The Almighty Dollar

Restoring some fiscal sanity in our -- negative savings rate -- lives

3.01.2006

Why I said no to an engagement ring

Shortly after becoming engaged, I ran into a former female co-worker. We had been friendly but lost touch over the years. When I told her about my engagement, the first question she asked was about the ring. I told her that I didn't have one. Her reply, "Oh, I am soooo sorry, hon'."

Whoa! After that, when people inevitably asked about the ring (or why it was missing), I clearly stated that I didn't want one.

You ladies out there are probably shocked by this, while the gentlemen are quietly cheering.

It wasn't a feminist, women-empowerment thing. Nor was it due to a lack of funds. Nor was it because I'm the type who reserves wearing jewelry for special occasions.

I guess it was because I felt our relationship had already moved beyond what the ring is supposed to symbolize. Our commitment to one another was secure.

My husband and I dated for six years before getting married. Early on, we lived in different cities and conquered long distances with ridiculously high phone bills (this was before cheap cell phone plans and IM) and the occasional visit (we were newly-graduated and poor). Thankfully, he decided to move here, got his own apartment, and eventually we moved in together.

By then, we were completely open about our finances (gracias, Quicken) and what we wanted in our lives. We had been saving for a wedding and honeymoon, both of which we paid for ourselves, and a future downpayment on a home. With this knowledge, an expensive ring just seemed like, well, an expensive ring.

Throughout our year-long engagement, I fended off the sorry looks and societal pressure to get one. At first, my mother said she understood why I didn't want one. But she bowed under the pressure and recommended that I just get a "little stone," so people could see it and it would seem like we were really engaged. As if I was planning a wedding in Italy for pretend. Gosh, even after six years of dating, my husband confessed to being nervous when he proposed!

So it's okay not to have a ring. The wedding will go on without a ring. The marriage will last without a ring. In many ways, your relationship (and your bank account) will be richer because of it.