Bless these rings

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"Bless these rings" by Jay Cuasay (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Jay Cuasay. All rights reserved.

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.

Inward Reality

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.

"Bless these rings" by Jay Cuasay (CatholicMom.com)

Copyright 2019 Jay Cuasay. All rights reserved.

Reflection:

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?

Prayer:

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

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About Author

Jay Cuasay is a freelance writer on religion, interfaith relations and culture. A post-Vatican II Catholic father with a Jewish spouse, he is deeply influenced by Christian mysticism and Zen Buddhism. He was a regular columnist on Catholicism for examiner.com and a moderator and contributor to several groups on LinkedIn. His LTEs on film and Jewish Catholic relations have been published in America and Commonweal. He currently ministers to English and Spanish families at a Franciscan parish. He can be reached at TribePlatypus.com.

1 Comment

  1. Ramon S. Cuasay on

    Rings, what are they for? What are they a sign of? Round, they signify continuity, no beginning and no end, a ceaselessness… eternity. And a sign, what is it? It is a symbol, a meaning, a representation.. made up, hoped for. When associated with marriage then, the rings signify commitment, affiliation, a process that once begun, is always on going. But when we reflect on sign, what might come to the Christian mind, is the Lord saying, “A wicked and adulterous generation demands a sign, but no sign will be given it…” That takes the reflection of sign to other spheres but the rings and what they are a sign of in marriage refocuses us to eternity and the verities. Are we wicked when we demand a sign in marriage? And the Lord’s own conclusion to the statement above, that “no sign will be given it but the sign of Jonah…” How do we relate that to rings and signs and marriage? Are we not talking about passion, death and resurrection? Romance has its crests and troughs, its ups and downs, and its own going cycle, and how, even if we wash away our wickedness, we might still in the end, for we remain hopelessly, and incorrigibly human, we might still demand for a sign…RSC.#

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