Thursday, July 26, 2007

to wear or not to wear

My thought this Thursday is on Wedding rings.
I'm wondering if I'm just weird about wedding rings. I think they are an important symbol of your marriage and your commitment and I'm realizing that because I value them so much, I find it disappointing when others don't. Even though I know logically, everyone's perspective is different, and who am I to judge anyone... but it almost feels as if I lose a little respect for people who don't think wearing their wedding ring is important. For example, I have a friend who I believe is one of the most amazing guys I know; he's insanely talented at everything he does whether it's sports or music or school or career. He is an awesome husband, friend, brother, uncle, the list goes on and on. But every time I see him, you know what I notice? His "un-rung" finger (I'm pretty sure I just made up that word). He is married to one of my oldest friends and I think she is amazingly lucky to have him for a husband... but I find myself also thinking I'm so glad I'm not married to him, because that would really hurt my feelings. I always wonder if it bothers her. I mean, she wears hers all the time. And she's mentioned once or twice in jest that he must not really be married since he doesn't wear a ring. But I often wonder if it really truly bothers her.

I've been close to a few couples who didn't wear their rings often. The family I nannied for and lived with for a couple of years... the dad called me probably every other day from work: "can you go in and check on my nightstand and see if I left my wedding ring there?". And I found her's left in the bathroom quite often as well. I know one couple who when they were mad at each other would purposefully not wear their rings. I'm not talking huge issues like infidelity or major conflicts here... I mean they would get in a fight about the smallest stupidest things, go to bed not speaking, and then one or the other or both would put away their wedding rings until the other apologized.
Does it surprise me that the majority of these few couples are no longer married? Not really.

I found myself thinking about this -about what wedding rings mean to different people- a couple of months ago when we went to church with some new friends. They belong to the Church of God, and I knew that they, as a family, were very traditional in things like the females wearing long skirts and not pants, no tv or computer games or things like that. I didn't know much about the whole church in general. We went to visit their church with them and it was a very hot day. I put a sundress on Savannah and I myself had on "cap" sleeves/short sleeves and a knee length flowy skirt. Let me just say I have never been more uncomfortable in my life, than I was sitting in that sanctuary. Every other little girl had on long sleeves or a sweater over their short sleeves, as well as long dresses or skirts. And every other woman there (even a nine months pregnant woman standing up in the choir with no A/C) had on long skirts, long sleeves, and most of them were also wearing pantyhose. Every little boy had on slacks and a nice shirt. Sawyer had on khaki shorts. Every man was wearing a suit and tie. Anyway, that's not the point of the story.
My point is, sitting through the service (the two and a half hour service) I started noticing that not one person in that whole congregation was wearing a wedding ring (I know, I'm weird!). Not our friends sitting next to us, not their sister and brother in law a few rows over, not the couple with their family in front of us, not the pastor, not the few other friendly people we had spoken to before the service... I could not find on ring on one finger besides Ryan's and mine. And it was kind of weird.

I know there are a variety of reasons for not wearing your rings (especially for men who aren't used to wearing jewelry)... everything from from religion, to it just not being comfortable, to actually purposefully not wearing it so you can um, ahem, seem available...
I just can't imagine not wearing mine. As far as possessions go, I think my wedding ring may be my most prized. And not in a material what it's worth value sort of way (although I do love my sweet and simple ring), but in everything it means to me. It is not only a symbol to me of my marriage and my vows, but it reminds me daily of the fact that I get to spend every day of the rest of my life with my best friend, that he worked so hard to give me this ring and puts so much effort into making me happy, that I am the one he wanted to give this ring to and "claim" me. And I'm not talking about claim as in being owned... I'm talking about a outward statement of what we mean to each other.
Our ring exchange during our wedding ceremony was a give and take. It wasn't simply the "with this ring I thee wed", but this is the gist of what we exchanged...
-"With this ring, I thee wed, and say to the world this is my wife, whom I cherish above all others..."
-"Ryan, I accept your ring and I will wear it gladly... and I give you this ring, with this ring, I thee wed, and say to the world this is my husband, whom I cherish above all others."

-"I accept your ring and I will wear it gladly."

