Everyone knows about engagement rings. They signify that a couple has agreed to be married. However, some couples aren’t quite ready for that level of commitment, but they still want some commitment. So what do they do? Most couples in this stage opt for the Promise Ring.
A promise ring isn’t quite an engagement ring, but it should be regarded as nothing either. In some ways, it can act as a stepping stone in the first levels of commitment.
Promise rings: an overview
In general, a promise ring is given to a significant other before an engagement ring has been given. Some couples exchange promise rings as soon as six months, while others wait up to a year. In some cases, couples will skip giving promise rings altogether.
A promise ring acts as a sign of commitment between a couple, at least the extent that they are both serious about making their relationship work. This is a sign that their relationship is moving forward and not just standing still.
While a promise ring is still a big commitment, it isn’t as strong as an engagement ring. An engagement ring is a major promise and it signifies that both people in a relationship are set on marriage. A promise ring is simply a way to show love and commitment to someone in a pre-marriage setting. It is a way to make the relationship “official” without going as far as getting engaged.
The history of the promise ring
Promise rings may seem like a fairly recent trend, but these rings have been around for thousands of years. Some historians speculate that the promise ring was even around in biblical times. It has a much deeper history than just the last few decades would lead us to believe.
So where did the promise ring come from originally? It can be hard to pinpoint, but some believe that the idea of the promise ring originated when a 13th-century pope decreed that there should be a waiting period between getting betrothed and getting married. This supposedly helped to facilitate the formal introduction of the engagement ring and the promise ring.
It was used by some for centuries, but it began to gain serious popularity in the 16th century. Many young men lacked the financial ability to get married, but they still wanted to show their love and devotion. Many of the promise rings in this time period had romantic poems and lines etched into the bands to declare the giver’s love to the wearer. This trend continued to gain ground until the 1970’s when the term “promise ring” was officially added into the jewelry dictionary.
Back in the 16th century, becoming “engaged” was really not a thing. In those days, people got “betrothed” which was a legally-binding ceremony that had the couple promise to marry each other sometime in the near future. Unlike the sometimes private engagements of today, a betrothal was a public event that held serious consequences should either party renege on their end of the deal.
In this ceremony, the future husband would give his soon-to-be wife a ring to show his commitment and devotion. At this time, these “promise rings” were actually called “posy rings” by most people. This ring was one of the origins of both the promise ring and the modern-day engagement ring.
But what if these engagement rings went even further back than the 16th century? There is actually evidence that the 2nd century B.C. Rome used engagement rings as part of their traditional wedding routines. It seems that Roman brides typically wore rings on the ring finger of their left hands to show their commitment to their future spouse. The Roman culture actually started the myth that the left-hand ring finger contains a vein that runs all the way to the heart.
While promise rings have a long and deep history, they have been taking deeper roots within our culture in the last decade. Two of the most notable instances in popular culture of celebrities wearing promise rings were Miley Cyrus and the Jonas brothers. They helped to bring the promise ring back into the mainstream spotlight.
Promise rings today
When the Jonas Brothers first came onto the scene with their promise rings, the gave an incorrect definition of the promise ring as a purity ring. Purity rings are generally used as a way to symbolize the wearer’s promise to be abstinent. Though some people see this as synonymous with a promise ring, it is really not the same definition.
Promise rings for all relationships
We’ve talked a lot about promise rings for couples, but that doesn’t mean that all promise rings are for couples exclusively. A promise ring can be given for many different reasons:
- abstinence from drugs or alcohol
- a symbol of an exclusive dating relationship
- intention to marry
A promise ring can even be exchanged between friends as a sign of their commitment to their friendship, and a promise to be best friends forever. It can even be given as a gift between groups like sororities who want to solidify their bond.
Some people even give themselves a promise ring to help keep themselves motivated to keep a promise they made to themselves. Some people give themselves promise rings to help them stay away from an addiction or reach a goal they have set for themselves.
Promise rings and purity rings
The promise ring that most people know about is called a “purity ring” or a “chastity ring” by some. It is a sign that the wearer plans to stay abstinent until they are married. This ring is all about waiting for your true love to come along to break your abstinence.
This is one of the most well-known variants of the promise ring, and many people actually use it to keep away others who aren’t serious about a long-term relationship with them. It can be a good tool to help find someone who is truly interested.
