You’re in love. No picture of a bright and happy future has ever been clearer. You might be wondering what step to take now, how best to tell your partner, and how to convey with words such a heartfelt message. If all manner of speech seems to fail or fall short, you may begin to consider a token instead — a wearable grand gesture befitting the occasion. However, as certain as marriage may be for the two of you, you’re envisioning a future engagement period when both timing and your two life stages align. Really, you want to manifest the milestone moment you “knew” into something tangible, and a ring could be the perfect symbol for that.
A lasting, global tradition
Promise rings have a storied history of symbolizing commitment between couples. Claddagh rings, for example, were forged in the 18th century by silversmiths in Galway, Ireland. Depicting two hands joined around a heart and crown (motifs for friendship, love, and loyalty, respectively), the Claddagh ring was designed out of the tradition of that era. As was practice, couples, often young ones, underwent a betrothal period together, with the promise of an eventual wedding and marriage later on. Thus, the Claddagh and other rings of its kind became pledges of love from one person to another.
The difference between a promise and a proposal
When the idea of a promise ring arises, you must exercise some care during the selection process. Your gesture of love will be displayed on your partner’s ring finger, ensuring the messaging is clear; this will prevent any confusion or rumblings from individuals outside of your relationship. To ward off the assumption of an impending marriage, you might opt against a solitaire setting, the most common engagement ring design. A ring that rides the line between subtle and ornate, accomplished by utilizing fewer carats will lend itself to a price point that is ideal for the situation. After all, a grand engagement ring is on the distant horizon. You might begin funneling funds toward that endeavor once the initial pledge is made. Thus, as a precursor, the cost of this first declaration of love may be best kept to a fraction of your ultimate ring goal.
Just as the design of the piece should differ from that of a traditional engagement ring, your ring exchange should feel wholly separate from a certain popped question. The moment should feel special, to protect a wholly intentional experience for both of you, try not to sacrifice setting and atmosphere. Simply gift your loved one the ring after a small preamble that will illuminate the meaning of the ring and your promise behind it. You may choose to write it down in an accompanying note or speak from the heart. However you deliver it, deliver it clearly and carefully. When the right balance is struck, it will be, in its own right, a standalone moment in your relationship, the weight of which will be fondly remembered even after you’ve proposed on one knee.
A way to nurture the most important relationship of all
Promises to yourself may also be manifested in a ring. Just as a bishop may don a ring to symbolize his marriage to the Church or a mariner his love for the sea, such jewelry can be purchased as signifiers of duty or personal success. A ring can be a beacon in moments of darkness or weakness, a reminder to not smoke or to not drink, ultimately serving as a memento of experience and the wisdom garnered from that experience. Additionally, rings have also been purchased with the commitment of self-love in mind, a vow to treat oneself kindly and put one’s own needs first.
Whether you are a young student couple or an established pair, the desire to signify commitment without the pomp of formal matrimony can be as strong as it is spontaneous. If you are ready to elevate your relationship by casting a more certain light on it for your partner, you may want to bring a ring into the equation. Whatever its meaning or design, a ring can add direction and clarity to your present and future, and this act of affirmation can speak more volumes than you ever could. A promise should be kept, after all, and this one is designed to last a lifetime. Let it be the love language you speak to your partner or, should you need it, to yourself.