Honestly, giving Bug the ring isn't totally connected to our decision to get married. We were already committed - we lived together, she had graduated from college and chosen to take a job in the area (and continue living with me, even though her job was an hour and a half away). There were already some serious choices made there.
We decided to get married gradually. I'm skeptical of lasting love, and I'm not quick to trust, so it felt better to make a decision after serious conversations than it would have to be asked such a huge question without having time to process. So the rings, really, were a formality. It was a way for other people to see that it's not a temporary relationship. And they're shiny and fun.