You may have heard that tradition dictates that an engagement ring should cost the man two month’s salary.
There are many problems with this “tradition”. First and foremost… it’s not a tradition at all. It’s an advert – and not even a particularly old one. And – no surprise here – it was produced by a diamond company, with the hint that any woman worth proposing to needed a ring of that cost. It’s also worth noting that the original ad campaign only suggested a month’s salary. So, men the world over, you can thank diamond dealers DeBeers for that little myth!
So with that one busted, where does that leave us?
The overwhelming societal expectation is that the man buys the engagement ring. To an extent, this is understandable from a practical point of view if nothing else. Many proposals come as a complete surprise. The proposer (so to speak) doesn’t want to get down on one knee with nothing to proffer his prospective bride, so he is the one who has to buy the engagement ring.
Given the fact that more and more couples will discuss the idea of marriage – so no proposal is truly a surprise – then perhaps it’s time to move on from this. After all, no one wants to be given a ring they find they dislike. And if you’re practically-minded, then you’d probably rather have the cost of the ring go towards a house deposit than a diamond you will forever be terrified of losing!
Perhaps the most-quoted argument against the woman being involved in the purchase of an engagement ring is the lack of romance. Sure, it’s not as romantic to be concerning yourself with diamond price per carat and having advance notification of a proposal. But is “romance” really a good enough excuse for something so huge?
Let’s say you dislike the ring your new fiancé offers. How are you going to tell him that? Do you just suck it up and spend the next 50 years wearing a piece of jewelry that’s not your style? And furthermore – do you think he’d really want you to do that?
The need for practicality is more important in a successful marriage than romance. Romance is good; but being able to be open, honest and make decisions as a couple is a far more important function when it comes to sharing your life with someone.
Perhaps the sweetest solution is, when discussing the idea of marriage, to put forth the idea you love of a proposal – but with a stand-in ring. It could be a cheap costume piece or even a candy ring if you’re so inclined! All it needs to be is something to mark the moment, and then you can look for a full-time replacement as a couple. That way no one gets offended, you can keep one eye on the cost and – most importantly – you’ll finish with a ring you truly love and selected as a couple.