Have you ever heard of an engagement ring for a man before? You may be surprised to find that it has actually been a growing trend over the last few years. Almost a century ago, jewelers once tried to market men’s engagement rings to try and make more money. Women’s wedding ring sales rose, but their attempts failed to engage the male audience failed, and the efforts stopped shortly after. So, the question remains, why is this trend starting?
The last decade has seen a lot of changes in regards to gender equality and the legalization of same-sex marriage in most areas. It used to be somewhat taboo for a man to wear an engagement ring. Now, it is becoming more and more of a common sight. Recent polls taken have shown that a good deal of men are actually interested in wearing an engagement ring when their time comes.
The tradition of engagement rings may have started as a sign for women to show they are considered “taken”, but it has evolved to become a way for both men and women to show their love and commitment to their future spouse. It is a way to celebrate their engagement and show it off to their friends, family, and even strangers.
A good engagement ring not only symbolizes the love and commitment of a couple, but it allows the wearer to show off their personal style to everyone. They can be easily customized to fit your style and complement anything that you might choose to wear. A stylish and eye-catching engagement ring is a great way to signal to anyone interested that you are officially off of the dating market.
If you are already committed to your future spouse, then there is no reason that you can’t wear an engagement ring. It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman. It is simply a way to show off your commitment in a stylish and romantic way to those around you.
Reasons Why Men Get an Engagement Ring
We’ve touched on this a little bit, but the main idea of getting an engagement ring is to demonstrate the commitment that you and your future spouse have for each other. Tradition dictates that the woman should wear the engagement ring to show other interested parties that she is no longer available in the dating scene. It shows that she has accepted an offer of marriage and is committed to her fiancé
So why can’t a man wear an engagement ring for the same reason? It gives the man the ability to say to others, “I’m taken” without having to go around saying it aloud to every person he meets. Here are some reasons why a man might wear a promise ring:
- To show he has given up the bachelor life
- To demonstrate his commitment and love for his future spouse
- To break the rules of the gender norms placed on him by society
For these reasons, it has become an easy choice for both men and women to decide to wear their engagement rings. They simply want to signify their excitement for getting married and their commitment to their fiancé with a ring. When this is the case, it doesn’t matter the gender of the person wearing the ring.
Gender equality isn’t the only factor that has helped turn male engagement rings into a recent trend. The legalization of same-sex marriages has helped with this immensely. A lot of men now wear engagement rings as a sign of their commitment to their partners, and to show their excitement about the upcoming wedding. There are even men who bring women’s engagement rings into a jeweler to get them resized and redesigned to suit their personal tastes.
Engagement rings are a long-standing tradition, but traditions change over time. Today’s culture is vastly different from the way it used to be, especially culture in America. Rising gender equality has allowed women to be the breadwinners in many households. This has allowed a lot of men to stay home and take care of the children instead of having to go out to work. This is just one example of the big changes in gender norms that have happened in American society.
These changes in gender norms have also changed the roles women take in getting proposing, getting engaged, and getting married. Women have more financial sway in a lot of these matters, and in some cases they are actually being the ones to propose to their future husbands. Men are no longer required to be the ones to propose marriage.
History of Engagement Rings
Over 80% of engaged women have engagement rings. So how in the world did that tradition get started? Engagement rings are a very old idea. They are rooted deep in history, and it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly where they come from.
The earliest known use of the wedding ring was in ancient Egypt. In the Egyptian culture, the circle represented eternity and infinity. To wear a circular ring as a symbol of marriage was a way to show a couple’s commitment to each other forever.
In many cultures, a dowry had to be paid by the man in order to secure a woman’s positive answer to his marriage proposal. This could have been anything from gold and silver to a herd of healthy animals. In ancient Rome, a custom began for men to offer what was called a “betrothal ring” when they couldn’t afford more expensive dowry gifts. The purpose of the ring was to show that the woman was “off the market” and showed the man’s ownership.
This tradition was essentially the start of the modern day engagement ring. It continued in a similar fashion until the 1800’s when Western culture first became aware of the existence of diamonds in South Africa. In an effort to sell this new, beautiful gemstone, diamonds were heavily advertised to the engagement ring market. People were told that it was a requirement for any good engagement ring.
Engagement rings became more expensive, ornate, and stylized, leading up to the modern day engagement ring that we see today. The good news is that there are a lot of options for the more price-sensitive consumer. This trend of diamonds has started to slow down in recent years, and most people do not expect as ornate of an engagement ring. There are also a large number of synthetic and copycat diamond-like gems that are a fraction of the price.
