Monday, 12 May 2014

"With This Ring..."

Wedding Ring  noun  a ring of gold, platinum, or silver, given by one partner to the other during marriage.

Traditionally, wedding rings shared between the bride and groom on their wedding represent their never-ending love. Rings are worn on the third finger in the belief that the vein there runs directly into the heart.

The rings symbolize eternity, where there is no beginning, no end. It is supposed to mean that love moves in an endless circle for better or worse, and the couple are united through good times and bad. Much like the vows taken, “With this ring I thee wed….”

I was married and even though I am now divorced, I believe in the meaning of marriage, of two people loving each other and sharing a lifetime together. And I respect the ring as a symbol of it.

I had a beautiful engagement ring with a solitaire diamond, and a plain wedding band. My work being what it was, I only wore the band when I was on duty, as the raised stone often caught on things. Years later, I got a wide gold band that I thought looked better alone.

I was out one day and noticed a woman who had rings on every finger, not unusual maybe, but this included the left hand, and included her wedding rings. I don’t know why I was so…offended? I don’t know what it was exactly, or why, but it bothered me. I’m probably being old fashioned, but given the meaning of those rings, I would never have worn another ring on that hand. I guess, in a silly way, the rings and that hand represented my dedication to my marriage, and I would never have cheapened it by wearing costume jewellery on the same hand. That’s what the other hand is for. Now, an acceptable deviation from that would be to wear a ring on the middle finger that also represented the marriage, something like an eternity ring given to celebrate an anniversary.

I know, I know, I have some strange ideas. Does it make me sound rigid and opinionated? That’s alright; we’re all entitled to our opinion.

This episode made me look at women and their rings more closely. I have a friend, widowed for more than 20 years, and she wears a mixture of ‘good’ and costume rings. A neighbour has been a widow for 5 years, and still wears her wedding rings. We got into a conversation about this and her thoughts were interesting. At her age, over 65, she was not interested in a relationship or in ever getting married again. In her mind she was still married, was still her late husband’s wife.

She told me of another woman who took off her wedding rings, after a decent interval of grieving, because she wanted men to know she was available, wanted a man in her life, and wanted to be married again.

We look at a person’s left hand to see if they are married, though women are more consistent than men in wearing a wedding band. I read it all the time in books, where a man is attracted to a woman and checks out her hand to see if she’s available. Then there’s the cliché tan line on a man’s ring finger, indicating an attempt to hide his marital status, for an extramarital dalliance maybe?

A ring doesn’t guarantee the wearer a true, forever kind of love, nor does not wearing a ring lessen a couple’s commitment to each other. I like the idea of wearing a ring that boldly states you are connected to another person. There’s a comfort in the simple stroke of the thumb over that ring, or the constancy of seeing it on your finger that reminds you that you are not alone.



1 comment:

Blogger's Brother said...

When I was about to get married my future wife asked me if I would wear a wedding band. I had never worn a ring before, this would be my first. I said I would, something like the simple wedding band our father wore. He never wore any other jewellery, just that ring. So that's what I got and have worn it for almost 38 years!

When my father-in-law passed away my mother-in-law gave me his ring, a beautiful pale blue stone in a manly gold ring. I was honoured to wear it and it was worn on my right hand for 25 years.

I always told my nephew that I was just keeping the ring until he was ready, it was his grandfather's ring and I thought that someday he should have it. I gave it to him a little over a year ago and look for it every time I see him. I still can see the marks on the finger where I wore it.

Personally, I don't think anyone wears it the way Henry did, but I think it looked pretty good on my hand and I'll admit, I miss it.