The Engagement Ring: from Surprise to Collaboration

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The engagement has long been the most romantic and idealized part of the marriage process, with the man working up the courage to get down on one knee, present a perfect diamond ring and then propose to his surprised and overjoyed bride to be. Through her tears, she gushes, “YES!.”
While many women still dream of this special moment, the times we are living in now allow for a much more diverse expression of love and commitment; and the element of surprise may not always be or the best option or even realistic for today’s world.
Don’t worry, romance is not dead! 
But let’s have a look at some of the ways the engagement process and ring selection has become more collaborative.

Women have a voice

The biggest change of course is that in most countries women now have agency over their lives. They are used to having a voice in any decision that will greatly impact their future. The man making all the decisions just doesn’t make practical sense, considering women are contributing to the shared household expenses and are no longer considered property!
A marriage is one of the most important decisions anyone will make, therefore it makes sense that they women will also participate in the engagement process.

There is no rush to the altar 

These days, relationships tend to be well developed before a proposal enters the room. The couple already knows each other, has started the process of joining their lives and are arriving at the topic of engagement through a natural progression of relational events. 
By the time thoughts of getting a ring arise,  the couple ideally, would be having conversations about whether marriage is a step they are both ready for and wanting. 
The new romance is building the foundation of the relationship that you are hoping will last the rest of your life. The ring you choose together is an expression of that.

Same sex marriages

Same sex and non-binary partnerships, by definition, are not practicing traditional gender norms and therefore ring shopping could easily include all parties involved. Both partners could wear engagement rings, or neither! The fun is in getting to decide, together. 
The fluidity of general roles has never been more relevant and the space is wide open for anyone to create the engagement that most suits their relationship.

Surprise or shock?

Imagine your beloved, nervous with anticipation, picks out a ring they are just sure you will love. On the special moment of their proposal, they present the ring and, GASP, you hate it! It looks just like the ring your ex gave you, then took back. This is not a great start. 
Ok, it might not always be that dramatic, but the benefits of choosing a ring together means you are guaranteed to love it.
No one is going to be excited about wearing a ring on their finger for the rest of their life they don’t like. And no one wants to spend a fortune on a ring their partner isn’t completely thrilled about wearing.
If you really want to surprise your partner, doing the research to find out what they actually love is the best route, don’t just assume you know what they want (unless they have made it absolutely clear).

Socioeconomic diversity

Most couples in today’s world simply don’t have the cash on hand to blow on a ring that their partner doesn’t like. Others are not willing to take out loans or payment plans when that money could be better spent somewhere else such as a downpayment for a house, or a college fund for their future children. 
Making these decisions as a couple can be exciting, as the whole point of sharing a life is building a future together. The ring can not only be a symbol of your lifetime commitment, but of the decisions you made in the beginning to create the best life possible for both of you.

Collaborative design

Designing your own ring, or ring set, can bring even more meaning to the process, defining the unique energy of your union. Each time you look at your ring, or your partner’s ring, you will be reminded of what is special about your relationship. 
Many are moving beyond the traditional diamond to include more colors and gemstones, especially as it becomes more difficult to find ethically mined diamonds.
You can design your own ring, or have a jeweler do it. Either way, you will have a special symbol for your love.
The freedom we now have to create our engagements together moves us beyond old societal standards and allows for so much more creativity, collaboration and connection. 
Of course, if the traditional way is still your style, knock yourself out!
However you choose to propose is the right way for you.
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