Which finger is the ring finger?
There’s more to the history of the engagement and wedding rings than what we’ve talked about. Another tradition that you might wonder about is which finger the ring is traditionally worn on. In the majority of cultures, engagement rings and wedding rings are worn on the fourth finger on the wearer’s left hand. There is also an order in which you should wear your engagement ring and wedding ring together that can be a little confusing at times. We’ll get into that later.
Origin of the engagement ring finger
Once again, the origin of the engagement ring finger dates back to ancient Rome. Their culture believed that a vein from that finger ran all the way to a person’s heart. This mythical vein was called the Vena Amoris (Vein of Love) by the Romans. It is still a common misconception in modern culture that this vein actually exists. While it has been proven wrong, we all still wear our rings on that finger. It just goes to demonstrate the power of tradition.
Much like the ancient Egyptians, the Romans believed that a circular ring symbolized infinity and completeness. When a couple wore circular rings as opposed to other jewelry like necklaces and bracelets, they were demonstrating their infinite and complete love and commitment.
Not all cultures wear wedding and engagement rings on their left hands. Tradition in countries such as Greece and Russia actually dictates that people wear their engagement ring on their right hand. However, the fourth finger is still seen as the “ring finger” by almost all cultures.
There is an exception in these countries when it comes to Catholocism. Catholics still believe in the connection of the fourth finger on the left hand to the heart. Even Russian Catholics will usually wear an engagement ring on their left hand.
The origins of the word engagement
People all across the world know what the word “engagement” means in terms of marriage. The word is usually defined as a formal promise of marriage to another person. Thus, an engagement ring is simply a physical representation of that promise. While wedding rings have been around for thousands of years, engagement rings are much newer. Many ancient cultures used contracts and dowries as physical representations of marriage promises.
One of the most notable introductions of the engagement ring into modern society came from the Archduke of Austria way back in the 15th century. He proposed to his future wife with an engagement ring as a symbol of their promise to marry and love one another. This tradition has continued and evolved into the ornate diamond rings we see all over the place today.
There are no written rules about the matter that state anything against men wearing engagement rings or against women proposing to men. Many modern day celebrities are all about gender equality and same-sex marriage. This has helped male engagement rings to become a very popular trend.
Male and female engagement rings across cultures
In some cultures like the United States, it is traditional for only women to wear engagement rings. However, there are many cultures where it is common place for a man to wear an engagement ring to show their commitment to their fiancé if they so choose. Where this is a recent trend for America, many countries have long adopted this tradition. Remember that wearing an engagement ring is always a personal choice, but tradition and culture certainly do play a role
Male engagement rings in modern cultures
In cultures such as Chile, men wear engagement rings on their right hands to show their commitment to their engagement. Typically both men and women wear their engagement rings on their right hands. Then, after the wedding the rings are moved over to the left hand to signify the end of the engagement and the beginning of the marriage.
Men’s engagement rings are actually a long-standing tradition in some cultures. While it may be fairly new to the United States, it isn’t new to the rest of the world. Most cultures are similar to the traditions of Chile in which the person wears the engagement ring on their right hand and then switches it over afterwards. Here are some other examples of cultures that wear engagement rings on their right hands:
Engagement gifts for men
Traditionally, the man buying an engagement ring for the woman is their gift to the woman. So what happens in today’s culture where the woman can now do everything a man can do? Should she buy her future spouse a gift if he proposes first? This is really down to personal preference and culture. The great thing about engagements and marriage is that each couple gets to decide how they will do things, and what traditions the will and will not follow.
Female-only engagement rings
We’ve talked about the history of the engagement ring. It started as a way to show a man’s ownership over his future wife. Luckily, society has changed and grown. We no longer see engagement rings as property markers. Wearing an engagement ring means that you have freely chosen to marry someone because you love them are committed to a relationship together.
Some may view it as wrong that only women have to wear an engagement ring in the United States. They are expected to display their “taken” status while men are not. If a man is truly committed to his future spouse, should he not also want to display his engagement proudly? Western culture is still somewhat stuck in the past in this regard. Luckily, the times are changing and culture is changing as well.
How the engagement ring and wedding band are worn
As most of us know, wedding bands and engagement rings are usually worn on the same finger. However, there is more to it than just putting them on. Here are some tips on how to properly wear your wedding band and engagement rings together and separately:
After the engagement, but before the wedding:
Once two people become engaged, the ring is placed on the fourth finger of the left hand. It represents the promise of the couple to be married, and it can work for both men and women as we have seen. But what happens to the engagement ring during the wedding? Many people do this different ways, but there are a few good options to help clear up confusion and make the process go smoother.
