Dressing Up and Promising Rings

Sunday I had lunch with a girl I was best friends with in middle school. She moved away after 7th grade and moved back after high school, and we’ve met sporadically over the past two years, but this summer we both actively decided we wanted to pursue friendship.

I had a great time! I’m excited to hangout with her again But she said something to me I can’t stop thinking about.

“I think promise rings are kind of stupid at our age,” she told me. “Like, we’re not kids anymore.”

Before I talk about any of that, I want to say that she began our conversation by saying she felt like a little kid playing dress up, that we’re doing adult things but it doesn’t quite feel like we’re actually adults yet.

She thinks her boyfriend of a year and a half will propose to her soon. She is going to say yes. Good for her.

But when my boyfriend and I have been together for a year and a half, we will both still be in college. When we graduate with our bachelor’s degrees, I will be in a master’s program a month later, and I will be in said program for the next year.

When I finish that program, we will have been together for three and a half years. Before I marry him, I want to live with him for at least six months in our own apartment, just the two of us.

“I wouldn’t even mind a long engagement,” she explained. “I just don’t want to live in a house he owns, since he’s buying one now, and just be his ‘girlfriend.'”

I understood what she was saying. But that’s not the pace that my relationship is going, despite the fact that we both intend to marry our current boyfriends.

A long engagement isn’t what I want. Engagement, to me, means marriage is coming soon. And I do want to marry my Boyfriend! But what marriage means to me isn’t something I’m ready for yet.

Marriage, to me, means a home in our names, joint bank accounts, a plan for a honeymoon, and enough money to have the big, beautiful Catholic wedding I know my boyfriend wants. Those things will not exist in three and a half years.

But you know what I love about a promise ring? It means those things will exist some time after three and a half years. I trust my Boyfriend enough to know that if he gives me a promise ring, it’s because he means it.

am still playing dress up sometimes. I don’t really know how to be an adult yet. I do have a million things I want to do with my Boyfriend, all of which I’m comfortable doing with just calling him my “Boyfriend.” All of which I would love doing with a tiny, stupid ring on my finger that says “I intend to marry the person I am dating.”

Frankly, I don’t think there’s a damn thing wrong with that.

-HH

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