At a recent yoga class, I was having trouble focusing on my Chi because I was incredibly distracted by the overwhelming amount of ring finger blingade (Or should I say engagement wattage because those diamonds were so astoundingly bright?) these legging-clad ladies were casually wearing on a sweaty outing to, above all places, the gym.
Barring any seriously impeccable cubic zirconia fakes, the sight of such valuable rocks in such a gritty setting made me slightly uncomfortable. Why do we need a down payment on marriage?
Full disclosure before we proceed, I have always been one of those people who joked over hangover brunches that I wanted a J.Lo-sized sparkler. I understand any jewelry I don’t have to outright pay for is warmly welcomed.
Basically, I’m not trying to mess up any chances of scoring a stage 5-carat, but witnessing all those would-be vacations and apartments and romantic dinners sitting garishly atop these young women’s fingers, clutching the mats in downward dog, made me seriously question the importance of an expensive engagement ring.
These sparkly, sweaty ladies got me thinking, is bigger always better? Or, like with every man sporting the newest model of an impossibly fast sports car, are these people just compensating for a lacking in some other department? You might not be happy with the answer...
1. You have a higher risk of divorce
A study from Emory University recently found that couples who spent between $2,000 to $4,000 were 1.3 times more likely to get divorced than those who spent between $5 and $1,000.
Furthermore women whose rings cost in that same range were two to three times more likely to stress about wedding expenses. Lavish engagements can cause unprecedented financial stress, which could result in the dissolution of the marriage.
Sure, we’d love to have the nicest ring, but at what cost to the relationship? Perhaps trying to put a price on your relationship is a spell for doom.
2. We associate the value of the ring with the value of the relationship
Whether we’re conscious of it or not, every time we spot another engagement photo on our news feeds, we check out the ring and instinctively formulate conclusions about the couple’s nuptials.
For the newly engaged couple, too, shining in that ring is a reflection of their success as a duo. The size of the engagement ring has, in some minds, turned into a tangible price-tag of the relationship.
3. It’s symbolic of much more
What does a large diamond say about the man who presumably financed it? While there’s no definite word yet on "the bigger the rock, the bigger the cock," it’s hard to deny that it does represent, to some extent, his personal wealth.
A man using his wife to show off his fortune isn’t uncommon in our society (think: trophy wives, “The Sopranos,” ol’ boys’ clubs), and the engagement ring -- which she’ll gladly tote everywhere on his behalf -- can be his way of spreading the word.
For their part, these types of women who care the most about his wealth, are 1.6 times more likely to end up divorced, according to Michigan State University research, Randal Olsen.
Marrying for superficial reasons is toxic to both partners. Men, like the ones mentioned above, who care most about their ladies’ looks are 1.5 times more likely to end up divorced. It’s something to consider when considering your engagement ring.
4. The ring’s importance to you means something
Sure, some of us are happy to receive any sparkler, regardless of size. But when you flash your most prized possession (next to the bride, of course) in pedestrian settings -- the gym, Facebook, grocery shopping -- we’re encouraged to view that ring as the groom’s monetary investment in his future wife (who is also complicit in this).
You have to evaluate why you place so much importance on the ring before you settle on a setting.
5. You could split it…
More couples are choosing to split the cost of the engagement ring. “Today, because both the man and woman earn money and contribute to the financials and the decision-making, it’s not surprising that both of them are involved in all aspects [of choosing and paying for the ring],” matchmaker Samantha Daniels told TODAY.com.
It may also bring you two closer, since it’s a big choice you two are making together. The future-wife has newfound input into the symbolic band that she’ll likely wear forever -- it’s not solely up to him, it’s more of an equal partnership.
This doesn’t make the gesture any less romantic; however, there is something special in carving your own tradition as a couple.