I peruse a lot of blogs, and have met a lot of young women over the years, and all too often I hear them say or see them write, "He still hasn't put a ring on my finger." What's worse, this is usually a public statement, which you know the guy can hear or read, and that makes the ultimate proposal at least partially the result of nagging and passive aggressive hinting. Why are so many women okay starting their marriage on this foot?
Here's what I believe:
- Marriage is not about the ring. (It's also not about the wedding, but that's another post.) Marriage is a serious commitment, and while the symbol of the expensive ring is meant to demonstrate that a man is serious about providing for you, I get really sad seeing so many young woman talking about the ring like it's THE thing that's important. Even for women with an otherwise healthy view of marriage, I think just TALKING about the ring so much subtly shifts the focus to the wrong stuff: this expensive thing you're entitled to, instead of this partnership you're about to enter into that will require hard work but will yield mega rewards if you view yourself as a partner, not a princess.
- Marriage is a partnership, and it shouldn't come about because of nagging or pressure from one party. A romantic proposal is wonderful, but if it's not coming on your ideal timeline, talk about it directly, and stop "dropping hints," especially publicly. Even better, question whether your timeline is based on any real need, or if you just feel like you should be married by such and such an age or milestone. In the long run, those types of deadlines fade into unimportance, and it's so much more worthwhile to begin your marriage on healthy, equal footing, instead of one party feeling pressured to act. When I see a women playing this game with her hoped-to-be-fiance, I can't help but scream in my mind, "Why would you ever want to wonder if the person you're married to only married you because you shamed/guilt tripped/nagged him into it?!"
I'm not saying diamond rings aren't nice. I love my engagement ring, and have a major sentimental attachment to it. But it doesn't define our marriage or anything about us, other than yielding a rather hilarious proposal story (in my opinion, anyway). The problem is expecting a diamond ring, and focusing on that instead of what's actually important.
So here's what I propose: No more ring talk.
The "No Fat Talk" movement is definitely gaining steam after starting several years ago with (I think) the Tri Delta sorority. Then it got picked up by magazines and bloggers, and now it's all over the internet. I think No Fat Talk is a great model, and the whole idea is retraining our minds and viewing ourselves more positively by refusing to give in to the downward spiral of negative self-thoughts.
So let's change the frame for this issue, too. Let's talk about marriage instead of "putting a ring on my finger." Let's talk about the people and the partnership, and not the jewelry.
What do you think? Who's in?
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