Ring Around the Groom

Once upon a time, when marriage was more likely to be a financial arrangement than the joining of two hearts desperately in love, rings were pretty much only for the bride. She might or might not get a betrothal ring, and she wore the wedding ring. After all, he was the one with earthly goods to endow people with. Hers were… not hers. They were her father’s and the groom had probably already gotten that milk cow, interest in the family shipping business, or strategically important tract of land.

Of course, times change and symbols with them. Marriage became a more equitable and less businesslike proposition. Around World War Two, wedding rings for men became popular. Since then, the majority of men do wear wedding rings.

In fact, there are some parts of the world where men wear engagement rings, too. For instance, last month singer Michael Buble announced that he was wearing a ‘man-gagement’ ring, as is the custom in his bride-to-be’s native Argentina.

But neither an engagement nor a wedding ring is actually required on anyone. There are some professions where wearing a ring could be dangerous on the job. There are some men – and even some women, but it appears to be more common among men – who just plain don’t wear jewelry of any sort.

For instance, Mr. Twistie doesn’t have a wedding ring. When I asked him if he wanted one, he look about as though I’d just suggested he expose himself to my grandmother. For the record, I never suggested any such thing. Still, one look at that face and I told him not to worry about it. If he didn’t want a ring, that was fine by me. One less thing to buy suited me fine. And considering he doesn’t even wear a watch, it wasn’t a huge surprise to me.

But different people obviously feel differently on the subject. What are your thoughts on rings (engagement and wedding) for guys? Does your man wear a ring? Will he? Voluntarily? Whose choice was it? Does it matter if they match?
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11 Responses to “Ring Around the Groom”

  1. Melissa P. September 11, 2010 at 4:03 pm #

    I like wedding rings for men! My father has a ring, but because of his work he isn’t always able to wear it. Personally I don’t think they need to match, but some people probably find the matchy-ness significant so that’s kind of cool.

    I’m also a fan of men wearing engagement rings, but that’s just a personal preference. I think it’s one more step away from “she’s taken, but he’s free” mindset… which I think is grand!

  2. Fabrisse September 11, 2010 at 9:02 pm #

    In some parts of Europe, both bride and groom wear their wedding rings on the opposite hand for the length of the engagement. I liked that as a signifier of intent and for keeping money out of the hands of DeBeers.

    I don’t like rings much. I feel like my hands are unattractive, but I’d wear a wedding ring if I had the groom to go with it. If I started working more with the hardware side of IT rather than the software, that might change.

  3. Sid September 11, 2010 at 10:00 pm #

    My future husband and I just bought our rings, and they do not match. But also, my love is a climber of rocks, and has heard enough horror stories that the ring WILL come off when he climbs. He is deathly afraid of 1) a “degloving” (do not google this. it will horrify you) and 2) losing his ring.

    There are two solutions that we plan to undertake:
    1 – Ring tattoos on our first anniversary. Neither of us are tattoo people, because neither of us could think of anything we wanted to have on us permanently. The ring seems a lovely exception/compromise. If he loses his ring, no big.
    2 – I’m instructed that before next climbing season, I’m to give him a “Frodo Necklace” as a gift. Yes, we are nerds.

  4. Meg September 12, 2010 at 12:22 am #

    My husband and I had engagement rings of stainless steel that we bought for about $40. They were ones we both liked, and we felt it important that we both wear a ring. And, I am not a diamond girl, and I saw no reason to shell out money we could be spending on a reception on sparklies.

    We now wear matching titanium bands. I’m hell on my hands, so I hadn’t wanted anything gold and soft and easily scratched. I do eventually want to get a “proper” wedding ring, but it’ll be a sapphire, and not a diamond, and it’ll probably be around our 15th or 20th anniversary (we’re at 4 now).

  5. Lali September 12, 2010 at 1:38 am #

    Dear Sid, regarding a ring tattoo, my husband and I got them on our 10th anniversary because we simply outgrew our rings (getting them adjusted on nearly a yearly basis was silly). He liked the tattoo so much he has added one higher up on his arm every year since and hopes to make it across his shoulders and down the other arm. I don’t know what he plans to do at that point. Since I fainted while getting mine, I have not added to the skin art since.

    I do have a tip though — keep it extremely simple. The artist did not point out that since we move out fingers so much the ink migrates quite a bit under the skin. Ours were complicated and are now, 13 years later, a bit blob-like — You have to pull the skin taut to see the original design.

  6. Blossom September 12, 2010 at 2:25 am #

    I like my husband wearing a ring, i look at him i think he is my husband. But its his choice, if he did not really want to i would not have made him.

  7. Sarah C. September 12, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    My husband didn’t want one until we started ring shopping for mine. I’m not quite sure what did it for him, but he selected a gorgeous rose gold band that suits him perfectly. I think part of it was that he had had a ring with his first marriage and he didn’t really like it. Traditionally here (Netherlands), wedding rings are worn on the right hand. His is on the left, where I wear mine (I’m American), so between that and the difference in band, he’s happy.

    He actually never takes his off, while I do at night.

  8. The gold digger September 12, 2010 at 9:46 am #

    My husband wears his ring all the time. I wear mine when I’m around him and not doing housework. I hate wearing a ring. Our wedding rings are plain white gold; I didn’t have an engagement ring. (I got an engagement trash can instead. My choice. Plus a grand trip to Paris at a time to be determined later.)

    His ring from his first, ill-advised marriage had seven little diamonds in it. We had the diamonds removed and made into earrings for me. They are drop earrings with the diamonds strung along the chain, four diamonds on the longer earring and three on the shorter.

  9. Mary September 12, 2010 at 10:37 am #

    My husband didn’t want to wear a ring at first, but he now says that he doesn’t feel complete without it. We have matching aircraft-titanium bands, since I’m allergic to pretty much every metal ever made.

    I also am pretty rough on my hands, but the titanium ring is so light, it doesn’t bug me at all. I thought it might at first, but now I feel like him – it’s not right if I’m not wearing it.

  10. Nariya September 12, 2010 at 6:03 pm #

    I have both an engagement ring and a wedding ring, and my husband has a wedding ring. I don’t wear my engagement ring now, though; it gets in the way, and I’m quite afraid of losing the heirloom diamond. I also kind of like the balance of both my husband and me just wearing one band each.

  11. Anne September 13, 2010 at 12:36 am #

    Neither of my parents (both from eastern Europe) wear a wedding ring and I’ve never seen either wear one in my life time. I’m almost positive neither ever had an engagement ring. They do own simple gold wedding bands, but those have been in a box in the very back of the jewelry drawer forever and are pretty much ignored for as long as I can remember.

    None of my male married friends ever had an engagement ring, though they all do wear wedding bands (simple gold or stainless steel or titanium). Of my married female friends, all but one did the engagement ring becomes wedding ring thing. My gay not married but in a committed relationship that might as well count as being married friend has a claddagh he’s worn like a wedding ring since getting together with his s/o. Pretty much everyone I know is very low maintainence in the ring department, and either has something old from a relative, cheap and durable, or really simple, except the one friend’s engagement ring, which could pay my rent for a few months. My rent’s not cheap, either.