I overheard a woman talking about the financial hardship she and her live-in boyfriend were experiencing. She (verbally) underlined their budget restrictions by declaring that they couldn’t afford an engagement ring. While I enjoy the quaintness of the recent practice of engagements and accompanying diamond jewelry, I don’t understand how or why it became mandatory. It’s as confusing (to me) as people spending scads of money on a wedding that may or may not actually resonate for the couple (or be even remotely connected to the celebration and solemnity of marriage.)
I am trying to resist the conclusion that both engagement rings (and consequential public cooing) and queen-for-a-day weddings are all part of the same religious devotion to past Strawberry Shortcake, Cinderella, Hello Kitty birthday parties. But I have to wonder, when I eavesdrop as I do, what IS the real reason one would put one’s life on hold for a fantasy? I have also overheard (man, I’ve got to stop doing that!) couples with children, claim the expense of a wedding for explaining why they are all living together without benefit of marriage. Does this mean that the couple (I’m being gender generous here) is really still harboring some sort of white foamy wedding fantasy? Move on toots, that ship has sailed. If you’re old enough to have children, you are old enough to let go of the pillowcase on the head fantasy. Grown-up real life doesn’t involve still having a chance of making the varsity team/homecoming queen either. Having financial goals is laudable. However, it is rather unseemly to plan for one’s debutante ball when you have children to support.
But to that young woman concerned for the financial prospects of her and her boyfriend, I would say this: Good for you for acknowledging that not all acquisitions are within your reach right now. If you and your young man want to marry and build a life together, I urge you to do so. Have the wedding you can afford. Pledge your love and commitment to each other before your family and friends. Promise to love each other in good times and bad and consider yourself fortunate to have the opportunity to do so. I wish you all the happiness in the world.