16 July 2021, by Nicholas Quek

Discussing Diamonds With The Girlfriend

I would like to preface this blog post by saying that my girlfriend and I are not anywhere near marriage, just in case either of our parents read this blog and gets overly excited. But it has been something that we’ve talked about before, especially since I’ve graduated from university and am moving into the workforce.

Unfortunately, marriage is typically an expensive matter, and planning is always prudent. This is why we started beefing up our financial literacy, as you can see below:

We figured we should practice our math to prepare for future financial planning.

Jokes aside, money is a real concern for both of us, as it is for most couples looking to marry. The total cost of a wedding can be upwards of $20,000 if you decide to hold a banquet (though the pandemic might see to that). Of course, that depends on how big a wedding you want to have. We still haven’t settled on whether we’d like a big or small wedding; I hate big parties but my girlfriend loves them.

But what we have agreed on is that I will be proposing with a ring (couples should be free to propose without one if they don’t want to!). And it was through conversations with her and some of my friends who are thinking of marriage that I was introduced to the difference between natural and lab-grown diamonds. As suggested by their namesake, natural diamonds occur in nature and are mined before being cut into a ring, while lab-grown diamonds are grown in a lab (duh!). Lab-grown diamonds tend to be much cheaper than their natural counterparts, and are exempt from the ethical and environmental concerns that are typically associated with their natural cousins.

When I first heard about it, I rejoiced! Diamonds, but cheaper? Who wouldn’t want that! But as my friends continued to relate their experiences to me, I realised that many women still prefer a natural diamond! Even if it costs 1.5 to 2 times more for the same size. Needless to say, I didn’t bother asking about whether their partners would be ok with a diamond simulant, like cubic zirconia.

I’m bringing up ring discussions because this is the first time that the financial concerns of marriage really hit me. For my whole life, I’ve been dependent on my parents for financial stability. But now, I’m looking to build a life, a family apart from them.

I don’t think it’s wrong at all to want an expensive ring – everyone has different means and expectations. But I think that’s precisely the point I want to make, that everyone is different! The point is less about how much the ring costs, and more about how you go about making that decision.

The reality for my girlfriend and me is that we don’t have a lot of money, and so we established pretty early on that we don’t want to spend a lot of money on the rings. Instead, we want to invest in things like our house, which we believe is a better long-term investment than a diamond ring. Housing is SO EXPENSIVE (so thank goodness for grants and subsidies from the government!).

So is the zoo to be honest. Don’t remember a ticket costing 30 bucks!!!

But that’s our decision, and definitely not something I would impose on another couple. At the end of the day, it’s you and your partner who is getting married, not your friends, or even your family – certainly not the rest of society. Hence, I do think that it’s the both of you who should decide together what kind of ring to get! Whether it’s cheap or expensive (or whether there’s even a ring at all!), what’s important is that the both of you make a decision that works best for your marriage.

I do feel quite ridiculous dishing out marriage advice 9 months into my first dating relationship; any married couple reading this has every right to laugh at me. But I think most of them would agree that the success of a marriage has little to do with how much the engagement ring costs.

I’ve heard that marriage is harder to figure out than a front-facing camera. It does concern me.

 

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