The internet is a scary, beautiful, creepy, wonderful place. The one thing it does very well is give us a very curated lens into the lives of others. We take for granted life before social media and specifically all of the traditions of getting married. I have substantial opinions about weddings and to me personally it seems that the more a couple spends their ceremony and reception less the relationship actually means. It's the law of inverses - and there are studies below that prove just that. Many traditions have seemed to transcend the boundaries of space and time but nothing compares to that of the wedding ring. But why a diamond? Why on the left hand? Why even do this at all?
The Vein Of Love
The Romans may have made popular the tradition of wearing the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand. The Ancient Romans believed that the vein in this finger specifically led the blood straight to the heart. Going as far to name the vein the "vena amoris", which translates to "vein of love." When the rings were placed on the fingers of married couple, it was a representation of two hearts being connected together, for eternity and let's not forget, for everyone else to see.
Let Me Show Everyone I Know How In Love I Am
It's like "being cool," if you are cool, it shows and people know. If you have go around telling people how cool you are - people will automatically think you're not. Same goes for being love. If you are going around telling everyone how in love you are. Are you? The love between two individuals shines radiantly and everyone that encounters the couple knows. But incessant Facebook photos remind us that engagement rings are like, super important, the bigger, the better! If he doesn't spend at least 6 months of his salary on your blood diamond then he doesn't really love you. One look at Pinterest tells us people place a lot of importance on the rings, maybe more than other aspects of an engagement. In fact, 80% of proposals today include a diamond engagement ring. What a travesty!
While the concept of using an expensive piece of jewelry to commemorate a lifelong commitment is a nice sentiment, there's a lot more to diamond engagement rings than love. In fact, love has nothing to do with rings at all. Pretty sure the multibillion dollar diamond industry doesn't want you to know that the more expensive the engagement ring, the more likely the divorce?
An Assortment Of Different Metals
There can be traditions seen all over the world when it comes to marriage, and depending where you are in the world, the type of rare earthly gem varies. There is Gold, Rose Gold, White Gold, Palladium, Titanium and Platinum wedding rings for men. As we have previously agreed, rings are a visual symbol of love between two people. Sometimes the more progressive the couple the less likelihood for a ring, and in many cultures rings are worn on the ring hand. To each their own!
Beware: Expensive engagement rings are inextricably linked to higher divorce rates.
Spending six month's salary (or some other ridiculous sum) on an engagement ring is not only the norm, it's expected. But this may not be the wisest decision. According to an Emory University study from 2014. The study, by Andrew M. Francis and Hugo M. Mialon, surveyed 3,000 heterosexual couples and found that "marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony." Specifically, those who had spent $2,000-$4,000 were 30% more likely to get divorced.
The reason? While the study didn't find causation, but the researchers did note, "If wedding expenditures are indeed associated with debt stress, then it is possible that wedding expenses raise the likelihood of marital dissolution given that prior literature suggests a link between economic stress and marital dissolution."
And prices will only continue to go up. The average price of a ring is $5,200, according to a 2011 survey. Considering the typical American family makes less now than it did in 1989, it's not surprising that spending thousands on a piece of jewelry would put undue stress on a relationship.
Not Everything Is Tradition
The engagement ring, can be described as the new ornament for men to show their wealth via women. This itself is a relatively new concept - gaining serious traction in Western countries over the last 200 years. With this in mind, it could just as easily not be a cultural mandate. The point of this message? Wear a ring, wear an expensive ring, wear an economically conscious ring, wear an ethically conscious ring, wear no ring at all. At least now you are informed!