Historically, the tradition of an engagement ring is traced back to the ancient Egyptians. The Romans believed that the left ring finger had a vein that was connected to the heart, that’s why we use our left ring finger. The gift of the wedding ring is meant to be a symbol to the world that the woman wearing it is engaged to be married. It wasn’t until the 1940’s and 1950’s that men even started wearing wedding bands, but the days of these bands representing ownership are becoming water under the bridge while more and more couples are choosing relationships that are defying old stereotypes.
As much as women dislike the stereotypes pushed through the patriarch like, “women are meant to be seen and not heard” and “a real woman knows how to cook and raises the children”, many men dislike the stereotypes given to them as well. Things like “men don’t know how to talk about their feelings” or “men don’t listen”.
Men and women have begun to realize that not only are these stereotypes untrue, but they are also creating a negative, unhealthy space for both people in the relationship. A push for equality in all things is a slow process but equality in new marriages, in life partners, is beginning to start at the onset, with the engagement ring.
Not only are couples shopping for engagement rings for both partners now, but woman are asking men to marry them more and more. If you are one of the brave, assertive woman who wants to pop the question, you know him best but we have some helpful tips to keep in mind.
1. What are Your Options?
Seeing as how this is a recent change in the usual tradition of things the options available to you are not as vast as the women’s engagement rings. Search different jewelers and check what the options are and then consider your partner’s lifestyle. Would his profession or hobbies require a more durable band or can you go with something a little more gentle? If something durable is necessary a metal band is probably best. If not there are many handmade rings now that are made from various mediums like oak, ebony, and even antler but are not as durable as many of the metals. You can find many of these on Etsy, with a simple “men’s engagement ring” search.
Now that you have an idea of what is out there and the general price range, it is time to be realistic about what you both can afford. If you decide to go with a metal band, you can compare price both in store and online. Keep in mind if it’s online, no one will be making a commission off of your purchase though, so no haggling. Don’t fall for the old “rule” of spending 3 months salary on the engagement ring. That is nonsense. In the end, what matters is that you have found a ring that fits, he likes, and you haven’t put yourself into debt before you have to think about paying for a wedding and a life together.
3. Religious/Cultural Significance
Is your future hubby religious? If so, is there a scripture of symbol that he would appreciate on the engagement ring? Does He have a strong cultural background? Some ethnic traditions are strongly intertwined in marriage. Some Irish use Claddagh rings that have Celtic script. If your Irishman is close to his ethnic roots, this might be very meaningful to him. Talk to your future partner and find out is something religious or culturally significant would add the extra personalization and originality to the engagement ring.
4. Evaluate His Style
Is he the type of man who already wears rings? If so, check out the style width and size of those rings and use them as a starting point. Does he like/wear gold or silver more often? Is he the kind of man who really just naturally dislikes rings. Some men have never worn jewelry and wearing ring is not something they are excited about, maybe think of an alternative, like putting the ring on a chain to be worn around the neck. Some couples have chosen to skip the rings altogether. Doing things like creating an adventure fund or putting a down payment on a house.
Another thing to consider are allergies. There are many people who have allergies to certain metals. There are also many organic rings now made with things like antler or different woods which may be perfect for someone who loves hunting but a romance killer, or for someone who is allergic to oak or silver.
5. Surprise Surprise
Once you have decided this is what you want to do and found the perfect ring, the most equally exciting and stressful part of the experience is next, the proposal. Does your partner enjoy surprises? If so coming up with something elaborate involving friends and family might be the way to go. If not, something much more intimate might be best if your partner is on the timid/shy side of things.
There are many engagement ring boxes now that can also be custom made and will do most of your requests. This is a once in a lifetime chance to declare your love in a way only you can. You know your partner best, take your time, enjoy the process, and good luck!