People really began to notice the purity ring when pop stars started to wear them around and on stage. Some big stars that wore these rings are:
- Miley Cyrus
- Jordin Sparks
- The Jonas Brothers
- Selena Gomez
- Demi Lovato
- Jessica Simpson
- Teyana Taylor
While these celebrities helped to bring the purity ring to the forefront of the public’s consciousness, purity rings have been around for a long time. Some parents even give their children purity rings in many religious circles around the world.
The meaning behind a true promise ring
In the case of couples, a promise ring doesn’t necessarily mean practicing abstinence. For the most part, a promise ring is a sign that lets people know how serious a couple is about staying together and staying true to each other. It typically means the following:
- A promise of commitment to one another’s relationship (this could possibly lead to marriage)
- A promise to exclusively date the other person and be monogamous
- A sense of connection, love, and trust between two people
- A show of love and affection between two people who are not ready to be married just yet
When to give a promise ring
A promise ring does not hold the serious note that an engagement ring does. It still shows a commitment between two people, but not necessarily a commitment to marriage just yet. Typically, most couples exchange promise rings between six months to a year of dating.
The promise ring is perfect for couples who prefer not to plan too far ahead. It allows people to be in the moment and enjoy the relationship as it is while still bringing in the sense that both parties are fully committed to each other.
A promise ring may not always lead to a wedding in the future, but it should still be taken seriously. You don’t have to be ready for marriage when you give a promise ring, but you do have to be ready to commit to your partner.
While the standard is six to twelve months, if you and your partner both feel ready to be exclusive and commit to each other, then feel free to exchange those promise rings. They are the perfect step to take for the couple who isn’t quite ready for an engagement yet.
The best way to give a promise ring
It is always a good idea for couples to discuss getting promise rings with each other. You always want to include your partner in such a big decision. However, it can still be fun to surprise him or her on a special occasion after you have talked about it. Here are some good examples:
- A Valentine’s gift
- A birthday gift
- An anniversary gift
If you do take your partner completely by surprise, make sure that they are aware that this is not an engagement ring. Their initial reaction may be to think this, so you have to be quick about it. A good idea is to have a romantic note handy to explain exactly what the ring signifies.
If you’ve both talked about it, and you aren’t sure how your partner feels, it is probably a good idea to stay away from the promise ring for the time being. Be sure that you are both completely ready for it before you decide to jump in.
The average cost of a promise ring
Promise rings are not engagement or wedding rings, so don’t expect to have to pay that much for them. They are typically much more minimalist in design and lack the usual embellishments of an engagement ring. You should be able to find a promise ring to suit just about any budget, so you don’t have to break the bank to get one. The average cost of a promise ring is depending on where you buy it from. Highend brand storefront costs around $1000-$2000, at a bigger franchise jewelry store it can cost around $200-$800, and online stores can cost around $50-$300. But frankly, they are all as beautiful and good quality.
How to wear a promise ring
You will typically wear a promise ring just like an engagement ring or a wedding ring, on the ring finger of your left hand. Once an engagement comes along, you should switch your promise ring out for the engagement ring. After this, you can choose to wear your promise ring on any finger you like. Most people find that they like to wear it on the ring finger of their right hand.
Where to get a promise ring
Technically, you don’t have to get a ring that is specifically labeled a “promise ring” from the jewelry store. Any ring will do, as long as it suits the style you are looking for. What truly makes a ring into a promise ring is the intention behind it once it is given.
You can find rings online, in jewelry stores, and even in some department stores if you are looking on the cheaper side. Many online and in-store brands will even allow you to customize a ring to suit you or your partner’s personal tastes.
Promise ring styles
As we talked about earlier, promise rings tend to be more minimalist then engagement rings and wedding rings. Some of the more popular styles tend to be smaller and more slender. They can be studded with gems or left plain. They can also have intricate carvings and messages etched into them if you desire.
One common practice is to etch a love note or a favorite poem’s line into the band itself.
1. Matching promise rings for couples
One growing trend is for couples to have matching rings. This is a big trend in today’s wedding ring market. There are lots of popular design options. You can get similar looking rings, rings made of the same materials, or rings that have designs that match up to each other. Some couples like to have infinity symbols are intertwined hearts to signify their love for each other.
