Saturday, January 24, 2009

If I only knew then................

There were 6 women and 6 boys sitting together in the stadium that night. I was enjoying watching the kids exploding with anticipation as they waited for the show, excitedly watching every move the pit crew made. I was chatting with the young lady beside me, (who was accompanying her boyfriends son because Mom had an emergency), and as we chatted I learned that she was newly engaged.

My eyes immediately traveled down to her hand to check out the ring and I could not believe that I had not noticed it before that moment, but it was a very, big ring. I know the guy she was intending on marrying, and that ring was not in his budget. It wasn't even in his budget when he didn't have an ex- wife and child to support.

I know this was none of my business, but I couldn't help but start to worry about it, and I started to worry about the guy. I knew he was smarting a bit over the split with his wife, and I wondered if he was thinking straight.

My thoughts and questions on the subject were interrupted as the answers that I had feared, started to come my way:

She: "Yeah, we chose it together, I just knew it was the one, the second I saw it"

[oh no here we go ..... I had this sad image of them in the ring shop, I wonder if he kept himself composed as he heard the price of the ring ]

Me: "Wow, that's quite a big ring, is it really in his budget?" ( yes, sometimes I ask inappropriate questions,)

She: " Well, he has a second job now on the weekends so that we can pay for it"

[I don't know if it was the stadium hot dog I had just consumed, or if it was her little story, but at exactly that point, I threw up a little]

Me: "Wow ( yes, again, I said Wow, and I said it with a big exhale and an incredulous tone, which she missed ), soooooo, when do you see him?" [ thinking I could get her to see what she was doing, if I approached it from another angle ]

She: "Oh, ..... well", she sighed sadly, ................"its really tough"

[at this point I thought she caught my drift, and might be referring to how hard he was working for her, and I softened a little]

Me: "Is the ring really worth it do you think?"

She: "Oh yeah, its so beautiful," she perked up, "and you know, my girlfriends keep me company when we are partying on the weekends, so I am not too lonely without him"

[huh?............. wait, no,..... its not about you being I wish It was legal for me to smack some sense into you..........]

I decided to try another route, I shared my own story. Because, I thought, I am a pretty cool and admirable chick, maybe I could lead by my own example. You see, I didn't even have a diamond ring when I got married, I still don't, and we could afford it. I figured it was a waste of money though, so, we just saved the dough, and eventually bought other things (like the old Porsche I found online and had shipped from North Carolina to Houston for hubby, way cooler than a ring if you ask me).

Then I told her about the ring that I had had, made, which I could wear to fancy functions or ladies luncheons or whatever, it cost under a $100 dollars, & in all the years I wore it, no one ever doubted it's authenticity. I suggested she take her ring back and choose a setting she likes and put in a fake diamond, so that she could spend more time with her fiance. I reminded her that when they could finally afford it, they could put a real diamond in (if she really wanted to still).

her answer;

She: " Well, yeah I understand what you are saying, but this is really the only time I am going to get married, so it really has to be right, I want this to be the ring I wear forever. "

Me: "How old are you anyway?"

She: " I'm 21"

I knew I was defeated, the conversation was over, I don't like to work that hard.

I know I can't give her my experience, though I hope she learns to listen to people who offer it to her, sooner rather than later.

I know I did, listened to my elders. I recall very early on, hearing the adults around me say "If I only knew then, what I know now",........ I noticed it was such a universal saying, I knew there had to be something to it. I didn't understand it, but I made note of it, and paid attention because of it. So when I am the recipient of advice from someone I admire, even if I don't understand the advice at that time, I try to remember it, file it away, so that when I encounter that particular experience, roadblock, or situation, I might be armed with a piece of wisdom to help me find my way.

To be fair, this young lady is young, and it does take a while to get there, I did my share of stupid at 21, and lord knows I am still learning and have a long way yet to go. I know that I don' t know everything, or anything even, which leaves me more open to consider another point of view. That is where understanding lies for me, in seeing things from as many different perspectives as possible.

I do worry about a culture that places more emphasis on the ceremony and accessories associated with weddings, rather than the actual union itself. It seems to make the young girls feel entitled to this big magical day, no matter what they truly can afford, and I fear young couples set themselves up for way more stress than they need to, at such a young time in their relationships. Hopefully simple cheap weddings will be whats in vogue by the time my children start flirting with the idea of it.



Kat said...

I was just happy I got a ring knowing the shoestring budget my husband had when we got engaged.

rachael said...

Good point Kat, I think gratitude is the key element that what was missing from the above story. There seems to be a lot of that missing nowadays. Some young girls "expect" a big wedding, they expect a ring, they expect so much.

Not that I have a problem with a big celebration either, provided no one has to go into debt in order to throw it. :)

I just adore the stories I hear of couples who just take off and tie the knot simply somewhere private and alone, without the big to-do or fan fare. You know they are getting married because they want to, not just because they want to dress up like a princess and then go play house.

I am going to try and romanticise that kind of story to my daughter, LOL and then maybe I can get out of fighting with her over a big wedding in the future.

Michelle said...

That girl isn't in love with her boy. She is in love with the shit he will buy her.
We spent less than $500 on my ring. I lost it and never bothered to replace it. That ring didn't make me married.

rachael said...

See that is exactly why I never wanted an expensive ring, it is too easily lost, and all that money invested in a trinket, just makes no sense to me.

Some woman shows me a ten thousand dollar ring, and I am thinking, I could buy an ATV with that.

45 and Aspiring said...

People who think they are in love tend to be blind. Can you imagine marrying a man who had already been married and had children when you were 21!!! No way. . .

Hubby & I have been married 15 years. We lived together for 5 first. It was his 2nd marriage. Since my dad was on his 4th marriage, he didn't even consider helping me pay for one! :O

We took out a personal loan for $5000. With it, we got our wedding clothes, our rings (I admit I wanted one and I wanted diamonds), and paid for my dad and our witnesses to get to our wedding and to stay the weekend with us in a bed & breakfast, with Euro meal plan. We had 12 guests total. Our wedding was in the B&B library, followed by a champagne toast, horse drawn sleigh ride, and private dinner. Then 3 of our guests pulled out their guitars to play and sing!

It was great to have such a romatic time, know that we did it for ourselves, by ourselves. We paid off the loan in 2 years. It was worth it.

Bobbie Leigh said...

Ok, well she just sounds like a materialistic you-know-what. But than again, she's only 21 so I suppose I should cut her some slack.
When G and I got engaged, I told him not to spend more than one grand, he spent $900 on the most beautiful ring ever. It's not fancy, and it's not big. But that shouldn't be the point. And I know where your comming from- my sister in law traded her wedding ring in 3 times in one year to make it bigger!! That just made me mad.

Sharon said...

If I had a nickel for every dumbass thing I did when I was 21.....*sigh*....

When Paul and I got engaged, he got me a beautiful ring set. What made it special to me is I know how much thought he put into picking it out. Even if I had hated them, I would have loved them (does that make sense?) But I did and do love them. Funnily enough, I now never wear my engagement ring - just my simple gold band. It's way more functional - you only need to accidentally scratch one of your kids with your diamond once to learn that lesson.