Viewpoint: Rings aren’t center of engagements

Getting engaged is one of the pivotal moments in any woman’s life. It’s something many girls think about for years before it happens, and thanks to wedding boards on Pinterest and ring accounts on Instagram, a woman can browse engagement rings for hours and pick out her dream ring, or at least narrow down her favorite style.

When the day comes, though, is your ring going to be the center of your moment?

Engagement rings are expensive. A typical college-age guy isn’t going to have that much money, and do you really want him spending all of his savings on a ring? If you’re serious about starting a life with your boyfriend, you should consider whether spending thousands of dollars on a ring is really the best financial decision. That money could go toward an apartment, car or even paying off student loans.

I can hear the cry of hundreds of girls as they cling to their “I do!” Pinterest boards: “The ring is a symbol of commitment! I’ll be wearing it for the rest of my life! If he isn’t willing to buy me the ring I want, does he really care about me?”

Are you prepared to base the worth of your relationship on the cost of one ring? In a culture where all moments are Tweeted, Facebooked and Instagrammed, you may be ashamed if your ring isn’t the biggest, sparkliest one in your news feed. Do the opinions of your friends matter that much, though? If your relationship is so weak you base it off of the approval of others, maybe you shouldn’t be committing yourself to spending the rest of your life in that relationship. In addition, the tradition of engagement rings is very one-way. Would you be willing to drop thousands, maybe even tens of thousands, of dollars to buy a single item for your boyfriend?

Think about how much time and effort that would take, how much budgeting you would have to do. At a time in your life where you have no full-time job, no savings and sometimes a great deal of debt, is that even a possibility for you? How can you justify asking your boyfriend to make such an investment?

Marriage is one the most hallowed tenets of the Christian church, but the engagement has been blown out of proportion. We have lost sight of the reason behind it, turning a blessing into something very materialistic. Scripture says, in 1 Timothy 2:9, “Likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire.” An engagement ring might easily be the most expensive item a girl ever wears. Why does it have to be? What does a two-carat diamond say about your relationship that a smaller diamond, or different stone altogether, couldn’t say? Society has told girls that a diamond is forever, that it’s priceless. In reality, diamonds are worth much less than the De Beers would have you think- don’t let yourself be fooled by the commercials. Consider getting a different stone, maybe one that actually means something to you, your birthstone or a stone in your favorite color. Don’t think you have to get a diamond or your engagement won’t count.

An engagement ring is indeed a symbol of commitment. It’s a promise to spend the rest of your life with a person, but that promise doesn’t hold more weight when the diamond is bigger.

If an extravagant ring is truly what you want, think about getting one later in your relationship, when you’re more financially stable as a couple, perhaps as a five-year anniversary gift.

For now, think about what really matters when you get engaged. Diamonds aren’t a girl’s best friend, but your husband should be.

Jenna Press is a junior journalism and professional writing double major from Ramstein, Germany. She is the assistant city editor and a regular columnist for the Lariat.