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On Wearing A Ring

Wearing a RingEditor’s Note: This is a guest post from one of my favorite online writers, Ali Hale.  And no, the words “jewellry” and “realised” are not misspelled.  Ali is in England, and apparently this is how these words are spelled in “real” English. :)

I’m not really a jewellery person. I’m never sure what to buy, and I always convince myself I don’t need it.

My fiancé, though, has great taste in jewellery. He’s given me various pieces over the five years since we met. My favourites are a beautiful necklace with delicate butterflies on it, which was a 21st birthday gift… and my engagement ring.

We got engaged last November. For the first month or two, it felt weird to wear a ring. I hardly ever put on jewellery unless I’m going out in the evenings, and I’ve never had any rings. Every so often – perhaps putting on gloves, or preparing to do the dishes – I’d notice the ring.

And every time, I’d smile. Whenever I was feeling down or upset or gloomy about things, just looking at that ring was a pick-me-up.

Much More Than Just a Ring

Back in those early days of dating, the summer of 2005, I would walk around with a goofy grin of my face. Every time I thought of my boyfriend, the guy I’d admired from afar for months, who I’d thought would never notice me … I just couldn’t help grinning.

When I was a teen, I thought I’d never get married. For one thing, I’d never had a boyfriend. For another, I knew I liked my own company. I’m a bit of an introvert, and I like to do my own thing and be my own person.

I was worried that marriage would mean letting someone get too close. I thought that if I wore a ring, it’d mean I belonged to someone.

It’s not like that, though. When I look at that ring, I don’t feel pressured or somehow subject. I feel loved. I think of my fiancé, and I think of how miraculous it is that I’ve found someone who I trust so deeply and care about so much, and that he wants to spend his entire life with me. Me!

The Ring Belongs

After a few weeks of wearing my ring, I realised that it felt odd whenever it was off my hand. If I woke up and forgot to put it on straight away, my hand felt strange, empty, bereft. If I took the ring off, I didn’t feel quite right until I put it on again.

We’ve been having an up and down few months. He’s had exams; I’ve been trying to grow my business. We’re in the middle of moving house. We’re planning a wedding – we never realised quite how many decisions there’d be to make!

It’s easy to get caught up in the frustrations of the moment. But that ring keeps me grounded. It helps me focus on what’s important – our commitment to one another, our lifetime together.

Question from Dustin for the readers: Do you wear a wedding/engagement ring?  Is it important to you that your spouse wears their ring?

(photo source)

___________________________________

Ali Hale blogs about getting more from life over on Aliventures, and has a new ebook out, Regain Your Balance. She’s getting married in September.

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About Dustin

Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

Comments

  1. kenneth says:

    I am engaged and its really important to me that she puts on the ring, I i had one (am the guy) ad be putting it on everyday :)

    • I know my fiance likes to see me wearing mine because he knows it makes me happy (in fact, sometimes he’ll even remind me to “look at the ring” if I’m feeling a bit down). :-)

  2. I do wear my ring, and and expect the same from my wife. My reasons are a bit different then Ali’s however. I think its important to wear a ring because of what it means to those around you, those who see it. This isn’t a jealousy thing (although my wife is hot, so I do want all men to know she’s taken), but its more of a letting the world now that I love my wife and that I value our relationship.

  3. Good point, Eric; I hadn’t thought about that aspect of it. One of the things I do like about having a ring is that if I’m out on my own, it’s an easy way to let guys know that it’s not worth bothering. ;-)

  4. Great post, Ali – thanks for joining the Engaged Marriage universe!

    I look at my ring and think of that commitment I made to my wife. If there’s ever a rough day, or a rough patch in our relationship, the symbol reminds me to continue honoring her because that’s what I agreed to do.

    One thing that bothers me is when I see married men who don’t wear their rings. Now, some will make the arguement, “oh, come on, I’m totally devoted to my wife – I don’t need a ring to prove it.” Maybe they don’t need to prove it to themselves, but they could serve their wives by proving it to everyone else. Plus, it can put a little bit of a hedge between a good husband and that slipper slope or temptation.

