Ring me your love

Let’s talk engagement rings. I don’t have one nor do I want one, but I do like to admire them. Who doesn’t like to look at pretty things? Half of the accounts I follow on Instagram are pretty people donning pretty things, and to me, a diamond engagement ring is a pretty thing I don’t need. Although, that has not always been the case: Not until recently has my diamond desire dwindled from wanting a big rock, nothing less than a karat because I deserve it, or so the jewelry ads led me to believe, to not wanting anything at all, except a simple yet elegant wedding band.

I mentioned this to a girlfriend over tea one evening, the horror and shock of what I said  was clearly expressed on her face; it was the look you would give your friend if they told you they robbed a bank. “What?! What do you mean you don’t want a ring? Of course you do!” Followed by the predictable, “You deserve one!” Here, I thanked her for nonchalantly saying I am a queen that deserves all of the jewels in this world, but the truth is I don’t deserve a ring – I don’t deserve something that my partner has to save three months of his salary to buy; I don’t deserve something I can’t reciprocate back. Reader, your response of, but you are giving him your love forever is valid, but then why isn’t my boyfriend’s love enough, why does he have to buy me a ring – a ring to prove our love with undertones of class, status and wealth. To me, it just doesn’t make sense.

A bit of diamond engagement ring history loosely cited from the Atlantic: In 1938 Harry Oppenheimer, the De Beers founder’s son, hired N.W. Ayer, an ad agency, to polish the image of diamonds as the price of diamonds was falling. N.W. Ayer set out to persuade young men that diamonds (and only diamonds) were synonymous with romance, and that the measure of a man’s love (and even his personal and professional success) was directly proportional to the size and quality of the diamond he purchased. There we have it folks, the genesis of diamond marketing – the bigger the rock the deeper your love.

ring

Dear reader, my intention is not to make you self-conscious as you read these words while glancing at your beautiful ring that was handpicked just for you by your SO, nor do I think the love my partner and I share defies commercialism (you should see all of our stuff!). The truth is, the older I get the more jaded I become, scratch that, the more practical I like to believe I’ve become. For example, let’s use that money to pay down some debt (boring!) or put it towards our dream honeymoon (better!).

I can’t say I know for certain what’s in store for my ring finger, but I am not putting that added pressure on my partner to propose with a diamond so big that even the Jones’ will be jealous. The big ring is just not for me, however I will still oooh and awww over other peoples’ engagement rings and I’ll honestly be happy for them, because diamond ring or not, the next step is the happiest of all!

Marriage & Motherhood

Part One: Marriage

As a young girl, I would idly daydream of my future love life: At 13, I would have a boyfriend; at 16, I would experience my first “true-love” kiss; and, by 25, I would be married to a handsome man, we would have two adoring children and live in a white colonial style home with navy shutters and a matching white picket fence. Fast-forward to present day 30-year-old me, living in a stucco/grey-green siding home with my common-law partner, childless and broke. Does present me envy the past ideals I had for my future? Definitely not. But, would past me be embarrassed of my nontraditional life? Probably.

Being a late bloomer, I was nowhere near ready for those wedding bells at 25; I was still learning how to live on my own while balancing work and school along with a roller-coaster of emotions and different medications that came with all of those mixed feelings. Maybe if Mr. Right came into my life earlier I would have been ready, but he didn’t, and I’m glad of that because I wouldn’t have been ready for him. At 25, I was learning who I was and who I wanted to be, while learning what I wanted mentally, emotionally and physically in a life partner. However, and contrary to the teachings of my upbringing, by my twenties I knew I wanted to live with my partner before marriage, thereby equating my relationship status as common-law in the eyes of the government, and a heathen to others.

Are common-law relationships lesser because there is no paper professing their love; is a couple ‘bad’ because they haven’t institutionalized their “I dos”? To some, maybe, but to the common-law couple they may be, and probably are, blissfully content with their current relationship. There is something wildly romantic about a love that it doesn’t need a binding document proclaiming “I’m taken” to the rest of the world; a love that transcends the conventional “do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife” jargon. However, on the opposite spectrum, there is beauty in promising eternity to your partner in front of the ones you love. Togetherness, whether sanctioned by the Church, or promised to one another silently is beautiful and should not require explanation or reasoning for the actions a couple commits.

Don’t misinterpret my marriage / wedding views, as those are still tantamount to 10 year old me (I have a secret wedding Pinterest board, and get girlishly giddy discussing wedding plans with friends), but what I am arguing is that there is no ideal age to marry and have children. Marriage and children, or the latter before the former, should be an organic transition in a relationship, not something that is done because one is suppose to or because everyone else is doing it.

There may not be a ring, the last names may differ, but to that couple, they have promised each other their own form of “I dos” which may differ from the norm, but to that couple, their current relationship status is perfect, which is all that matters.

Stay tuned for Part Two, released on Friday, March 17.