I once had this chat with a male friend on marriage proposals and his statement to me was shocking because I never thought of it in that light, at least not for Nigerians born in Nigeria and living in Nigeria who have not travelled outside the shores of the country and have attached too much importance on traditional values. His statement was simple as he said ‘any man who does not propose to a lady with a ring in this day and age is not serious about marrying that lady’. Now, I took it within the Nigerian context, because as we all know, the idea of engagement ring sounds western.
However, the origin and history of engagement ring poked my curiosity and for days I couldn’t stop thinking about the nagging question that tucked my every being. ‘’Is an engagement ring a necessary tool for marriage proposals for Nigerians living in Nigeria in the 21st century’’ I know most people might have differing answers with basic reasons. But first, it is wise to take a peek at the origin and history of engagement rings. Although an engagement ring has been generally described as a ring connoting that the wearer is engaged to be married particularly in western cultures, it must be emphasized here that the history of engagement ring began in Ancient Egypt and was used to symbolize a never-ending circle. It gradually moved to the West as the Romans saw it as a symbol for ownership instead of love. Subsequently in Europe engagement rings were given as a pledge of love and fidelity and especially for the Romans it was used as a gift for betrothal and did not necessarily imply marriage.
Presently, in the 21st century in Nigeria a lot of factors come to play when a man intends to propose marriage to a woman and I believe that these factors to a large extent affects the nature of proposal a woman would get. Factors ranging from the ethnic group of the woman in question; the character of the woman; the family background of the woman; the finances of the man; his status in the society; his religion, his responsibility within his immediate and his extended family to mention a few. For instance, when a man is not financially stable and just wants to marry because he thinks all his mates are married or because he has a set target on when to marry he may not necessarily be patient enough to propose with a ring. Guys, am I right?
I know most ladies grew up with the notion of romance which was reinforced by Mills and Booms novels and American romantic movies as well. Realizing that the prince charming of the movies/novels do not necessarily exist in real life they try to create one out of the man they are with at that point in time. Sometimes, they perceive the proposal of marriage with an engagement ring as ‘classy’ and they go about making a fuss about it and recounting his proposal. However, not all ladies have the opportunity to feel or recount such fairy tale like stories and this could be as a result of numerous reasons such as religion, lack of initiative on behalf of the man because he was never exposed to romantic movies or he simply does not believe in it. In such circumstances, the women in question should not feel bad because the essence of engagement ring is not more important than the relationship you share with that man you call your own. Engagement rings can be like a breath of fresh air in terms of marriage proposals which comes in different forms in Nigeria and which most unscrupulous men use in deceiving poor unsuspecting ladies out there, but it is not a must have because the man can always give it to the lady after the marriage proposal and in certain circumstances both can shop for it. I believe the most important thing in a marriage proposal is the intention and the ability to keep that fire of love burning for a life time. However, guys always try to buy an engagement ring while proposing; it does put a smile on her face, gives her that feeling of being special and makes her radiate with joy. Do you think an engagement ring is a necessity for a marriage proposal?