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a guide for

Engagement

WRITTEN BY

The Team

CHAPTER 1

INTRO

Code of Conduct

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Love - a concept that has puzzled man for thousands of years. It has been a cause for some of the finest and most horrible moments in our history. It has been an inspiration for a variety of poems, books, songs and films; and according to many, love is also the meaning of life. It has also been symbolised in historical traditions.

In this text, we will go through some codes of conduct relating to the engagement ring. Maybe you are thinking about which finger the ring should sit on and if a woman may ask another person's hand in a future marriage. Or maybe you are curious about the history of the engagement.


CHAPTER 2

A BRIEF HISTORY

A brief history

The engagement ring has traditionally been a symbol of a future marriage. Today, however, the attitude has changed, and instead symbolizes that a couple belongs with one another, and is a symbolic declaration of love.

If we go back to the 16th century, then the engagement, or the “espousal or betrothal” as it was then called, was a legally binding act. Then it was common to place the ring on the left ring finger, and the placement was then legislated in the 17th century.

The traditional purpose of an engagement was to prepare the couple for a future marriage. It was then the man who would propose - something which is not necessarily required today. The marriage could then take place within 3 months or up to a year thereafter. Today, it can take several years to differentiate between engagement and marriage; and some couples do not marry at all, but are content with being engaged.

Traditionally if the woman was underaged at the time of the engagement, the father of the woman’s approval was necessary. It is from there the phrase “ask for her hand in marriage“ comes from. If the father of the woman found the man approvable, then, according to tradition, a handshake was carried out, and thereafter the man had the right to ask the woman if she wanted to marry him.

To express such an act the man would (and still does today) go “down on one knee”. This comes from a historically symbolic gesture, when a warrior displayed inferiority and truce. If the woman accepted his hand in marriage, the man would often give her a fair and beautiful ring, which was a symbol of faithfulness.


CHAPTER 3

COMMON QUESTIONS

Why put the engagement ring on the left ring finger?

There are several theories today on why we put the ring on the "ring finger". One theory was that there was a blood vessel that ran from the ring finger all the way to the heart. Another is that, since most are right handed, it wears less on the ring.

What codes of conduct apply to engagement today?

Today, many of the traditional "rules" about the engagement have been changed, and one is free to choose the ceremony, as well as the time and the place. There are no longer any requirements for formalities nor any binding legal texts.

Traditionally, the man would always propose to the woman. Today women are just as likely to propose, and this is getting more and more common. As a symbol of the promise of getting married in the future, both women and men wear a ring. The rings might vary in design, and is based upon personal preferences. The most common are smooth gold rings, or gemstone rings (usually diamonds for the woman). Diamonds are the ring of engagement as it is a hard stone that symbolizes duration and endurance. The size of the diamond was also traditionally a symbol of the man's financial status.

Today it is also common with hidden or secret engagements, where the act is not made as public. Today, an engagement is no longer just a statutory institution, but more a sign that a couple is together.

Today, love sets the boundaries for what an engagement can look like.

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