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A commitment ring publicly acknowledges the importance and permanence of a relationship, without necessarily serving as an announcement of an impending marriage. Wedding bells might be in the couple’s future, or they might not. Some couples might not be on board with the traditional institution of marriage, but still want to share their feelings for each other through a meaningful symbol. 

Rings make things real. Whether they are made of gold or silver or silicone or wood or an unnamed element from an undiscovered planet, they change the sound and texture of laying our hands upon a table or gripping our morning coffee from ordinary activities into constant reminders. Whatever finger they are worn on, they are a public declaration. It’s not like a private text or a late night heart to heart. If you and your significant other show up to your sister’s birthday party with a set of his and hers rings, you better believe she is going to be asking a lot of questions. That guy in line at the DMV bears witness, too. He might not understand the significance of what he’s seeing, or realize that one of the many rings you are wearing represents a special bond, but that’s OK. 

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Even though it is visible to the whole world, a commitment ring doesn’t have to explain itself to anybody that isn’t giving it or wearing it. The exact meaning of the symbol remains the couple’s personal decision. While that liberates lovebirds from answering to a rigid set of societal expectations, it does make them responsible for agreeing on what kind of commitment the ring symbolizes. There’s only one universal rule for commitment rings that really matters. Ready for it? You and your partner can be on a different page from everybody else, but you have to be on the same page as each other. 

It’s on the two of you to know what being on the same page looks like, but if you want to take a peek at how other couples have fit commitment rings into their relationship, read right on.

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Commitment Rings that DTR

Have you come out of too many “define the relationship talks” still unsure about whether you were in a relationship or not? Let an unmistakable circlet of elegant metal loop you in on where things stand. You aren’t just seeing each other casually in a hazy “oh we’ve gone out on some dates” kind of way. The connection you have isn’t just in your imagination. You are linked by a tangible object. 

Commitment Rings vs. Engagement Rings and Promise Rings

Technically, engagement rings and wedding bands also fall into the commitment category, but the term is typically reserved for the other rings that have a more personalized structure. A promise ring might be a pre-engagement adornment that serves as a placeholder until the couple decides exactly what they want in the engagement ring or enters a phase of life in which they feel more comfortable planning a wedding. But that isn’t the only promise that can be made with a ring. It can also be a lifelong pledge of devotion without obligation to fill out legal paperwork. Unlike an engagement ring, promise rings for couples can be exchanged and worn by both parties on any finger on either hand. 

What Is a Promise Ring?

holding hands on beach wearing wedding bands

Other Types of Commitment 

While commitment rings are typically thought of as rings given outside the traditional framework of marriage, they can also be post-marriage gifts. You and your spouse might not have had a formal ring proposal and ring exchange. Or maybe a couple wants to reaffirm their commitment, especially in terms of a particular area or in commemoration of a specific relationship milestone.

And finally, while commitment rings usually have romantic associations, they can also serve as symbols of commitment to other strong bonds – such as lifelong friendship or shared convictions.

Commitment Ring Styles

Just as the couple is in charge of choosing the level of commitment or the nature of the promise, the style of the rings is up to them. Commitment rings are often less formal than an engagement ring, which often sends the design in two different directions: a simple band or even more elaborate decoration that incorporates meaningful engravings or other symbolic ornamentation that is personal to the couple. But again, anything goes, so long as both parties are going in the same direction. If there is a private message, make sure you are working from the same loving codebook so that you can honor the commitment. 

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