Before we delve into discussing why engagement rings are so important, let’s start out with a fun exercise to get you into the zone:
Try to think of every movie or TV show proposal you’ve ever seen – chances are you’ll come up with at least twenty in under five minutes! As you sort through your all-time-favorite proposals on shows like Friends or films like Gone with the Wind, you’ll quickly come to realize that the majority of these proposals involved a carefully selected engagement ring.
So, why is it that even the Chandler Bings of this world place so much importance in obtaining the perfect ring for their significant others?
Is it because they are all married to Monica Gellar-types, i.e. women who have very specific ideas as to what their ring, their dress and their overall wedding should look like, or is it more than that?
The tradition of proposing marriage with an engagement ring dates back to ancient Egyptian times but wasn’t widely popularized until the custom reached ancient Rome. Back in the olden days, the ring not only symbolized a partner’s commitment to the eternity of the relationship, it also served as a statement to charming bachelors looking to whisk soon-to-be-wives away for a frolic in the hay: any woman with a ring on the ring-finger of her left hand is no longer available to be courted.
Some people believe that an engagement ring should reflect a woman’s worth, with some schools of thought even going as far as to suggest that the cost of a ring should amount to 1 month of the soon-to-be-husband’s salary.
While the latter may not necessarily fit in with our modern narrative, there is definitely a truth to spouses wanting something unique to slip onto their loved ones’ finger – yes, when they start their research and the ring shopping extravaganza, their ultimate goal is to find a ring they feel is as beautiful as the person who will be treasuring it for the rest of their life. Now, if that isn’t romantic?!
In modern terms, you can think of an engagement ring as something as powerful as your Relationship Status on Facebook: once it’s on your finger, the whole world – ok, at the very least your family and immediate circle of friends – will know you’re headed down the aisle. It’s incredible how one, tiny, circular object can speak a thousand words but that’s exactly what the engagement ring does. Every time you look down on it you will be reminded of all the reasons you fell in love with your significant other, why you have committed to spending the rest of your lives together, and all the things you have to look forward to in the future. It’s a silent but eternal proposal resting on your ring-finger, your vows to one another solidified and always present as a reminder when times are tough. An engagement ring is a source of pride and a loud and clear message to the world: I love – and will continue to love – this person for as long as I shall live, and I want everyone to know it!
An engagement ring symbolizes your commitment to one another and forms part of ancient traditions, but that doesn’t mean that taking this step in your relationship without a ring will hold any less significance. Yes, it even happens on TV! Spontaneous proposals are just as romantic and as heartfelt as any other proposal. Should you have any doubts, just ask Cece and Schmidt from New Girl – Schmidt’s proposal involved a dollar bill instead of a ring yet they have been happily married for an entire season!