- 13 years ago
- Wedding: November 2008
This situation reflects a lot where you two are at in terms of mutual decision-making and communication, particularly in the area of finances.
As a couple moves into marriage, there is a transition from decision-making as single individuals to decision-making as a couple. This decision-making is often inextricably linked to how couples handle money, which research tells us is the number one thing couples fight about. So take heart: you are hardly alone or out of the ordinary from that perspective!
The examples you gave of your ring and his motorcycle demonstrate to me that you disagree on the amount of cooperativeness there should be in making your major decisions, especially meaning large and/or significant purchases. He made both of these decisions himself, whereas you expected to have a significant say in both (or at least, the ring); hence your hurt feelings. As you said, you think an engagement (and its symbol, the ring) should be something you do together.
In thinking so independently he naturally gave the most weight to his own opinion. I don’t mean that he necessarily disregarded your opinion, or that he’s being inconsiderate, or that he puts your feelings last, as other posters have suggested. No. Unless this is part of a bigger pattern, this probably is not the death knell of your relationship.
I mean that he didn’t really listen to your opinion. You said that he thinks he got you the ring you wanted, but really he got you the ring he thought you wanted. Despite your (considerable) efforts, I don’t think he heard you, because he was so wrapped up in the symbology of rings, his views on spending his "own money," and his bad experiences with commitment in his last marriage. Nevertheless he bought you a designer ring from a store—to many men designer labels connote status, and many wouldn’t know a wholesaler if it hit them on the head—so I think his purchase, from his point of view, shows that he does value you highly. However much he may have failed to listen, he did buy you a ring he thought you would want.
The conversation you need to have is not about the ring or the motorcycle. Those are symptoms of a larger issue: breaking down the barriers in between you so that you function as a team. One of the best arenas for doing this is in premarital counseling. You don’t go to premarital counseling because your relationship is in trouble; far from it. You go to make your relationship even better. It provides a safe and neutral environment to lay out your expectations on a million sensitive subjects (money, kids, housework, sex, in-laws, spirituality/life philosophies, and more) so you can find common ground. Believe me, it won’t start out all being common ground. Counseling teaches you how to communicate with one another without hurting one another.
Given his propensity to get really upset if you mention you don’t like the ring, you will have to weigh how helpful it would be for you to do so right now. Recognize that it’s a very loaded issue for him too. Remember, the ring is a symptom, not the problem. Fighting to get the ring you want will not fix this problem. So don’t put artificial constraints on the situation (as in, must get new engagement ring now before the engagment is over!); you need to work through it naturally. If you do, I am sure there will come a time when your fiance/husband will get you just what you want. It might not be an "engagement ring," but it can mean just as much if you don’t worry about what it’s called.
Here’s what Shakespeare had to say on the subject:
‘Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What’s Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call’d,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.