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What is the Significance of a Wedding Band?

Throughout history, the ring has been used to symbolize the bond of marriage. Although it wasn’t until the mid-20th century that both men and women started wearing rings (before that it was only women), they have long been used to show that a person is no longer on the market (so to speak). But there are actually quite a few points of significance concerning the giving and receiving of wedding bands. Here’s a little rundown of what that ring on your finger really means.

Historically speaking, there were certain monetary considerations tied up in marriages. Women generally had to be given over into marriage with a dowry (a sum of money or goods like livestock). This was to counter the increased expenditures of her new husband due to having another mouth to feed (or several, once children started to be born), but it was also to give the couple a fresh start in life. In addition, a woman came with their own contributions, mainly in the form of a hope chest which she would have filled with needlework and other valuables from the time she was a child. Interestingly, the ring was not only given as a symbol that a woman was no longer available for courtship, but also as an item of value that could one day be added to a daughter’s dowry to make her more desirable.

But that was just business. These days, the ring is more a symbol of love than wealth (although wedding bands are made from precious metals, giving them inherent monetary value). During WWII, men and women began exchanging rings, probably so that soldiers going off to war would have something to remind them of their love awaiting their return. Of course, the jewelry industry probably supported this move, although there is no evidence that they were responsible for starting it.

Finally, there is the unbroken circle to consider. Even ancient cultures considered a circle to be symbolic of eternity and strength, both aspects of a strong marriage. And while the wedding band did not necessarily stem from religion, many religious ceremonies now include wedding bands simply because the circle holds special significance within their dogma. For the happy couple exchanging rings, these metal bands can be considered to signify commitment, longevity, prosperity, and any number of other positive influences on the relationship. In truth, the value of a wedding band has a lot more to do with what the individual endows it with, rather than what history and culture have to say on the matter.

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Engagement Ring Symbolism

You’re probably aware of the fact that an engagement ring is a symbol of the willingness to commit to spending your life with the person you give it to. It is a material manifestation of the love and devotion you feel for that special lady in your life; in short, it’s a promise in the form of a glittery gift. But it can also denote wealth and status for the woman wearing it, as well as her personal style. And originally, the engagement ring may have come into the marriage from the bride’s family, as part of her dowry rather than a gift from her betrothed (and it doubled as her wedding band in most cases, especially since the groom didn’t necessarily sport a ring). But an engagement ring is so much more than the sum of its parts. When you deconstruct it and look at the individual pieces, you’ll see that they have their own inherent symbolism.

Let’s start with the band, which is most often in the shape of a circle (yeah, there are some weirdo ones out there that are square, hexagonal, octagonal, or even triangular, but they don’t tend to fit very well). The circle is indeed functional, fitting well on the finger, but it also carries a heavy symbolism. It has been used to indicate eternity, perfection, and completion (as in the perfect and everlasting love that is supposed to result from marital union). But the material the band is made from may also have significance. The metal used will not only speak to a certain era (since trends change) but also the value of the piece. Silver is relatively inexpensive while gold and white gold cost more. And platinum, which is the most expensive, is also the toughest, withstanding both tarnish and damage for the most part.

Then there is the stone used in the ring. Most commonly it is a diamond (or multiple diamonds) and this is not accidental. Not only are diamonds instantly recognizable as holding monetary value (since they are only found in relatively limited supply); they are also the hardest natural substance on Earth, making them virtually indestructible (except for flaws). In fact, most diamonds are cut and polished with tools made from other diamonds. They symbolize longevity and strength, which every marriage can benefit from.

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Top 5 Romantic Films for Valentine’s Day

For the couple in love, romance is always at the forefront. All you see when you walk out the door is the beauty and joy that is in your own heart. You see older couples strolling down the street and imagine yourself in their shoes one day. You see other young couples canoodling and smile knowingly, as if you share a secret that everyone else is missing out on. And of course, the only movie posters that draw your eye are those with a happy couple on the front. If you’re looking for a few flicks to make your Valentine’s Day special and reflect the love you’re feeling, here are some that will fan the flames.

1. Casablanca (1942). When you opt to enjoy one of the greatest love stories of all time, you’ll also get a dose of spy drama with this timeless classic. It’s got a little something for both the ladies and the gents, so don’t think you have to suffer through a sappy chick-flick to get romantic with your movie choice for this lovey-dovey holiday.

2. Say Anything (1989). If you haven’t seen the iconic climax where young-and-in-love Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) holds up the boom box blaring Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” outside Diane Court’s (Ione Skye) window like a modern Cyrano de Bergerac, then you are missing out on one of the most romantic moments in cinematic history. Make this a must-see for Valentine’s Day and your own lady love will be like putty in your hands.

3. Love Actually (2003). Love is messy, as you’ll see in this look at the romances that make up many different lives. Sometimes you end up kissing the prime minister at a children’s play. And sometimes you meet a super-model mom that looks like Claudia Schiffer (schwing!). Then there are times when it turns out the love of your life is your fat manager (who else has been through it all with you?). This film explores the many facets of love in a refreshing and often humorous way.

4. Immortal Beloved (1994). With stunning visual tableaus and the tempestuous music of Beethoven to fuel this romantic drama, you’ll be transported into the world of the virtuoso who couldn’t hear a note he composed and the tortured soul of a man who lost the only woman he ever truly loved. If you thought Gary Oldman ruled as Dracula, just wait until you see this lesser-known portrayal of the life and love of Ludwig van Beethoven.

5. The Notebook (2004). This movie is both poignant and powerful. It explores the lifelong love of two people who are torn apart by circumstance but find their way back to each other again and again.