Rings are one of the oldest tokens of love. Dating back to Ancient Rome, couples would wear rings symbolizing life and eternity. Today, there are four different rings: the promise ring, engagement ring, and the wedding ring.
A promise ring symbolizes commitment. It is a sign that the wearers are serious about each other but not ready to be engaged to be married. Promise rings are often given by someone to the one he or she loves after the two of them have declared their mutual feelings for one another. They exchange promise rings as a commitment to stay true to their love. Promise rings may also signify that the couple has agreed to marry eventually. On that note, a promise ring can act as a temporary engagement ring if the couple cannot afford a proper engagement ring at the moment.
While promise rings can convey the intent to marry sometime in the future, engagement rings signify marriage as being just a heartbeat away. Engagement rings symbolize the love, devotion, and loyalty the couple has for one another. The Ancient Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians were the first to use symbolic betrothal rings. Betrothal rings symbolized a woman's connection to her future husband; this connection was more of a business proposition than a romantic union. For the Romans, the rings were made of iron to symbolize strength and permanence. The Greeks wore the ring on the fourth finger of the left hand, where the vein of love was supposed to be located, a tradition which continues to this day.
Today, couples often choose engagement rings that have personal symbolism. Some choose antique rings which are family heirlooms and carry with them family traditions. Others choose designer engagement rings which can be personalized depending on the couples’ tastes. Still others choose gems other than the traditional diamond, such as the couples’ birthstones.
The wedding ring is the ultimate symbol of a couple’s love to one another. It is the symbol of the couple's never-ending love for one another. And like the engagement rings, it is worn on the fourth finger of the left hand where it was once believed the love vein that runs directly to the heart is located.
As rings are circular, wedding rings symbolize the never-ending flow of love. Represented by a circle where there is no start and end, the couple's love is said to be eternal. Their love for one another moves around in a circle, for better and for worse. The ring unites the married couple through all of their experiences in married life.
In the end, the promise ring, engagement ring and wedding rings are not that different from one another. Each symbolize a certain aspect of the couple’s relationship. Furthermore, they highlight the most important thing in a couple’s relationship – the wearers’ commitment to one another.