Friday, January 6, 2012

Why does the ring mean so much?

We did things a little backwards when it came to our engagement.   Brian was already in South Louisiana working at his awesome new job. I was still in Kansas wrapping things up. It was during a conversation with my mom when I realized what our dream of a Spring wedding meant. We needed to look at dresses- now. We needed to book the church, reception venue, flowers, photographer- NOW! So 20 minutes later, after consulting the church’s calendar, I called Brian and said “How does this day sound?” It was that easy. We picked the date we would become husband and wife.  And within the next week, my mom and I planned a wedding. I must say- it was pretty impressive. But one thing was missing- we weren’t “officially” engaged. 

A couple of weeks later, Brian surprised me and flew up to Kansas and proposed. Just the two of us. He got down on bended knee and made it official. I love him. He loves me. We are going to spend the rest of our lives together.  He hadn’t had time to get the ring. But it didn’t matter to me. But it mattered to others.

When we did the obligatory relationship status change on Facebook, it started. “What does the ring look like?” “Show us the bling.” “Where’s the ring?” To me it did not matter. I knew why there wasn’t a ring. Our timeline was truncated. He wanted to do it right and get the right ring. And bless his little financially responsible heart- he wanted to pay for it outright. He wanted the ring to be his to give, not Visa or MasterCard’s. That is just another reason why I love him. He’s smart. 

But that didn’t stop the questions from friends and family. They meant well. They wanted to see the ring. They wanted me to have everything they thought I deserved. But the questions started to get a little old. And they started to wear on Brian. The lack of a ring became such a “Thing.”  I knew a ring was coming. There was no doubt.  But I would be lying to say that all the well-meaning inquiries weren’t making me a bit anxious. 

After a trip to Kansas for Christmas, which included several “where is the ring already,” we were home in Louisiana for New Year’s Eve. We’d had an early NYE celebration with friends and we were back at home in our pajamas, sitting on the couch, trying to stay awake and watching Anderson Cooper. 11:59! Yay- almost time for bed! Then it happened. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him- again. And this time there was a ring. And it was gorgeous. 

It feels a little foreign on my finger. But I do love it and I smile a little every time I look at it. It feels important.  But why? He doesn’t wear one and no one doubts my love and commitment for him. But somehow I think people doubted his love and commitment for me. Putting a ring on my finger didn’t change the fact that we are getting married but somehow it took a ring for people to believe it.  Forget the fact that I had already ordered the dress, we’d met with the Priest, and I’d made my bridesmaids buy dresses that I’m just sure they’ll be able to wear again (seriously, they’re cute!) 

My ring.
Why does the ring mean so much? I guess people need to see physical proof of that most important commitment. But it’s not like the tradition of giving an engagement ring has been around forever.  In fact it didn’t really become widespread in the US until the 30’s and 40’s when, surprise surprise, a diamond company looking to increase sales began to advertise the importance of the diamond engagement ring and how if he really loves you, he’ll put a big rock on your finger. 

I didn’t need a ring to know that Brian really loves me and that I’m going to spend the rest of my life with him.  But the ring sure is pretty and I’m keeping it. Because it means so much.

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