they looked together, her vision changed a bit and insisted that shopping for a ring together was the best way – you wouldn’t want someone else to pick out what you will have to wear for the rest of your life, was how she put it.
If my commentary had been appropriate (or welcome), I would have thrown in for a debate right then and there on why someone else SHOULD pick out what you will wear for the rest of your life.
There are so many moments where I will push for joint decisions: house/apartment, a car, a tractor, an expensive bottle of wine, a couch, you get it. There is a time and a place for joint decisions and as a strong female, I will always push to have my voice heard. But in this instance, tradition is firmly in place for a reason and one person should be picking out an engagement ring for the other. No one should spend countless hours drooling and dreaming over a piece of jewelry that they will not be paying for themselves. I don’t look at engagement rings, I know nothing about ‘cuts’ or diamond sizes and I am constantly reminded why that’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in regards to the “wedding fever” that plagues my age group.
1. You can’t create the perfect engagement ring and shouldn’t try.
Is your relationship perfect? Do you sit in a perfect apartment and sip perfect wine and chat about the perfect weather? No, no, and no. We are flawed creatures which means our relationships are flawed. It is in our flaws that we find the interesting and magnificent part of life. If we spent our days in search of perfection, we would be perpetually unhappy. If you’ve spent a better part of your 20s and 30s looking at the “perfect” engagement ring, you’ll be unhappy with the final product. No one can live up to years of expectations and you should not make someone try.
2. It isn’t about YOU.
I can go into any store and pick out the most beautiful ring, or the ring that fits my taste perfectly or the biggest, knockout diamond they’ve got and I’m sure my boyfriend would buy it for me if he thought that it’d make me happy. But here’s the thing: I do not want to look at my ring and be reminded of myself and my materialism or great taste in jewelry. I want to be reminded of the remarkable journey that I’ve shared with my finance and husband; I want to be reminded of the memories we’ve made and the laughs and tears we’ve shared together. Simply put, I don’t want the ring to scream “me, me, me” I want the ring to scream “us.”
3. Surprise! You shouldn’t expect the proposal.
Let me start by saying, you should have spoken about the idea of marriage with the other person and come to the agreement that you could see yourselves at 80, kicking it with a beer, still loving life together. By saying the engagement should be a surprise, I mean the act of the proposal should be a surprise. If you pick out an engagement ring together, the surprise is gone. Honestly, if I picked out a ring with my boyfriend, I’d pop out of bed every day expecting him to be on one knee at that MOMENT until the day he finally was. What is the fun in that? That is torture. The proposal should be a surprise, and you should be put on the spot and feel all the emotions that come with it. You shouldn’t be tapping your foot thinking “when, when, when.”
4. The engagement ring should say something about your story.
I imagine my future finance thinking back on our story, on how he’s come to love me, know me and understand me, and I envision him creating a ring from those thoughts. Is that cheesy/creepy? Yes. Is it what’s going to take place? Probably not. But the gist of the idea is that he’s thinking of us and the person he’s choosing to share the rest of his life with when picking out/creating a ring. Then, the ring means something for both of you and every time it flashes in the light, you’ll remember that and get a warm lovin’ feeling all over your body.
5. The process shouldn’t be easy.
If someone is asking you to marry them, hopefully, you’ve already been through some semi-difficult moments and know you can depend on each other to weather the storm. However, along those lines, picking an engagement ring shouldn’t be a quick “oh, I know this is what he/she wants – done & done” type moment. There should be a long thought process, arguments in head, advice sought and many rings looked at before the final selection. Because this is for life and that decision shouldn’t be taken lightly.
6. It is a first step in the path of marriage.
Many, many, girls I discuss this with say “But you can’t have something you hate, and then have to wear it the rest of your life.” I look at this statement in one of three ways. One – if you are picky enough that you would hate a certain diamond ring (and your fiancé chooses a ring that you could hate) then I would communicate that to him. If he loves you and knows you, he won’t be offended and the fact that you can talk to him about this sensitive of a topic shows that you’ll be just fine together (I mean, if you’re that girl, then he half expected you to hate it anyway, right?). Two – life is about compromise. If you hadn’t spent years looking at engagement rings, you wouldn’t be here now. (Kidding, but not really.) But seriously, would you hate it or would the idea of it just be outside your comfort zone? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received a gift I’ve “hated” at first, only to love it a month later and have the “can’t live without it” feeling 6 months later (i.e. any purse someone has gifted me). Three – say no when he asks. Seriously – if you are putting this much value and stock in an engagement ring and it doesn’t meet your standards, then you should just say no. You’ll probably continually be disappointed the rest of your marriage if you don’t.
7. Marriage isn’t about the ring.
Hopefully, you get your dream ring and your dream wedding, because that’s what’s important, right? Wrong. Be honest with yourself – it isn’t about the ring or the dress or the colors or the date or the venue. It should be about the person that you’re choosing to spend your life with. So stop looking at rings and start looking for the person you’d like to be with for eternity.
After all, you wouldn’t want a ring to dictate who you have to be with for the rest of your life.