What I Know For Sure About Marriage From Working In A Jewelry Store

by Kylie Stigar-Burke

Your average day at a jewelry store is pretty typical: People come in, look at pricey necklaces and earrings, take a long, hard look at their bank account and then head out.

Despite the mundane routine of my workday, there is always at least one purchase that stands out to me. There is at least one guy who comes in for an engagement ring.

Each and every one of these guys totally stand out to me because the look in their eyes can never be replicated. He's so ready and excited, but he's broke and totally unsure. This look totally changed everything I thought I knew about marriage.

I'm so used to listening to my girlfriends talk about their wedding Pinterest boards (yes, plural). They have everything picked out for their future. Their dresses are organized by designer, cakes aligned first by flavor then by decoration and rings upon rings upon rings.

We see the future; they see dollar signs. We feel elated; they feel like a disappointment.

Your Pinterest board makes your significant other feel like he has no say in what goes on your finger. Seriously, he feels really left out. While you think a ring is just a ring (the ring you've spent your whole life daydreaming about), he looks at it for what it truly is: a major commitment. And he wants in.

When he brings up engagement and asks what you like, for the love of all that is good and holy, don't show him pictures or bombard him with links to your "dream ring." Tell him details like, "I like emerald cut diamonds and white gold." Then, trust him to pick out something beautiful.

Guys feel so good when they can FaceTime your parents and show them what they picked out. Working in a jewelry store has given me the luxury of seeing his face when they hold it in their hands and how their hands shake when they try to take a picture.

I've learned to get manicures so that my nails look good when I end up having to take the picture for them because their hands can't settle down for a picture that's in focus. I can tell you from experience the guys who go from a picture don't have the same reaction as the guy who was able to pick it out himself.

Also, ladies, there are guys who end up designing the ring because they want it uniquely for their bride-to-be. Let him have his moment.

Do you have any idea how much that dream ring costs? Like, I know you look at it, and you're like, "Well, it's only $10,000. But, it's totally perfect and will last me a lifetime." If it's out of his price range, it's out of the question.

When you show him rings that are significantly beyond what he can afford, he feels like a failure to you before your engagement even begins. If he can only afford a ring for a few hundred dollars or even less, he's going to avoid the topic of marriage altogether if he knows you want something more elaborate.

Just know that most married couples rarely stick with the same ring for their whole lives. Many of my customers come in specifically to find bigger and better rings for anniversaries. Some couples continuously add to their original ring until it's flashier than anything else we have in store.

I had an elderly couple who told me they waited their whole lives to be able to afford a flashy ring, and now, at 70-something, they could finally manage it. It's not even slightly about the ringIt's about the thought, that he wanted to put a ring on it and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with you. You'll eventually get that gorgeous ring, I promise.

Marriage shouldn't be this huge, planned-out thing. Stop having this desire to control every aspect of it because when you do, it's not as special. If you really want to marry this guy, you need to let him have some sort of say in your future.

As someone who works at the first step of the rest of your lives, the jewelry store, I can't even tell you how much your BF wants in on your wedding planning.