During the wedding ceremony:
While the engagement ring usually goes on the person’s left hand, it can get a little confusing during a wedding ceremony. Typically, a wedding band is supposed to be the closest band to the wearer’s heart. This means that it should go on before the engagement ring. To help facilitate this, many choose to wear their engagement ring on their right hand during the ceremony and then change it back over later.
After the wedding ceremony:
After the ceremony, the engagement ring is usually moved back over to the left hand on the same finger as the wedding band. For a lot of people, this is how they wear their rings for the rest of their lives. It is good to remember that you should try not to sleep in your rings as your fingers can actually swell as you sleep. This can lead to issues over time.
This method of wearing both rings is steeped in tradition and custom. All of the recent trends and societal changes have helped to change these traditions. Many people are now wearing their rings in many different formats to meet their own individual needs and styles. Here are a few ways that modern couples have changed tradition:
- Wearing their engagement ring on their right hand only
- Wearing the engagement ring on their finger before the wedding ring
- Merging or welding both rings together into one special ring
- Saving their more ornate engagement rings for special occasions
We’ve covered the status quo for engagement rings, but you may be wondering about promise rings. While promise rings are similar to engagement rings, they are not the same thing. Their origins are based on being a sort of pre-engagement ring. Their goal was to symbolize an upcoming engagement. Over the centuries, the promise ring has taken on a much different meaning.
Related: What Is the Meaning of Promise Rings & How to Give Them
Many people wear promise rings now to symbolize their commitment to a relationship. Here are some other things a promise ring can symbolize
- A desire to be married in the future
All of these traditions that we’ve talked about are really only traditional in the United States. Other countries of course have their own cultural standards and traditions to follow. There are no true rules when it comes to wedding and engagement rings, so don’t feel boxed in by tradition. Many modern couples have chosen to switch things up and it has worked out just fine for them.
There are some couples who choose to skip out on the engagement ring altogether. Meanwhile, other couples choose to go for promise rings, engagement rings, and wedding bands as a whole set. Some couples wear rings on the left hands, and some wear rings on their right. There is a wide array of options for someone looking to show off their individuality and uniqueness.
Historically, engagement rings were meant to show that man “owned” a woman. Thankfully, society has moved past this notion and engagement rings now convey that a person has chosen to marry another person. Instead of conveying ownership, the ring now conveys love and a sense of commitment to the person’s fiancé and future spouse.
Wearing an engagement ring is purely a personal preference, whether it be for men or for women. Many men do not wear engagement rings simply because it is not traditional. There is nothing wrong with a man wearing an engagement ring to symbolize his love and commitment to his spouse.
Most typical gender roles look a lot different in society. Women are taking on the roles traditional filled by men, and now same-sex couples are getting more freedoms to follow the same traditions as heterosexual couples. Whatever a couple’s unique situation, the engagement ring is used to show their commitment to one another in a pre-marriage setting.
Men’s engagement ring styles
If you’re looking into getting an engagement ring for men, there are quite a few different styles to choose from. Minimalist styles are becoming more and more popular in modern culture. Another unique style is the black ring. It features a striking black color that will stand out from almost all other rings. However, some people prefer more ornate jewelry and might want a little bling on their ring. There a plenty of gemstone studded rings available on the market for both men and women.
If you’re interested in men’s engagement ring styles, here are some of the more recent trends:
- Personalized wedding rings
- Platinum over gold
- New materials like wood
- Black rings made from tungsten and titanium
- Ergonomic designs
Another thing to consider is whether or not you want your engagement ring to match your future spouse’s ring. Many couples love the thought of having matching rings that they can show off together. However, if you are more of an individualist, that is okay too. You and your fiancé should discuss these options together to see what works best for the two of you.
Some men don’t want to wear rings at all
While this is probably true of some women as well, there are some men who don’t like to wear rings, necklaces, or jewelry in any of its forms. If a man truly wants to show his love, commitment, and new relationship status, he may find another way to do so. Some men who are ring-averse will actually wear their engagement or wedding ring around their necks to keep it off of their hands.
For some men, wearing a ring on a necklace feels more natural than having it on their finger. It allows men to show the same commitment as women without having to feel uncomfortable. This is especially good for men that do a lot of manual labor or work in dangerous fields where a ring could be a liability. There are many terrible stories out there of people who have caught their rings on something and caused serious damage and trauma to themselves.
