Yesterday we (the boyfriend and I, although I hate using ‘boyfriend’ as the descriptor because it sounds so trite and insufficient) went ring shopping. I guess it was more like ring browsing and learning, but that’s less pithy. It was surprisingly amazing.
For those of you who don’t know me well I should explain that I am not, or I guess I was not, the marrying kind. I am not sure how it happened, but marriage never became a necessity or desire in my adult life. I always figured if I met someone we’d shack up and just live. I imagined that as long as we were happy we would be and when we weren’t we wouldn’t be, no complications and no paperwork. I know, that certainly does not sound like a statement made by a lawyer, but being a lawyer came later and my preconceived notions were pretty set. I can credit this aversion to the concept of marriage to a lot of things, but those are less relevant now.
I met my boyfriend (my co-workers often remind me that when we first started dating I couldn’t even use that word and now it is not enough) about three years ago and after some time we started dating. I knew from the start that something was different from my (few, very few) romantic relationships of the past. We loved spending time together, even when it was just studying a few feet from each other, or watching C-SPAN, or wandering around Miami without purpose. Dating in law school and while studying for the bar wasn’t easy, at times the uncertainty in our futures was paralyzing, the thought of going our separate ways was more painful that I could have ever imagined. As time and our relationship progressed I knew he was it. I was definitely not thinking wedding, but I was thinking partnership, dogs, kids, an inevitable mortgage.
I have to admit that initially the idea of a life together was scary. I don’t know a lot of happily married couples. I always thought somewhere down the line relationships fell apart, that people outgrew one another and a piece of paper kept them unhappily coupled. As our relationship got more serious I started to worry about its inevitable demise and dreading the heartbreak of losing what we had. It was crazy, I know, but I didn’t understand how we could live happily ever after.
I suppose I had some growing up to do. I have learned that relationships take work, and feelings change, and life gets busy, but I can’t just give up on something because the future is uncertain. So I was ready to give a life together a try, but he wanted more. After a lot of debate, an actual wedding became an inescapable reality and preparing for it seemed like the smartest thing to do.
Thankfully, everything about our relationships has been anything but traditional. I think this has allowed for a lot of healthy discussion about our future, and very few unknowns. This also meant that when he felt he was ready to propose that we get married, officially, it was easy for us to visit a few jewelry stores together in order to educate ourselves on the symbol of this imminent lifelong commitment.
The first place we visited was Jared’s (he went to Jared’s?!). Everyone was lovely and accommodating, but the second I tried the first ring on it was as if we were the only ones in the room. My boyfriend smiled holding up my bejeweled hand as if he could see our very happy and long future right before his eyes. It moved me in a way I never expected. I cuddled up close to him feeling joyful, feeling hopeful. The ring faded into the background and it’s distant sparkle perfectly reflected our not so distant future. Our future looks bright, no fluorescent blue light required.
A quick visit to Macy’s followed, where we met a very nice woman who told us to wait and she would call us for the big diamond sale. There my other half tried on his first wedding band. His smile was wider than I’d seen all day, which I didn’t even think possible. His eyes wrinkled at the corners as he grinned and he kissed me.
Upon his mother’s surprisingly (because she lives relatively far away, although I am not actually surprised by it anymore, that adorable woman knows her stuff) well-informed suggestion we visited ALO diamonds. We were handed two glasses of champagne as the store manager excitedly explained their provenance. The pieces he showed us definitely reflected a lot of what he was saying, and I quickly fell in love (I was not allowed to photograph it and it is not on their website so you will have to take my word for it, it was stunning).
We then visited Mayor’s (great service, but overpriced) and Zales (great service, pretty good quality, pretty good deals). The last visit was to the store with the perfect color palette and the sparkliest jewelry: Tiffany & Co. The gentleman behind the counter was very attentive and showed us everything we wanted to look at, even offering to have a ring I’d seen before brought back in. My boyfriend was pretty amazed by the sparkle, under any light the quality was undeniable. The last ring we saw, the round Tiffany Soleste, was an exceedingly strong competitor of the ALO piece. It was flawless, the pave was seamless, and it was perfectly understated.
What followed was a very reasonable discussion and the decision is his to make. I will be happy with pretty much anything. This weekend was a great reminder of how lucky I am and it made me look forward to our life together. The ring will be a symbol of our commitment and whatever it is I will wear it very happily for the rest of my life. I will look down and remember this weekend. I will be reminded that what really matters is our life together, our happiness, our commitment to one another and that regardless of difficulties we will try to work together towards our happily ever after.