So...do men wear engagement rings? The answer depends on a number of factors. As customs and traditions evolve, some of those factors change and some become obsolete. In the case of men’s wedding rings, changing perceptions about relationships and the weight of pop culture have helped to shape current trends in a big way.
Once upon a time, engagement rings were seen as symbols of "possession”. Granted, that was long ago, during a time when women were seen as "prized property." For many years, engagement rings were also seen as a sign of a man's commitment to take care of his bride and subsequent family.
In those days, men (at least in Western cultures) didn't wear wedding rings. The attitude was "why should men wear wedding rings? Why bother?”
The idea really only started catching on after a photograph of Humphrey Bogart wearing a wedding ring emerged in the media. Engagement ring industry, meet pop culture.
In other countries, such as Sweden, Chile, and Argentina, both men and women have been wearing engagement rings for a long time. In Argentina tradition demands the engagement rings are made of silver, while the wedding rings are made of gold.
Recently, Ed Sheeran caused quite a stir when he wore his engagement ring to a red carpet event.
That meant that pop culture once again raised the question:
Should (or do) men wear engagement rings? There are two sides to this proverbial coin.
For some, it’s a matter of personal choice. Some men simply feel uncomfortable wearing any sort of jewelry, including a ring. Other men would like to move with the times and don’t mind wearing one.
Some men may be leery of wearing a ring. These are often men who are very active or perform manual labor of some kind. There have been cases of men who have lost fingers due to a ring getting caught in the machinery. That means for many modern gents, whether they wear a ring is a matter of safety and practicality, not style or sentimentality. These men can benefit from silicone wedding bands when they are ready to start wearing a ring.
Typically, commitment levels can play a role. How a man views his relationship with his future wife can determine whether he will wear an engagement ring or promise ring. If he believes in equal commitment from both parties, he should have no problem wearing his own engagement ring. After all, it’s meant to symbolize love and devotion. If you expect your future wife to show the whole world that she is "spoken for", why wouldn’t you want to do the same?
Ultimately, as a couple, you both need to decide on how you want to symbolize your marriage.
So if the man does decide to wear an engagement ring, this begs the question… which finger would a man wear his engagement ring on?
This is first and foremost a cultural thing. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. In some cultures the engagement ring is worn on the left hand's fourth finger, later to be replaced by (or to become) the wedding band. In other cultures, the engagement ring is worn on the right hand's fourth finger, and the wedding ring is then worn on the left hand.
Today, we live in a melting pot of different cultures and customs. They are so intertwined that whether a man wears an engagement ring or a promise ring is really a personal choice. There is no wrong or right answer. Do men wear engagement rings? Yes. Do they have to? No. And if you choose to wear one, it's up to you how you want to flaunt it.
At present, a man wearing an engagement ring is a small but growing trend. And don’t let the added cost of a men’s wedding ring deter you from buying one in the first place. Before you discard the idea completely, keep in mind that until that famous picture of Humphrey Bogart (a well-known actor in the 1940's) wearing a wedding ring, men weren't interested in wedding bands, either.
Another popular trend right now is men wearing promise rings. While this may be new in tradition, the meaning of a promise ring signifies commitment and love. Whether you get matching promise rings or the man gets one for his engagement, this piece of jewelry is a great way for the two of you to celebrate your marriage.
When you look at it logically, an engagement ring is just a small symbol of commitment and devotion. In an ideal world, men and women should be equally committed to making their relationship work. That includes equally willing to wear an engagement ring that declares their intentions to be married to the world. Besides, when a man is about to be a husband, professing to be madly in love with the girl he is about to marry, doesn’t it make perfect sense?
It's a way for both you and your wife-to-be to shout from the rooftops, "Eat your heart out. I'm taken.”
Getting ready to buy a men's wedding ring? Need an extra hand choosing the perfect eternity band for your future woman? Want to show your commitment with his and hers wedding bands? The experts at Modern Gents are here to help. We offer a large selection of wedding ring styles at affordable prices that are perfect for any couple. Whether you choose a traditional band or a unique ring with an elaborate design, we are sure you'll be able to find exactly what you're looking for.