I try my best not to be difficult or to cause a fuss. Because of this, neither my wife nor my daughter takes much delight in gift shopping for me. I’m either very practical or entirely random. I’ve been perfectly happy to ask for a pair of pants to replace an identical older pair or to upgrade some piece of outdoor gear. This month, in celebration of our first date, a week before Valentine’s Day, my wife “surprise” gifted me with a new wedding ring.
It was a surprise because it was part of a longer-drawn-out process to find a good gift for my December birthday or a gift for the Christmas holiday season. I was predictably unhelpful. But after 20 years of marriage, this year I tried to be different.
Deciding on a ring
It’s been years since I wore a wedding ring. I still remember as a newlywed how it felt on my finger. I felt it most when I put my hand on my car’s steering wheel or when I washed my hands. It was an odd sensation, but one that I welcomed. As an outward sign, it also changed how people saw me or interacted with me. I may have looked young for my age, but I was definitely a happily married man.
I outgrew my wedding ring somewhere along the way before I entered theology school. Many a religious or diocesan priest would come up to me after class and ask me if I had considered becoming a priest. I had. But I was happily married now. The lack of a ring threw them off.
I think for many people my age, wedding rings in many social circles stopped being such immediate signs of one’s marital status. There are lots of practical reasons why someone who is married might not wear one. My father, happily married, worked as a surgeon. A ring was just another thing to take off and possibly lose every time he went to work and scrubbed up. Lots of other occupations probably have similar reasons.
Many people have also turned to more practical matters. For example, couples no longer register for crystal and china. They opt instead for everyday dishes or colorful plastic patterns. Some people may rather put that kind of money toward a car or may have other financial debts or plans. For us, there was always something else (to my mind) that came before replacing or resizing my ring.
After years of being without a ring for maybe half my married life, I was pleasantly surprised to be shopping for one. After years of my wife or daughter rolling their eyes in agony over what to get me, when they finally suggested getting me a new wedding ring, it felt right.
Engraved on the inside of our original wedding rings are the answers to our wedding vows: Are you? Will you? Forever? My new ring is made of tungsten steel. It’s of much harder stock than what we originally pledged to each other in gold. So it’s difficult to engrave the words into its surface. But I hope the outward sign of my marriage continues to be made visible to the world, but especially to my wife and to my daughter to witness: I am. I will. Always.
What does your wedding ring (or lack of one) say about your marriage? How is it an outward sign of all that has come to pass?
God of no beginning and no end,
We are grateful to be blessed by your gift of Eternity
To be surrounded by unity and love.
Copyright 2019 Jay Cuasay