I’m going to disagree with most of the posters so far.
I say that if you can’t spend 2 months salary on an engagement ring (credit is OK, as long as you can make the payments in a timely fashion), then you aren’t ready to get married.
Proverbs 31:10 says, “An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels.” You see, OP, it’s not the diamond companies who said how much a wife is worth, it’s God.
An engagement ring is a pledge of your love for your fiance. A house is just a place to live. You will buy a house whether or not you get married.
For some reason, couples are thinking that “being practical” is a good plan when it comes to buying an engagement ring. They’re missing the whole point of getting engaged and eventually married. I think this is very sad. The engagement ring is something that should be one of the most precious objects in their life, but instead, couples are passing on this beautiful thing because they are afraid of material poverty and “losing money” or “not having enough money.”
A house is not a good symbol of enduring love because it is, in most cases, temporary. A couple lives in a house, then sells it and moves into a better house. In a way, this sounds like what our society has become–a couple marries, then splits and moves on to better partners.
An engagement ring is a traditional pledge of love, while a house or some other expenditure–it’s just everyday life. An engagement shouldn’t be just another everyday life event, a “bargain.” It should be a huge, extremely romantic, tears flowing, mega-moment in a couple’s life–the symbol of that moment should be something enduring, something breathtakingly beautiful, something much much bigger-than-real-life. A diamond (or other precious stone) is the best expression of the importance and joy of an engagement. A diamond ring (or some other precious stone) is an investment in love.
Yes, an engagement ring SHOULD be a big deal and it should cost a lot, a painful amount of a man’s salary so that the husband knows (and feels!) what exactly he is getting into with a marriage.
I think couples are making a big mistake to pass up the engagement ring in favor of a house or some other mundane practical material good. To me, this is like my husband buying a vacuum cleaner for my birthday instead of flowers and candy. Of course the vacuum cleaner is more useful for years to come, but the flowers and candy are the best choice for the special occasion of my birthday. He can buy the stinkin’ vacuum cleaner some other time!
A engagement ring is something that everyone sees. A house–there are many people that your fiance will meet who will never see her house. But her ring–everyone will see it and know that she is loved and provided for.
$2,200 may sound like a fortune now, but it is truly a drop in the bucket compared to how much money will be spent in the course of many years of marriage. In the course of your marriage, you will spend thousands, tens of thousands more money than a mere $2,200 on your wife. Just wait until you have to buy her a car because the car she is using falls apart and she really has to have a car. Or wait until you re-do a room in your house–yee hah! Ten thousand won’t touch many redecorating projects. Or wait until you have a baby. Or a whole family of babies.
The husband of one of my friends spends well over a thousand dollars every spring on flowers, bushes, plants, ground covers, etc. for his wife’s gardening hobby. (I don’t think my husband and I have spent a thousand dollars on yard stuff in the 31 years that we’ve been married!)
But my husband spends thousands of dollars on various tools to help me with my hobbies. He spent his last bonus check–$6000.00–buying a brand new piano for me (to replace the 80 year old hunk of junk that I was playing).
If your wife should become ill during the course of the marriage, $2,200 won’t even begin to pay the bills.
The fact that you are willing to spend a mere two months salary on an engagement ring is a strong message to your fiance that you are willing to spend whatever is necessary to provide for her. It’s just a symbol, but it will be there long after the first house was sold, the vacuum cleaner broke down, and all the babies are grown up and gone. It will forever remind you (or accuse you) of the love that you both had for each other that caused you to get married to begin with.
If you want to skimp on anything, skimp on the honeymoon–plan something close to home (a state park with a lodge?) and relaxing and reasonably-priced. Or skimp on the wedding–just getting married before noon can shave thousands of dollars off the bill, honest! Or skip the open bar–let people pay for their own liquor. There are so many ways to have a beautiful wedding without spending so much.
BTW, I have no objection to precious stones other than diamonds. Just make sure that you talk to the jeweler about the hardness of stones. Some stones are soft and will break or scratch. Opal is an example of a stone that is soft and you have to be careful; e.g., washing dishes in the opal is not a wise plan. Coral is another soft stone. Emeralds are not as hard as rubies and sapphires, but it’s still pretty hard. Also, if you’re the superstitious type, some stones have bad luck associated with them; e.g., opals.