Another popular option is to use puzzle rings that can actually come apart and go back together. There are tons of his and hers promise rings out there to choose from.
2. Silver promise rings for women
In general, women’s rings tend to be more dainty and slender. Silver rings are a great option as they are sleek, shiny, and give off an elegant air when they are worn. Sterling silver is a good material for a promise ring as it will be less likely to be mistaken for an engagement ring or a wedding band.
3. Rose gold promise rings for women
Rose gold is a beautiful color that will compliment any woman’s outfit. Many of these rings are also studded with diamonds for added beauty. While this option may not be the most budget-friendly choice, it will certainly be a striking ring that she can be proud of.
4. Stainless steel rings for men
Many men aren’t really into jewelry in general. Getting a stainless steel band is a great way to meet his personal style. It is a simple, minimal band that he can wear with anything.
5. Promise rings with birthstones
Promise rings with birthstones hold a lot of significance to the wearer. They are typically made with the wearer’s own birthstone and serve as a representation of the wearer themselves. A lot of people really like this option as it makes it feel like the ring is truly about them.
6. Customized promise rings
Everyone loves a personalized gift. In today’s market, it is easier than ever to get a ring personalized. Many people like to engrave rings with a special message, date, or symbol of their shared love. An infinity sign, a heart, and the initials of the couple are some great options to help with this.
This personalization can help to show off the bond that a couple has with each other.
7. Promise rings for groups
As we mentioned earlier, not every promise ring is given between couples. Best friends, parents and children, and many others exchange promise rings regularly. These can also be personalized to help mark the occasion that they were given for.
Promise rings don’t have to be just for couples. Anyone who makes a promise to themselves or to anyone else can choose to give a promise ring. While it has not been very popular over the last century, the promise ring is seeing a rise in use thanks to its ability to be used on so many different occasions.
Do men always wear promise rings too?
Typically, yes, men wear promise rings just as much as women. Men’s promise rings are available in all the same places as women’s promise rings, so you don’t have to worry about where on earth you are going to find one.
Let’s dive into why guys also wear promise rings, especially in relationships.
Why does a guy get a promise ring?
Guys get promise rings for all the same reasons that girls get promise rings. When a girl gets a promise ring from a man who she is in a relationship with, it is almost customary for her to return the favor and get him a promise ring as well.
Giving a promise ring to your male partner
There are a lot of reasons for a woman to buy her male partner a promise ring, but the main reason is the one that we talked about: Commitment. In this day and age, it is perfectly acceptable for a woman to take charge of the relationship. So if you’re a woman reading this, don’t be scared to go out on a limb and get your man a promise ring.
The promise ring is a great way to signify your commitment to the relationship without having to stress about getting engaged and planning a wedding. It is simply a gift to signify that the two of you are serious about each other. It will allow your man to show that he loves you and is serious about a relationship with you.
We mentioned future weddings earlier in the article, but a promise ring doesn’t necessarily mean a wedding is imminent. Promise rings can simply be a symbol of love and respect between a couple. If you are both comfortable where your relationship is, but you still want a way to show your commitment, promise rings are the way to go.
Promise rings between friends (yes, even male friends)
As we mentioned earlier, promise rings can be given between friends, even male friends. You don’t have to be romantically involved with someone to want to express your admiration and devotion to them. It can be a great way to show that you are serious about the friendship. A promise ring shows that the two of you will be friends forever.
Matching rings are very common in friendship promise rings. If you’re planning on giving one to a friend, don’t forget to get a matching ring for yourself. It will serve as a great reminder of the friendship that the two of you have.
Other reasons for a man to receive a promise ring
Again, you don’t have to limit promise ring gifts to your romantic partner. Some people even give their fathers promise rings to help signify a significant event like getting over an addiction or getting through a hard time in your life. If a man in your life was there for you and had a profound effect on you, a promise ring is a great way to show him how much that meant to you. It is a promise that you will always remember everything that they did for you.
Don’t forget to talk about it with your man
Gender roles are certainly changing in today’s culture, but it is still a good idea to discuss the idea of a promise ring with your male partner first. Sure it is okay for you to be the one to offer the ring to him, but it is probably still a good idea for you both to discuss it together first.
