“Where is your wedding ring?” my friend, Melanie asked.
I seemed to consistently have a reason to take my wedding ring off.
Hot showers. At night before I went to sleep. Scorching summer days when my fingers would swell. The occasion that vexed my husband the most was when I would not wear my wedding ring at our local gym.
I wasn’t trying to give the impression that I was available. My fingers would swell, making my ring tight, causing it to rub against my skin. It was unpleasant to wear during workouts.
With all the occasions to take it off, I wore my wedding ring less than I didn’t wear it.
Such was the case when my long time friend from college, Melanie noticed I didn’t have mine on and inquired about it.
After I explained all the reasons I found for removing it, Melanie smirked, reminding me of the conversation we just concluded about how my children are “comfort kids” (my words) and didn’t want to do anything that caused them pain or discomfort.
“How about you provide an example for your children by enduring a little pain and discomfort yourself and keep your wedding ring on? Keep it on through your showers, your sleep, your sweating and swelling. Slowly but surely, your skin will adjust, toughen up, soften, or a bit of both, and you’ll wear that ring without even noticing it anymore. It will become a part of you, one with you.”
I took my friend up on her wedding ring challenge.
At the time I was twelve years into a difficult marriage. My husband and I were wild about each other when we first married. But as with many couples, the stressors of everyday life, raising children, and a load of our own sinful baggage made for a disillusioning, and at times, despair-filled union.
We fought hard for our own way, to be heard, understood, and loved.
But we also fought hard to get it right–to love each other well, to understand, trust and forgive.
Twelve years in, God brought about a number of significant changes in our life that inaugurated a new season of hope for our marriage.
One big change was that my husband and I started seeing a paid, professional biblical counselor. The time and money we invested there have proven both profitable and priceless.
Here’s What my Wedding Ring Taught Me About the Pain of Permanence and the Joy of Unreserved Commitment
What I thought was an insignificant decision to keep my wedding ring on my finger ended up not being such a small gesture.
I hadn’t realized what a profound metaphor it was displaying about my commitment to my marriage. Through counseling I was able to be honest about my lack of trust–not just in my husband, but in God as well. My lack of trust provoked a number of self protecting behaviors — one of them being to take my wedding ring off.
Taking my wedding ring off was an outward demonstration of an inward reality: I was not up for the potential pain of permanence. I wanted an “out.”