A Sign Of Love, Not A Just A Shiny Trinket
Twenty-two years ago, it was all he could afford.
A small red box was presented. I’ll admit - I knew the question was coming. The ring was lovely: a princess cut diamond set on a gold band. Classic. Timeless.
A few months later, we went together to pick out our wedding bands. We had even less to spend as our careers had yet to take off and we had a future apartment to furnish on our own. Simple gold bands with the smallest of diamonds did the job.
Simple, just like our relationship. We did not yet realize how complicated marriage could be.
To have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
Twenty-two years later, my rings appear to have seen better days.
My diamonds do not shine as they once did. A coating of lotion, soap and other unseemly residues are housed on the surface. There appears to be some sort of fuzz stuck in the base of the setting. The prongs are bent, as are the bands themselves. Scratches have dulled the gold bands, and they may be cutting off the circulation to the rest of the hand as they squeeze a bit tighter than they once did.
Would I trade them in for new models? Not a chance.
My well-worn wedding rings are right in line with my well-worn marriage. My husband and I are not the shiny, new models we once were. Years of stressful jobs, raising two boys, family dynamics and the joy and pain of life have caused wrinkles and gray hair.
But if I think about it, the wrinkles were put in the corners of my eyes and mouth from laughing (mainly), not scowling. The gray hairs, although easily covered, are remarkably strong. And when they do manage to peek through, are amazingly shiny. Much like the rings in their better days.
At a recent mass, Pope Francis spoke of the cross as a sign of God’s love for humankind and not just an emblem or a piece of jewelry to display. It is a symbol of “the power of God who made himself sin to heal us” and can lose significance if one has the desire to show off.
A wedding ring is not just an emblem or a piece of jewelry to display. I look at my rings as a reminder that I am not one.
We had once talked about upgrading our rings at a milestone anniversary. I can’t say for certain I will never want to see a shinier diamond join my starter set, but I do know at this moment I love my rings as much as I did 22 years ago. And I love him more.