In the traditional movie, the man buys the ring and springs it on the woman in a romantic setting, over dinner in a fancy restaurant perhaps.  And then, to go along with that, he springs the question, “Will you marry me?”  Maybe even on bended knee.  That’s the classic movie.  But is that the best movie for today?

Yes, the person receiving the ring in such manner will probably love the surprise and the thought behind it.  After all, it’s a “gift from the heart.”  How can you not like that?  There may be some downsides to this way of doing things, however.  One is that the recipient of the ring may not like the style so much.  There’s not much you can say when the ring was given to you like that.  So the ring will be accepted and worn, but maybe not with such great joy but rather with just acceptance.

There are other ways giving the ring like that might not be appropriate.  A young woman just today told me that her man surprised her with a prong-set diamond ring. She likes the ring but notices that the prongs tend to scratch.  She’s going to be a therapeutic masseuse and is afraid the ring may scratch her clients.  She supposes that she will be taking the ring off when she does that work, but it’s going to be a constant problem.  Her man probably didn’t consider that aspect when he chose the ring, but now what’s done is done.  That’s an example of the kind of unforeseen thing that can happen.

Another potential issue might arise when the giver of the surprise ring has either spent too much or too little on the ring, in the opinion of the recipient.  This couple is about to merge their finances, and if one person unilaterally incurs a large expenditure, the other is going to be affected in a way they might not like.  Or, on the other hand, if the ring is too inexpensive, the wearer might not like the way it projects a poor image.

One way to deal with these issues is to have a joint conversation about the style and cost of the ring so that the general outline is defined, and then have the giver buy the ring and surprise the other with it.  As a general rule, the more that you can may explicit and yet retain the element of surprise, the better.  Remeber, a marriage is a partnership.  Talk to your partner.