I love to shop; shiny things make me happy. [Some] jewelry is great. But I will never replace my $300, from Kohls on a SUPER black Friday sale Engagement ring or my $30 wedding band from Amazon. And I will never be embarrassed by it when my friends show off their gorgeous, thousands of dollars rings.
Part of me just can’t stomach the idea of spending that much money on something that’s, essentially, useless. I’m a relatively frugal gal. (Even though I do have my weaknesses… Definitely my girls’ clothes.) I have price limits on loads of things. My husband and I got married about a year out of college. We both grew up blue collar and less. We have a different perspective on money than most of our friends; it’s true. If you total what my husband and I both spent on our first five cars you wouldn’t get a thousand bucks. We’ve spent a lot of time in friend’s garages fixing a car that should be [back] in the junkyard just to get to work the next day. We spent a lot of time fixing things with duct tape because we couldn’t afford to really fix or replace it.
Because of this, we only spend a lot of money on things we need in order to keep them forever. And because of this, we both have no desire to “waste” money. My family could live for an entire year on what my friend’s husband spent on her ring. Another friend, I could probably pay my mortgage an entire year. I could buy a darned nice car for another’s. You see where I’m going. I see money in terms of how much of my family’s necessities it can provide.
Look. I drop money on kids clothes like nada. It’s bad. So I get the joy of splurges. But my kids have to wear clothes. And, as terrible as it is, and as much as I hate it, kids are judged on their clothes. I would never have been able to be in the “popular” crowd in my school because my clothes were from Walmart’s sale rack. (And I have no shame in that; I had new clothes every school year and my parents worked damn hard to provide me an amazing life.) But my husband and I can afford to dress them from Gap, or Gymboree and maybe even the odd Boutique type clothing. And being a kid in school is hard enough as it is. (Especially when you’re nerdy or weird like we were) So my husband and I both want to make sure we don’t add to it for our kids. And shopping for their clothes is really fun.
So that is definitely one reason. Because I think a wedding ring isn’t a life necessity and I’m an adult long past the care of whether or not people judge me based on my wedding ring. What’s someone going to say, anyways? “Oh, poor you. Obviously your husband doesn’t love you as much as mine!” Yeah, then I’ll roll my eyes because we all know that gifts don’t equal love.
I went shopping with a friend on a coveted kid-free trip a few years ago and she drug me into a jewelry store. She told me for her ten year anniversary she wanted an upgrade. Ok, cool. Loads of people get them, I’m not, like offended by the idea. It’s just not for me. So I smile and peruse the jewelry with her. But it’s obvious she knows what she’s looking for; she already has the ring picked out.
So she calls the lady over and tries it on. I have to admit it’s gorgeous (ly huge). We chat over how her husband already knows exactly what it is she’s expecting and how she can’t wait to get it the following year. Cool. She hands the ring back and as the lady puts it back she mentions its part of a set. My friend knows this and as she begins to explain why she wants that particular one, I notice the price. She’s in the middle of a sentence and I have to cut her off. She says, “Yeah, but I want that one because—” I say,
“Because you HATE money?”
I know it was rude, but it just came out. I apologized to her as well as I could and I’m fairly sure she held no grudge. We enjoyed the rest of our day. And then I spent hundreds of dollars on things my kids will literally piss and shit in. Like a boss.
Besides, I have kids. Rings scratch kids when you pick them up or try to play with them. Big rings scratch them more than smaller rings. So I mostly wear my wedding band. When it fits and I’m not on the high end of my yo-yo weight. And if I’m leaving the house, most the time I only take the time to put something on my head to cover my crazy hair and put on a bra. You’re welcome world.
The truth is, though, no matter how you were raised, if your financial situation changes, so will your perspective. So eventually these reasons above wouldn’t withstand the test of time. But I tell you one that will. Every time I think of that ring, it reminds me of when he proposed. It reminds me that I had absolutely NO idea or care what kind of money he made. All I knew was that he made me laugh. And that I unequivocally trusted him.
That ring was him giving his life to me; When his life was so much smaller than it is now.
We struggled in the beginning. Not just financially, but as a couple. I spent a lot of time wondering if saying yes was the right answer. That ring reminds me to hold on and wait; and work for it, and it will get better. It was the beginning of something bigger than I could have ever imagined. And while my friends who married later in life had more money to spend on a bling ring and a spectacular wedding, I have had decades with my husband that are completely irreplaceable. That ring is supposed to symbolize this relationship. And I wouldn’t change our relationship for the world. I love our story. I love how it began.
Some women show off their ring’s size and puff their chests when my jaw drops. I do the same when I get pity looks. Your husband spent a lot of money on a ring that made you happy. Good for him; good for you. Mine knew I was his forever girl when we were still kids. He saw in me the woman I could become and wanted to help me become her. A decade before you even met yours. (So neener neener neener on your big dumb ring.)