My Engagement Ring Is Not A Competition

White Topaz Engagement Ring
One of my favorite alternative engagement rings by onegarnetgirl

I was interviewed the other day by a NYC newspaper about why I didn’t want a huge traditional engagement ring.  They were doing a story about how large diamond engagement rings are going out of style.  Then, APW posted yesterday “I’m So Tired Of The Engagement Ring Olympics“.  I showed my boyfriend the article, “See lots of couples are opting for diamond alternatives,” I said, showing him my phone.

He glanced over the article and shot me a look. I don’t think he’s sold on the idea that our engagement ring doesn’t have to be a diamond.

We live together, share the bills, share the responsibility of raising each other’s kids, hell we have our own kid together and are hoping for one more!  What is a diamond engagement ring going to prove?  That he spent money on me?  We spend enough money on food, household bills, our car payments, the joint debt we’ve accumulated together – spending money on a ring just to show the outside world we are “engaged” and putting him into debt is ridiculous.

“All my friends bought their girlfriends diamond rings, without consulting them, and they all loved their rings.  You don’t hear any complaints from them, do you?”  He asked me one day after about the zillionth time I suggested an engagement ring alternative.

I think secretly he doesn’t want to get me an alternative engagement ring because he’s afraid of the expectation surrounding the tradition.  Guys are expected to buy a diamond.  They are expected to save 2 months salary (or is it 3 months now?) for a diamond ring.  Friends will talk, family will gossip.  They may even dare to say behind our backs that he didn’t have enough money to buy a diamond.  And gosh, what would my mother think?  That her future son-in-law wasn’t doing the right thing by me?  Why does society put this undue pressure on men to buy the biggest rock they can afford (or go into debt for)?

Getting a huge engagement ring is not a competition.  It doesn’t prove his love for me.  All it proves is that he was afraid of what others may think.  But here’s what I think. (and what I think is more important than anyone else).

While getting engaged shouldn’t be taken lightly, it isn’t about the size or cost of the jewelry, it is about the significance of the event.  It’s about saying, “I want to spend my life with you and only you.”  It isn’t about the $50,000 dollar party thrown after the “I do’s”, it isn’t about how elaborate the dress is or if the reception is so unique and fun it’s talked about for years to come.  What I care about is being married to a partner who will love and cherish me forever, through good and bad, in sickness and in health, until the end.

He shows me his love every day, by doing the dishes without being asked, by helping with homework, by letting me sleep in when the kids are already up, or making dinner when I come home late.  He’s already shown me that he’s committed to building our future together by the little things he does.  Cuddling on the couch one night, I rolled over and almost fell off.  He caught me in his arms and said, “You think I’d let you fall?  I’d never let you fall, I’ll always catch you.”

No amount of money and no diamond can bring me the happiness I feel when he comes home at the end of the day and our son runs up and says “Daddy”, as he scoops him up and kisses me hello.  That’s the kind of happily ever after I want, and that’s what I have.  Diamond or no diamond, I’ve already won.


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