As we put together our vows, when it came to the rings, we wanted it to be clear that it was an exchange and an honor to wear one another's rings. That they were to be a reminder of our place in each other's lives, not just a public representation of our marital status. And that we accepted that ring basically promising to wear it as a symbol of all of that.

I never take my ring off. I know lots of people who take it on and off to sleep or to shower or to swim... and maybe sometimes I should, but I don't. Honestly about the only time I take it off is to when I'm applying self tanner! haha! And then if I don't put it back on right after, or if I end up leaving the house without it, I honestly feel like something is missing. It just feels wrong. It's a part of me now and I don't feel right without it.

Ryan wears his all the time too. He did say it took awhile to get used to wearing a ring, but I think he was proud of it. Maybe it helped that I kept telling him I loved how sexy it looked on him LOL!

So what's your story? Do you wear your ring all the time? Does your husband? Is that something that is important to you, or you just don't think about it? Do you remove it to shower or work or sleep? Is it more of an accessory to you; you wear it if you remember to put it on in the morning? I'm just curious. I don't know why it's something I notice about people... or why even though I know what it means to me, and I know that doesn't mean it has to be the same for everyone, I just wonder why that's a lot of times something I notice right away and a small part of me always wants to ask, "why aren't you wearing a wedding ring?"


LeeAnn said...

Both My husband and I do wear our wedding rings all the time. The only time I do take mine off is when I shower. But I don't think Tony even takes it off then. He would probably forget to put it back on. When I was in highschool, I used to wear more rings, like maybe 2 on each finger, but since I've been married, I only wear the one ring and I like it that way. It seems to stand out more that way and make more of a statement of commitment when you see it by itself, rather that among other jewelry. I am also glad that Tony has chosen to wear his ring all the time, so he is not presented as being 'available'. I think he is also proud of it too.

Gramps said...

I lost my ring in the laundry at work,your not suposed to wear rings when working on a printing press,in case you get your hand in the rollers if had a ring on it would cut your finger off

Amie R said...

Ha! You are going to hate me!!! I haven't worn my ring in a few weeks I think. It is just sitting on my night stand. I take it off when I sleep, and then sometimes I forget to put it back on. It seems like my finger swells up if I have the ring on when I sleep. It becomes very uncomfortable. I also don't like wearing it with small infants, because I feel like I am always scratching them. So when J came the ring was off a lot more. I don't like the idea of wedding rings. I don't like carrying around that much money and responsibility on my hand.

I don't think David wears his that much. I think it started off as restrictions from work but then he got used to not wearing it. It bothered me a little at first, now I hardly even notice. We are both pretty simple dressers, who don't accessorize a lot. So that may play into the wearage time our rings get. :)

Anonymous said...

I despise wearing rings. I have a feeling, however, that my disdain of rings will be ending soon...starting..oh..September 16th I think.

Greg said...

^ = Greg

On a side note...Jenn nearly had a breakdown when she had to relinquish her ring to the jeweler to get it altered last week, and she kept saying she felt naked. It made me feel good to know how much she cherishes it :)

Nicole said...

I always wear my ring and so does Ryan. I do take it off to take a shower and to do my hair. I don't like my hair getting tangled in it when I wash and dry my hair, and I use lots of hair gunk so I don't like to get that all clogged in it. But, my ring has a little spot on the shelf in our medicine cabinet next to my deodorant and I put it there when I take a shower, and put it back on when I put my deodorant on (That also helps me remember if I put deodorant on... is my ring on my finger? No? Oops must have forgot my deodorant! GAH! So now if you see me without my ring you know what else I'm missing HAHAHA!! Anyway, I feel so naked when I forget it, and I'll often drive back home to get it. I love having that outward symbol that "I'm taken, I've been chosen by someone to spend their life with me" kind of thing. Thats corny sounding huh? Well, you know what I mean.

I do think its weird when people don't wear their rings for long periods at a time. I can understand forgetting it once in awhile, but to just not wear it is kind of weird. Like you don't want to symbolize your marriage and love for your husband/wife (omg I just spelled that whife).

Jessica said...