    • Cheers! That does seem a little sad about men not wearing rings. Yes, of course a ring shouldn’t be “proof” — but it is symbolic, and I think it’s important not to miss that symbolism.

  5. I do think that wearing a weding ring is a beautiful symbol. I love the feeling of unity and the circle that represents our life and love for eachother. I too have had that day were I rushed out of the house without my ring and felt very incomplete the rest of the day. I am not a sentimental gal, but I do like what the wedding ring symbolized about our commitment and our promise of life together!!

  6. I always wear my rings. I took them off during pregnancy, and that was HARD. Even harder was waiting for the weight to go down enough to be able to get them back on my finger! (Embarrassing to admit, I must say.) I totally agree with the feeling OFF without them! I felt like something was missing. Even after several months without the rings, I felt off. One of the things that helped motivate me to lose the baby weight was to be able to wear my rings again. I haven’t taken them off since. (Oh, and we have been married for 11.5 years now, so it’s almost like they’re a PART of me now!)

    • I’ve only noticed since wearing a ring that my hands swell when I get hot, and it does feel odd to take my ring off when it’s not fitting well. And I have to admit too that I’m keen not to gain weight because I’d hate for the ring not to fit.

  7. Wendy R says:

    Neither my husband or I are wearing our rings at this time. My husband works with industrial machinery, so workers are not supposed to wear a ring due to safety issues with losing a finger. We also have a 5 year-old and 2 year-old, which means if he were to leave his ring on a nightstand, they could (and nearly have in the past) drop the ring somewhere in the house, or worse, down a drain or vent. We used to keep it on his keychain, but that was not a good situation in the even he should lose his keys. I wish he could wear his wedding band every day, but I’d rather he had all of his fingers! So, it sits in a designated place where kids can’t get to it, and I try my best to get it out for him to wear for photos, weddings, etc.

    I am not wearing my ring at this time because I’m 27 weeks pregnant with our third. I don’t like not wearing my ring, but my fingers do swell, especially during the summertime, and I don’t want to have it cut off. It’s weird not to wear it at first, and as my belly gets bigger, it is comical if not outright pitiful to see a woman with 2 young boys and one on the way, struggling with them in a grocery store, with no wedding ring on her finger. Oh well, let them stare–the ring means something to me, on my finger or off.

    I love the way my husband’s hand looks with the ring on it, and it’s really nice when he can wear it. I’ll never forget how excited I was when he surprised me with my engagement ring. It is one of many outward ways we can show the world that we are committed to each other.

    • It’s a little sad to read how people react to seeing you without the ring… I personally believe that it’s best to be in a long-term relationship (and ideally married) before having kids, but it’s certainly not something strangers should be looking judgmental about.

      I like your point that what the ring means to YOU is what matters, whether or not it’s on your finger. I used to have a stitched cross which I carried in my pocket, as a reminder to *me* of my Christianity rather than as a symbol worn on display for the world. (Nothing against the latter, I hasten to add, but this felt right for me at the time.) Perhaps it’s a similar thing with rings?

  8. I don’t wear a wedding ring as we’re not married..however I do have a ring he gave me that I wear and I feel a little lost if I don’t wear it. And I’d imagine if we WERE married, it’d be really important to me for both of us to wear it always… after all, it’s supposed to be a symbol of your love and commitment.. if one of you doesn’t wear it, it can make the other question why the heck not?! lol

    C

    • I took my ring off earlier (doing the washing up!) and my fiance noticed and said my hand looked “naked” without it — I know just what he means!

  9. Wearing a wedding ring for me is very important. I rarely ever take it off. I actually can’t even remember the last time I have taken it off. It may be because of what the ring represents (which is my vows). It bothers me that some married men hide or remove their wedding bands depending on where they are going. They don’t want the beautiful women around to know they are unavailable. I feel just the complete opposite. Whenever I am somewhere and a woman is vying for my attention from a distance, I do something obvious to flash my ring to let her know I’m not available.

