I’m about to tell you why I don’t like promise rings. But before I do, it should be important to note that I love jewelry. I love getting it, and I love wearing it more. If you receive jewelry from a man of interest or lover and it happens to be a ring, great! Awesome! More bling for you – I’m cool with it. What I’m not cool with, however, is the term “promise ring” and using the hunk of medal as some form of overstated love agreement.
What is a promise ring exactly? Well, according to the trusty Wikipedia, it is defined as a pre-engagement ring “given to a romantic partner to signify a commitment to a monogamous relationship.”
Don’t get me wrong, it’s phenomenal that two people in love want to commit. But I thought that a monogamous relationship was already assumed when a couple agreed to start dating each other (unless of course they are swingers or something, which would then make a promise ring understandable). Yet at this stage in our young adult lives, it should be understood or at least acknowledged that any exclusive relationship you enter into has a certain air of “long-term” to it. And I don’t mean just dating around. If you are at least Facebook official, you should know in the back of your mind that your relationship could turn into something more. Why else do we date? Just to have a guy as personal property? Essentially, we date to gauge if this person is marriage or companion material. If you’re dating someone who doesn’t have a shot of marrying you down the road, then why even waste the time?
So, if you enter a monogamous relationship, date awhile, and then realize, “Man, I really want to be with this person forever!” I doubt the presentation of bling is going to solidify this in the grand scheme of life. Because let’s face it, if that person feels otherwise over the years, your promise is moot. If both of you know that you want to be committed to each other for eons, a ring shouldn’t magically make that clear. If it’s as good of a relationship as you think it is, it should already be clear simply by your actions and communicating with one another.
I know what you’re thinking, “But Mandy, couldn’t you make the same argument for engagement and wedding rings? They’re symbols of love!”
To which my answer is: No. You can’t make the same argument. Yes, engagement and wedding rings are also symbols, but they’re symbols for serious stages in your relationship that you’ve taken. They also serve the purpose of getting that creepy dude at the bar to lay off, because you took a VOW, not just because you and Danny Boy have been dating for a year and “I’m, like, his, okay?!” Okay, maybe that’s a little off base, but my point is that promise rings or “pre-engagement rings” make engagement and wedding rings less meaningful. I can’t count how many times in middle school, high school, and even college where promise rings were as good as paper airplanes. They’re fun to look at for a while, but they go in the trash when you get bored or it just doesn’t fly anymore. The ring should be a sacred symbol for engagements and weddings alone. They stand for lifelong commitments that a drunken fight can’t take away.
I’m not saying everyone who has a promise ring can’t hold a relationship. All I’m saying is that at such an integral age where we straddle love and lifelong commitment, the focus should be on actions, not the materialistic gold and gems or a grand statement of your commitment. Your whole relationship should display your outstanding commitment to each other alone. Think of it this way, NFL teams in the playoffs don’t get winning rings just for being in the semi-finals. They have to WIN. Only champions get rings.
If you need another milestone in your relationship to validate it, go ahead. Good for you for feeling confident in your love, I won’t personally attack you for it. But keep in mind that if you were truly ready to commit, you’d already be engaged.