Giving a promise ring is a wonderful display of love and commitment for both men and women, and many more progressive couples are taking part in this growing trend. Just remember that it is still a big step. Your partner may not be ready for even this level of commitment, so you need to carefully analyze the situation and discuss the options with them.
It’s okay to be bold and be the one to offer, but it is still a good idea to know how your guy is going to react before you take the leap and buy him a promise ring.
Despite the change in gender norms, a lot of guys still feel the obligation to be the one to bring their relationships to the next level. This is true of both engagements and promise rings. You might find that you make your man uncomfortable by offering him a promise ring. If he is stuck in this mindset, it can be a difficult hurdle to overcome. Some men still feel insecure when a woman takes charge of the relationship.
Discussing the idea before you proceed is an easy way to avoid an uncomfortable situation for both you and him. Watch his reaction and see how you think he would respond to the question of you buying him a promise ring.
Many men are perfectly fine with the notion of wearing a promise ring while others may dislike the idea completely. If you both aren’t on the same page about this then it would be awkward for you to proceed with buying a promise ring.
Choosing the perfect promise ring for a guy
Now that you know whether or not your man is okay with the idea of you buying him a promise ring, it is time to pick the perfect ring out for him. There are a lot of options out there, so might be at a loss on where to start.
Most jewelers have tons of options for men’s promise rings. If you know your man’s personal style well enough, you should have no trouble finding a ring that you think he would absolutely love.
Promise rings tend to be on the cheaper side, so this can help your man be more accepting of a ring as well. Everyone loves a good budget-friendly option. Most promise rings come in less costly materials such as:
- Sterling silver
Black rings are a big trend for men’s fashion at the moment, as are wood and stainless steel. Most men would avoid gemstones, but your man might like them.
The rules around promise rings are much less strict than those around engagement and wedding rings. You don’t have to worry as much about traditional looks or how much the ring itself costs. In fact, simpler is usually better if the two of you plan to be married in the future. You wouldn’t want your promise ring to look better than your engagement ring and your wedding band.
As you look through the options, be sure to trust yourself. You likely know your partner’s tastes, but if you don’t then feel free to have him help you pick a ring out. For many couples, it is more the surprise of the even that is important. It may not bother him to already know what kind of ring he is going to receive.
How to give a man his promise ring
With engagement rings, there are a lot of expectations. There is usually some kind of elaborate plan with a big surprise at the end where the man gets down on one knee. The moment is supposed to be a perfect and grand event.
Luckily, promise rings are a little bit easier to give out. They don’t require all the planning and all the grandeur that is expected of engagement rings.
While a promise ring is still a big deal that holds a lot of meaning for many couples, its lack of tradition makes it less stressful to plan a surprise for. You have the ability to choose whatever way you would like to surprise your man with his promise ring.
The majority of promise rings are given between couples, so think about your relationship when you are planning his big surprise. Maybe you both share a hobby like hiking or kayaking. Maybe you are both artists or have a love for books. Use these shared experiences as a way to present him with his ring. It will be very meaningful for both of you.
One good idea is to give him his promise ring at his favorite restaurant. However, if the two of you are more private than the promise ring can easily be presented to him in a more intimate and comfortable setting like your house.
Big events like scavenger hunts are a fun way to give your man his ring, but he won’t be expecting such a large scale event. Remember that the choice is completely up to you. There is not much tradition to dictate how you have to go about this process.
Overall, your goal should be to give him the promise ring in a special way that will touch both of your hearts. Remember that this promise ring is all about your commitment to each other. As long as you put thought into the event, he is sure to love it.
What if the two of you break up?
No one wants to consider breaking up with their significant other, but unfortunately, these things do happen. If, after the promise ring is given the two of you were to break up, there are really no rules on what should happen to the ring itself. Neither of you is really required to give the ring back if you do not wish too. The choice is entirely up to the individual.
Promise rings are entirely acceptable for men to receive from women and even other men. They are a symbol of commitment and devotion to another person. Though they are growing in popularity, promise rings have a long and rich history dating back thousands of years.
Men’s promise rings are becoming more and more common, so there is no reason to keep yourself from getting one for your significant other. Just remember to talk about it first and make sure your man is receptive to the idea. Promise rings are for men too, and they always will be.