It's always bugged me when married people don't wear rings!!! I just don't understand it, I guess. I am so proud to wear my rings. The only time I take them off is to put lotion on, and I put them right back on afterwards. There was a point in my pregnancies where I got so swollen I couldn't wear them, and I actually cried the day I had to take them off. Our rings are a symbol of our commitment to one another, of our love for each other, and that's incredibly important to both of us.

MacKenzie Leigh said...

I am just like Jessica. From like 5 months on in my pregnancy I couldn't wear my wedding ring. AGH. I cried and cried and cried. Then one day Jeff was late from work and I started to get worried/mad but when he came home he had a nice simple chain to put my ring on so that way I could still "wear" it. :) You would never believe all the dirty looks/mean comments I got from older ladies and married moms. Without the ring, and looking so young, I could feel the eyes glaring at me. So I had a shirt made. "I'm 22. I've been married for 2 years. Yes, I am pregnant. Please stop staring." :) LOL Anyway, I know that Jeff had a hard time getting used to his ring. He is a "jewelry is for girls" guy. But he wears it now. Sometimes it get's left on the counter when he's done showering, but he rarely forgets it when we leave the house. Having a big expensive ring doesn't matter to me. I prefer to not run around with a crazy amount of money on my hand. My ring is actually from JCPenney's catalog and it was only $50. :) I told Jeff (when he was upset about not being able to afford a NICE ring) that it's not the ring's material value it's what it means to me and him. For our 5 year anniversary he said he wants to get me a new ring...but to me it just won't feel right b/c that ring wasn't "involved" in the exchanging of rings. If I do get a new one, I want to somehow incorporate the old one into the new one, otherwise I'll stick with the one I have! I rarely take my ring off. Ususally it's when I'm dealing with food such as making cookies, meat, etc. I don't take it off to shower, but I only wear my wedding band. When I wore the engagement ring too, I took it off to sleep b/c my fingers tend to swell when I sleep also. And I too, turn around if I have time and I realized I forgot it. But if I don't have time, I feel weird all day. Kind of uneasy until I can get home and put it back on.

K.M. Laughlin said...

Great post Heather! I love wearing my wedding ring and leave it on for swimming, showering, etc. I do feel lost if I have it off. Throughout the day, I'll look at it and it reminds me of my husband who did work so hard to get it for me and us. In the beginning of our marriage, Mike used to play with his ALOT! He was not used to wearing it and would twirl it around in his finger and spin it on the table. Thankfully he only does it once in a blue moon now. Now I don't even think he takes it off when he showers and even wears it when he works. I know alot of police officers that take theirs off and I love that Mike wears his. I love what the rings we wear symbolize.....a circle. It has no beginning and no end. Forever.

Annie said...

Kevin and I wear our rings all the time, but I do take mine off occasionally - like for health reasons when I was pregnant and retaining water! Anyway, I do feel it disrespects the marriage to not wear a ring most/much of the time. Some people are just quirky like that though and are sensitive to the way rings feel - maybe they could do something else, like wear the ring on the necklace or bracelet.

Emilie said...

What a good topic! I have a lot of the same thoughts as you Heather. I think that when I do get married, that ring is going to be more to me then just a ring. I feel like a wedding ring is reminder of all the things that you and your beloved promised one another. That it isnt just the having the ring, its remember everything that he means to you and that you mean to him. Knowing that he chose for you to have That ring. He took the time and money to pick that ring and asked you to be his forever. Now, my question for you is, What do you think about promise rings?

kimca01 said...

HAHA Once again, I'm the downer!

Actually, I am not a ring fan but I always wore my wedding ring until I had the excessive fluid with Morgan and gained 65lbs! After that I couldn't wear one for a long, long time and when I started wearing it again, some water got trapped underneath it (it's hollow underneath) and gave me a skin infection! Needless to say I haven't had good luck.

On that note, I haven't worn it in about 6 months. I am going to go buy another plain band though so I can wear one but it doesn't bother me that it's not the one we got married with, you know?

Brad hasn't taken his off since we got married. I think it would be weird if he didn't wear one but apparently he doesn't care that I haven't worn one in ages! LOL

A ring doesn't really signify commitment to me - we have complete trust/commitment regardless of whether I'm wearing a ring or not.

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