    I also like that my wife wears her ring. She is a gorgeous woman and she is frequently approached by men. She says having the ring makes it easy for her to end conversation of agressive suitors who ask for her number. “I’m happily married” she says, while flashing the ring. This is able to run them off most times.

    So to the people uncomfortable with the idea of a ring, it’s just an external representation of an internal decision you’ve already made, which is sold out commitment to your spouse. Be proud to wear it!

    • I find that disconcerting too, David; I can’t think of any situation where I’d want to hide my engaged (and soon married) status. And I can definitely see how your wife must feel reassured by having a simple way to say — and prove — that she’s already married.

  10. bentwingedbird says:

    I’ve been married for almost 9 years (next month). I never take my ring off – I do everything with it on. As my daughter said last summer, I’ll probably die with it on (hopefully not anytime soon, however :) ).

    I loved seeing my wife with her ring on, but she hasn’t worn it in over 2 years (that I’m aware of). I’d be thrilled to see her wear it again – but I’d be even more thrilled to have her return, ring or no ring.

    I don’t understand why men take it off (unless it’s for safety-related things, like above). I view it as a “badge of honor” sort of thing….that or indication to the world that I was blessed enough (at least at one time) to have a woman call me her husband.

    Are they essential? To me they are. Maybe I’m just old-fashioned :)

    Tim

  11. Since Ali wrote this post, I’ll take the role of a reader.

    First of all, this site is so awesome! :)

    Now that I got that out of my system, I wanted to share that Bethany and I both feel *very* strongly that our wedding rings are outward signs of our Covenant with each other and with God. They are symbols of our lifelong commitment to each other, and they were blessed during our wedding ceremony. I totally understand the issues (work, weight, etc.) that could prevent someone from wearing their ring, but barring those circumstances, we always wear ours. It’s important to us.

    I also agree with those that said the rings serve not only as an internal symbol to each other but as an external sign to the world that we are married and not available to others. Believe it or not, I don’t exactly have to beat the ladies off with a stick ( :) ), but I do feel it sends the right message when I wear my wedding ring proudly.

    • Do I get to play writer, then?

      Welcome to Engaged Marriage, Dustin! We hope you’ll stick around. Have you found the handy RSS feed yet, so you can get updates straight to…

      Oh, wait. ;-)

      I was at a wedding on Saturday — my eldest cousin and his gorgeous bride — and I was struck by the importance of the moment when the minister blesses the rings. Looking forward to that at our own wedding in a few months… :-)

      • Yes Ali, the site is all yours now. I look forward to your massive guest posting campaign and the huge bump in subscribers! ;)

  12. i’m not a jewelry person either. sometimes i’ve been given jewelry, and i wear it for a while, and then oneday, i’ll forget to put it on, and it seems to stay off.
    I don’t know if i’m still used to having a ring on my hand, but i know that it feels odd to not have it on my hand either. I used to always say that I didn’t want an engagement ring, but then I got worried that no one would believe I was engaged without a ring. i felt really torn over whether i should have one. But my husband got my the perfect ring. Its everything I could have wanted. Not a traditional engagement ring by most people’s standards. Its simple, affordable and beautiful. I didn’t want diamonds, so he had got me sapphires. His mother was appalled at his choice, but i love it. Its such a great reminder of how he thinks of me and how well he knows me.
    I’ve really surprised myself at how attached I have got to our rings

    his wedding ring is a bit tacky. Its black tungsten, and engraved with elvish. I found it on ebay, and sent him the link as a joke, and he loved it. I wasn’t too keen on it at first, but i ended up getting it, because I know that whenever he looks at it, he’ll be able to think just how awesome i am.

    • Skeemer118 says:

      Hi Mary – I’ve also learned the hard way not to introduce things to my hubby as a joke, lol. Especially baby names! :)

    • That sounds gorgeous! I think sapphires are a lovely choice (and it’s a bit sad to hear that his mother reacted like that … surely what matters is that *you* like the ring?)

