Tuesday, February 15, 2011

surprise! let's make a life-changing decision on the spur of the moment!

A girl at work got engaged last night. She is sporting some seriously massive bling today - I wonder where she'll put the wedding ring, but anyway.

It made me think about a post I'd read elsewhere by a groom about how much surrounding weddings is about surprise. Think about it:
The groom is meant to pick the ring.
Ask the father (behind the daughter's back)
Surprise her with a proposal.
The girl then picks a dress but doesn't show the groom until she's coming down the aisle.

Happy husband rushing to work to pay for his $10,000 engagement ring. Or something. Ok, I just like the photo and wanted to include it here. {via}

I'm sure there were more that he thought of, but they're the only ones I've got.

And I think it's really... odd... that the engagement/proposal thing happens like this. Because, for one, it's the guy making the decision, right? And the girl agreeing to it. I don't know if this girl at work had discussed, seriously, with her boyfriend (now fiance) about getting married before he proposed. Maybe she had mentioned it, fleetingly. They don't currently live together- she's never lived out of home. Which is fine, for some, but I wonder how you can commit to spending the rest of your life with someone if you've never, I dunno, picked up their clothes off the floor, or cleared their dishes off the table, or put up with their morning farts, or worked out your finances together. And these are just life things. Things you learn for yourself when you move out of home, and things you adapt when you move in with a partner.
So, this idea of getting engaged being a surprise is perplexing to me. I like the idea of the proposal itself being a surprise- we tried for that - but the actual decision to commit to one another and get married coming as a surprise and having a moment to decide yes or no... I don't think that sort of decision should be spur of the moment!

Nic and I spoke about getting married  maybe 6 months into our relationship... We decided that we love each other, and, inevitably at some point in the future, we would get married. We got excited about this. We talked it over- we make a great team, we rock it out, we don't see any sensible reason for our relationship to fall apart. We debated over whether getting engaged soon was too soon, counter-arguing that my parents had been together for 4 years before they got married, and divorced after 20 years. My fear of things falling apart like my parents' relationship worried me for a while, though I believe that if they had continued to have fun and actually communicate  with each other, they might have been ok. So we decided we would go 'ring looking' and try some on, just for fun. We liked it- we liked the feeling of being 'official', we liked the thought of being married, to each other.
We found a ring, and it was going to cost about $2k. In ring-land, this isn't a huge amount, but it's obviously still a lot, for a piece of jewelery. We were also getting 10% back when we left the country with it. So as we debated this ring, there was a heaviness hanging over me that Nic, who I loved, and who was working hard but not making a heap of money, was going to have to fork out for this ring.

I think there's a ring in there.... somewhere... {via}

And what for? It's like a symbol of ownership, or something. He was going to go into debt to pay for this ring for me, and had nothing himself. We were going to start our marriage (well, engagement) on this hugely uneven footing with me, sporting a $2,000 piece of jewelery that my fiance had sweated over, just so, whenever anyone asked, I could fan my fingers out and show off just how much he loves me (gag. And by the way, that finger-flare move which you sort of instinctivly do when showing off rings, makes me feel a little ill. It's so show-offy, but how else can you show somebody?).

I told him this. I told him how I felt (not about the finger flare thing, about the whole paying-for-the-ring situation), and why it was eating me up. We talked about it. I suggested that we go halves. We start our relationship on (more) even footing. This is not my ring, it's ours (which... before, had I not paid for it, maybe it would have been 'Nic's ring that I wear'? Or something.). Nic has a necklace I bought from here, which has our falling-in-love story on it (sort of), and that he never takes off. Often I catch him making faces with it (er, hard to explain), but it's like his symbol.
So we split the ring. We went and picked out the diamond together, went and picked it up together. And for me, this is the only way I could feel ok about the cost of it.

I tell some of the guys at work that we did this, and they think it's a fantastic idea. Of course it is, though I think they might only see the financial gains for them of it being a great idea (sweet, half as much cost to buy my girlfriend a ring!). But, had we not talked about this... had Nic just gone out and bought a ring, and I would have no idea of the cost or strain or whatever (plus I'm so damn picky that I probably wouldn't have liked it anyway)... can you imagine how terrible I would have felt about it? But it's normal, right? It's a girls' god-given right to get a big fat rock and the guy can suck it up, cos that's how it goes. I suppose I could go further and question the whole ring-thing to begin with, but that's not the point I'm trying to make.

I'm just so glad that we communicate. I hope we always do.

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