Commitment Rings Without Marriage: Meaning & Purpose

Sometimes, marriage just isn’t the right option. It could be a matter of finances, practicality, legality, or other circumstances hindering you and your partner from getting married. With that said, a physical vow to acknowledge your current relationship and distinguish it from past relationships would be a special and heartwarming gesture.

Commitment rings represent a couple’s everlasting dedication to one another. It is a non-engagement ring, meaning it does not express an intent to get engaged. Rather, it is a physical gesture to commemorate a couple’s commitment to their relationship.

Besides its meaning and purpose, the etiquette, style and design, and factors to consider when buying a commitment ring are discussed below. Furthermore, other types of non-engagement rings are also explained in terms of their similarities and differences with commitment rings.

What are Commitment Rings?

woman commitment ring

As the name denotes, a commitment ring symbolizes two people’s intention to commit to each other. It represents their lifelong dedication and loyalty to each other.

Commitment rings are a type of non-engagement ring. Simply put, giving your partner a commitment ring does not equate to asking their hand for marriage.

A commitment ring can be given at any point in your relationship. You can exchange commitment rings years before an engagement, sometime after the marriage, or on your golden anniversary. You can even wear a commitment ring without marriage plans.

Not getting married at all, but rather staying engaged for an indefinite amount of time, is called a “forever engagement.” Couples may see marriage as old-fashioned, restrictive, too laborious to plan, or too expensive to carry out. A commitment ring is perfect for these couples; it is a physical manifestation and symbol of their dedication to each other.

Commitment Ring Etiquette

ring woman hand

Given the flexibility in terms of its purpose, you have a lot of freedom in the manner you and your partner can exchange commitment rings.

You can have an elaborate party with the help of your close friends and family. You can go all out with catering, photography, and a special hashtag just for the occasion. Likewise, you can also simply give it to your partner while you are out on a date, having dinner at home, or cuddling in bed.

Similar to a promise ring, a commitment ring does not have to be worn on the ring finger of your left hand. You can wear it on any finger you prefer or even as a pendant on a necklace.

Couples who opt to wear it on the ring finger of their left hand will usually transfer it to their right hand once they are engaged or married. There is a chance that you might have to get the ring resized, as your hands’ sizes typically differ slightly.

Keep in mind that you can also stack your commitment and engagement ring on one hand; however, you may have to be more careful in picking their styles so as not to make them clash.

Commitment Ring Style and Design

holding hands rings

There is no definitive style and design for commitment rings. Some may go for the popular and traditional diamond solitaire style, whereas some may prefer a simple silver band. You can play around with different shapes, colors, and appearances.

An eternity ring consists of a slim band encrusted with small diamonds and is typically given as an anniversary gift for married couples. As the name suggests, an eternity ring is a representation of everlasting love. The appearance and attached symbolism of an eternity ring makes it perfect for a commitment ring.

If you are planning on giving a commitment ring before the engagement or wedding, it is best to choose a simple and low-key design. This ensures that the styles of your rings will complement each other, as opposed to being discordant.

You and your partner may have unique or matching commitment rings. Moreover, you can have your rings engraved with something special to make them more personal and sentimental.

Factors to Consider when Buying a Commitment Ring

silver rings

Commitment rings are meant to be worn for a long time. As such, here are some important factors to consider as you search for the perfect commitment ring:

  1. Comfort
  2. Quality
  3. Wearability

You would want the ring to fit well and snugly on your finger; it should not be too loose or too tight. It should also be durable and made of strong material. Likewise, it should not irritate your skin.

These factors are significant because as mentioned, a commitment ring — without marriage or otherwise — should ideally be worn forever. It should be able to retain good condition despite being used daily.

Additionally, you should also be mindful of your budget. Commitment rings can range from tens to thousands of dollars depending on the material, construction, and retailer of the ring. If you also plan on getting an engagement or wedding ring, then it might be best to go for a more economical commitment ring.

How is it Different from Other Types of Rings?

variety ring design

Along with commitment rings, there are several other types of non-engagement rings.

Promise Rings

Promise rings and commitment rings are very similar, in that they both express a pledge of loyalty and dedication to one another.

However, promise rings are typically given by younger couples. These couples are usually in high school. This implies that marriage is still a distant, often unrealistic, concept for them. Unfortunately, promises made with a promise ring tend to fall through because of time itself.

Conversely, commitment rings are viewed as the grown-up version of promise rings. Couples, usually in their young adulthood, exchange commitment rings to signify a permanent partnership.

Purity Rings

Purity rings are essentially a specific type of promise ring, which are exchanged as a pledge of abstinence. This is particularly common for people in religions wherein premarital sex is frowned upon.

Commitment rings do not necessarily assure abstinence. However, it is up to the couple exchanging the rings to discuss if abstinence would be part of their commitment. Whatever they decide, they must be on the same page. However, as stressed above, wearing commitment rings without marriage plans for the future is also common.

Pre-Engagement Rings

As denoted by the name itself, pre-engagement rings are given before the engagement ring itself. They are different from the rest of the non-engagement rings in that pre-engagement rings are meant to be replaced.

Moreover, there is an explicit intent to get engaged as soon as circumstances allow. Usually, couples will opt for a pre-engagement ring if they cannot afford an engagement ring. In contrast, couples can exchange commitment rings without marriage plans. 

Final Thoughts

There are many reasons why some couples nowadays choose not to get married: financial, logistical, legal, practical, and so on. Instead, they opt for a symbol that can represent their lifelong bond and faithfulness to each other. Exchanging commitment rings is the perfect gesture to celebrate their relationship and to affirm their dedication to one another.