      His sounds awesome! :-D And probably fits who he is? I didn’t get my fiance an engagement ring because I knew that he wasn’t too sure about the idea of men wearing engagement rings … I got him a computer instead. (It was a surprise gift, and SO worth it!) :-)

  13. Like the author, I am not a jewelry girl. As a matter of fact, when my husband proposed to me and said we would go to look for a ring, I told him I didn’t really need one. I am very practical and knew we could put the money to better use. (we were in the process of buying a home) We married, bought lovely, but modest rings and we were happy. This past Christmas he surprised me with a “late” engagement ring. It is lovely and when I wearing it smile as I know how much it means to him to have given it to me. Do I think rings are necessary? Not really. Ring or no ring, I am married. I know it and don’t feel the need to wear a ring to remind me. I love my husband and would never do a thing to jeopardize his trust in me or compromise our marriage.

    Another great post!

    • I kept telling my chap “Don’t get me anything expensive, I don’t even need a ring”, because money was tight for us too (he was a full time student at the time). But he did anyway. And I guess I’m glad he did ;-) but I do agree with you that being practical and sensible about money is a GREAT foundation for marriage.

  14. Skeemer118 says:

    Though I don’t consider myself materialistic, I truly adore my engagement ring & wedding band. When I look at my ring, it makes me know that my husband believes I’m worth it. I’m worth his investment of time, effort, planning, & money to put this ring on my finger. We have a very happy marriage but we keep each other laughing too. :) My husband engraved in my wedding band, “Ridiculous Love”, because he says he loves me so much it’s ridiculous! HAHA! My ring & my hubby are one of a kind. Great post!

    • Thanks! I don’t think that’s materialistic at all, it’s about everything the ring means to you — and most importantly, about the person who gave it to you. :-)

  15. I am a jewelry girl, but even if I weren’t, I would wear my wedding ring because I do think it’s a public statement that I’m committed to my husband. That said, it’s symbolic of our commitment to each other; it is not the commitment. In other words, if he didn’t want to wear his, I don’t think it would be a huge issue for me. I know that he is committed to me. And if he weren’t, a ring wouldn’t stop him from breaking his vows.

    • I totally understand (and agree) — while the ring itself is important to me too, it’s a *symbol* of the marriage. And you’re right, the ring itself is no guarantee of good behaviour.

  16. What’s the first thing to go when a marriage falls apart? The ring gets removed from one or both partners’ finger/s. It’s extremely important to me, in my marriage, and I rarely, if ever remove mine, nor does my wife. It’s the symbol of commitment and permanence.

  17. Bev and I wear our wedding rings to symbolize the endless promise of a hole and valuable commitment. As others have mentioned, it is also a reminder to me, my wife and those around that we are commited to our relationship for the long haul, til death do we part. It is an outward symbol of a sacred covenant with MyLady Bev, and My LORD Jesus that our marriage will not be broken ever, under any circumstances.

  18. What an excellent topic and thoughtful discussion. With the exception of safety reasons each spouse should wear their rings as a symbol of their commitment to each other, God and their community.

    It seems to me more men wear rings than they did when I was younger which is great. Do you think this is true?

  19. I recently was astounded to read this news article: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE65K3YV20100621 It’s sort of reverse symbolism to this topic. My husband & I would never dream of taking off our rings. Actually my huband can’t get his off even if he wanted to! He was in a play a short time ago and taped it over so it couldn’t be seen, but he didn’t take it off.

  20. Christine says:

    I never said anything to my now-husband about rings when we were dating because it never occurred to me that he’d get one. The one he ended up getting me is a gorgeous ring. He has since acknowledged that yes, he got it to look nice, not to be wearable for every day. It has a HUGE pink sapphire/ruby (depends on the light) in it and *wince* 21 points of diamonds. (He made a good point though – diamonds are fine for accents, they aren’t actually as busy as normal).