If a man works in a messy job, he may not want to have to worry about getting his ring dirty and having to clean and polish it all of the time. Everyone knows that the last thing you want to do is get your brand new, expensive engagement or wedding ring filthy.
Here are some jobs that might make a guy want to avoid wearing his shiny new wedding ring:
- Garbage collector
- Machine operator
- Police Officer
In many of these jobs, people may simply recommend taking the ring off and keeping it in a safe place. However, rings are small and very easy to misplace. Even the most careful person runs the risk of losing their ring if they are taking it off and putting it back on all of the time. Keeping it safely around your neck is a great way to keep your ring safe and secure.
No one is required to wear a ring
In today’s culture, rings are no longer required for many couples. Even with the cheaper more budget friendly rings on the market today, some young couples are simply unable to afford rings. There are always extremely cheap silicone options that are perfect for marking your engagement and marriage without breaking the bank. However, this is completely a personal choice. Any marriage is about two people’s love for each other, not the jewelry they wear.
A ring is a symbol of love, trust, and commitment. These are qualities that men, women, and gender-neutral people all may wish to portray. That means anyone can wear an engagement ring. There is no reason for anyone to worry about breaking tradition. Wedding traditions are very flexible in modern times. Even if you don’t want to wear a ring, talk it over together. If you and your partner both decide to forgo the traditional rings, that is okay too.
The ring isn’t all that matters
Communication is key in any good marriage. It’s always good to be able to talk to your future spouse about their expectations and desires for your marriage. Find a good pre-marital counselor to help you and your fiancé (or fiancé-to-be) learn to communicate even better in marriage. There are some websites that even offer online counseling to make it easier than ever to book an appointment.
Some people may view counseling as bad. Our culture has put a stigma on getting counseling that makes people feel guilty or awkward about going. However, remember that there is nothing wrong with seeking help, even if you aren’t really having a problem. A good counselor can help you and your partner to equip each other with knowledge and tools to help prevent future problems and help the two of you have a happy and fulfilling relationship in the future.
We talked about online counselors before, but they really are a fantastic resource. You can talk at any time that works for you, and it is so easy to reach out and connect with them. They can help your marriage be successful and happy.
Here are some things you should look for in a good counselor:
- Genuine and caring
- Their values should match your values
- Comforting and easy to talk to
- Gives you a sense of trust
The good news is that a lot of these counselors are relatively cheap, and if you go through a church you may even be able to get pre-marital counseling for free. This a great option for the budget-conscious couple to consider.
There is a lot of tradition and culture to go through when you’re looking into engagement and wedding rings. What is normal for some people is not normal for others. But just remember, this is all about what makes you happy and comfortable with your future spouse. You are completely allowed to break tradition and do what feels right for the two of you. Don’t worry about what other people do or think.
In the end, it isn’t the ring that matters, it is the commitment and love that the couple has for each other. Whether or not either person wears a ring doesn’t truly matter as long as they are happy together. Don’t let tradition make or break your special day by making you worry about rings and customs and cultural taboos.
If you’re still not sure after reading this article, take some time and talk to your future spouse. The two of you should decide what is best for you both together. As we said before, communication is key. Just remember that it is all about your happiness together, not anyone else’s.
Do straight guys get engagement rings?
Almost half of gay men get married and many of them choose an engagement ring similar to the one they got from their husbands. Some couples choose to split the cost of the engagement ring.
Does the woman buy the man’s engagement ring?
It's a binary system, where the bride purchases the ring from the groom, and the other person pays for it. The tradition is that the bride purchases the ring from the groom, and the other person pays for it. Usually, the man proposes to his girlfriend by falling down to his knees and asking her to marry him. This traditional method is carried out to create an elaborate surprise.
How much should a man pay for an engagement ring?
If you are making more than $60,000 per year, then you should spend at least 2 months of salary on the engagement ring. If the engagement is broken, the other party gets the ring back regardless of the reason for the split. This is a no-fault divorce method.
What is the etiquette for buying an engagement ring?
Before you get down on one knee, make sure that your engagement ring is placed on the third finger of the right hand. So, guys can wear wedding bands before getting married? Generally, if a guy wants to wear a wedding band, then he should do so.
Is wedding ring on right or left?
Before the wedding ceremony, the wedding ring is exchanged on the other hand, so that it can be placed on the left hand, which is the closest to the heart. When a man gets married, he typically wears an engagement ring on his third finger. This is because it's usually worn before the wedding.