    We ended up having a discussion about it at one point, because I ended up having to not wear it for a while when it was just driving me crazy. (Do you have any idea how much damage a > 1 ct stone can do to the person who’s wearing it?) He hadn’t realised that I had been wearing it almost continuously before that, because I’d run to his office (on campus) between classes, and hit the washroom on my way. Having just washed my hands, of course I wasn’t wearing the ring (it’s not that I forgot to put it back on, it’s that I need to wait until my hands are completely dry because I have sensitive skin). Fortunately I got a say in the wedding band, and so I don’t have to wear gems on a daily basis anymore.

    And frankly, if it wasn’t for the fact that engagement rings are so temporary I might have been one of the spoiled women who threw a fit over the ring, because the problem with that tradition is that it really does result in me wearing jewellery every day. And it’s just expected that as soon as I get off work I’ll put it back on. (Or keep it on at work if I’m not going on the shop floor). The emotional aspects of the ring are nice, but it would be nicer to get that without having to wear jewellery, especially fancy jewellery like my ring was. Or having a shorter engagement period, so I didn’t get as sick of wearing a big fancy stone all the time.

  21. The symbolism of the ring – being united as one and love unending – is very important to me.

    Unfortunately what do you when you lose a beloved spouse to something other than death?

    How long do you keep wearing the ring?

    The answer I seek now is – when you do take it off, how long before you stop feeling naked without it? how long does it take before seeing you naked finger stops being a painful sight?

    I wanted to believe my now ex husband when he said he “lost” his wedding ring. He still swears to this day he genuinely lost it – but so many other things he “lost” turned up in pawn brokers and, once caught, he admitted to pawning them for drugs. The truth is, if the main mistress who he was “engaged” to long before we seperated (while telling me he was very happy married and loved me and wanted to try for another child) didn’t keep on insisting he take it off around her, it wouldn’t have been off his finger to lose (if I even believed that’s what actually happened to it).

    It’s been coming up to three years now since I took the ring off – only because he’d been “engaged” twice and was on to living with a second woman he’d had a long term affair with during our marriage (because the first he moved in with kicked him out when a younger man with a steady job came along). Even then, I still wore my ring on a chain around my neck for some time, hoping and praying he’d get off the drugs, get help for his mental illness and violence and stop sleeping with every woman and man he could.

    But love and faithfulness cannot save a man hell bent on destroying his life and in a country with no fault divorce laws, there is nothing a wife can do to try and save a beloved husband once he asks for a divorce.

    I still cannot bear to part with my wedding ring (I never would the engagement ring as it’s an heirloom from my great grandmother). I sometimes think I will give it to my daughter when she is grown up, so she can have a symbol that I loved her father will all my heart even if he never truly loved either of us, but the way he treats her, I don’t think she’ll even want anything that reminds her of him.

    But how long til the ache goes away? how long til the finger stops feeling naked? how long til the grief fades?

  22. I’ll relate a few thoughts to consider. There was a time in our marriage (almost 19 years now) that I didn’t wear my ring very often. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my wife, or was unfaithful, but more out of my frustration at the state of our marriage at that time. Eventually I decided that wearing my right mattered and that regardless of how tough things were I was going to wear it and I have to this day. Unfortunately things still are very tough for us, and over the past few years my wife has quit wearing both the real wedding ring I gave her and also the less obtrusive, simple replacement band she bought for herself. I brought my concern about this up to her one day a couple of years ago during a disagreement, and she said something like “It’s just a symbol, we’re still married”. She missed her own point that day. The point is that your ring is a symbol, a very important one. Yes, it’s a symbol to the world that you’re married, but it’s also a symbol to yourself of your commitment to your marriage. No matter what has been said, no matter what has been done, resolve to wear your ring every day. Every. Single. Day.

  23. Eleutheros says:

    I thnk you might like this painting by John William Godward titled ‘The Betrothed’. It hangs, 36×24, in our bedroom as a testament of the power that ring has to inspire Eros.

    http://www.bestpriceart.com/popup/?imagename=cgfa_godward3.jpg

  24. This iis the right website for anyone who wishes to find out about
    this topic. You understand a whole lot its almost hard to argue with you (not
    that I personally will need to…HaHa). You certainly put a brand new spin on a subject which has been written about for ages.
    Excellent stuff, just excellent!

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