With This Ring

My ex never really wore his ring. His hand was injured in a car accident a year before we wed and he claimed that the intermittent swelling was an issue. He also provided the legitimate excuse of working with machinery, where the addition of a metal band increases the risk of traumatic hand injuries.

The fact that he was ringless didn’t bother me.  I grew accustomed to his naked finger and I reasoned that it was only symbolic anyway. After all, marriage is founded on actions, not held in small metal bands.

It didn’t bother me until he left. And then I found his two rings (a “dress” one and a scuffed one) in his office. Looking at them cradled in my palm, I wondered if I should have placed more importance on their absence. Maybe the lack of a ring was a broken window in the marriage.

At least I was able to sell them for $200.  A drop in the bucket, but a particularly satisfying drop.

During our engagement, Brock and talked about his ring options a few times. He also has legitimate reasons to avoid a metal band, not the least of which is his almost-daily martial arts practice. However, unlike my ex, he didn’t just leave it at that. He looked at options, problem solved his way around the challenge. He thought about a tattoo (it wouldn’t be his first) but hesitated because of his professional career. He thought about multiple metal bands, a replacement ready to step up when one was lost before time in the dojo. He eventually decided on two rings: a tungsten “dress” ring and a silicone SafeRingz as his everyday band.

A week and a half later, I still get a thrill out of seeing that ring on his hand. That outward sign of a private committment.

It also symbolizes his willingness to work through a problem rather than just give up. A quality that was key to me the second time around.

It’s so easy to dismiss those little things as not important. “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” we’re always told.

But sometimes those little things carry a big message.

"Can we go for a hike now?"
“Can we go for a hike now?”
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15 thoughts on “With This Ring

  1. My STBX stopped wearing her ring YEARS ago. I called her on it and let her know how much it hurt me that she blatantly decided to stop wearing it. She continued to keep it in her drawer. And she wonders why she will soon by my EX-wife. One of many inactions she inflicted on our marriage. Rings, whether they are symbolic or not are a PART of a marriage. I NEVER took mine off. NEVER. Wore it for 20 years, 3 months and 1 day. Even during the bad times.

    1. My STBX also chose not to wear his ring, ever. 20 years almost to the day. The day I flung mine in anger (only did this one time in 19.99 years) he saw it that the marriage was over. I wonder how long it should have taken another woman to figure this man out. I was oblivious until the bitter end. That one argument with that one action on my part was the last nail he hammered in our marriage coffin.

  2. my ex stopped wearing his ring a couple of years before we split up. i think it took me a while to notice, i always sat to his right because he was left-handed and me right. i noticed it one day in marriage counseling. he gave the same excuse about work, but he had worn it for years and years before he stopped. he used to give me a hard time about taking my ring off at night (my hands would swell when i slept) but i had always put it back on. he refused to put his back on, so i stopped wearing mine. symbolism or not, it has meaning. it tells the world you are committed to someone. so glad you have found someone who takes the time to understand and really listen, and seeks to find a solution. best wishes for a happy marriage!

  3. my husband lost his ring finger climbing a chain linked fence before our first year of marriage. His ring finger was de-gloved, and broke off, they could not reattach it, they had to break his hand, remove the knuckle of the ring finger so they can move the fingers over to avoid a gap between fingers, they did a great job. It was his wedding band that got caught on the top of the fence they were climbing over to play baseball. That was 35 years ago. I don’t believe ‘ring’ lore, it is just another part of the many ceremonies in life. If you are meant to be-you shall be. Looking for reasons ‘Why’ is only to find some kind of sign why you did not work out. Being with the same person for decades is a major life lesson and roller coaster ride; of should I stay or shall I go. We tend to hang on to our investments for ‘many’ reasons, all personal only to YOU. The only meaning of the wedding ring is what you attach to it. Just because someone doesn’t wear his/her ring means just that, they are not wearing it, it is what you imply about it, that makes it what it is. You can say your spouse left because they did not wear the ring, or you can believe that the contract between you and your mate was up. You both got what you needed, even though it might not have felt like it. There is a lot of wisdom to gain in the endings of things-new beginnings. That being say, ‘Let go or be dragged! OM Shanti

    1. I’m in agreement with you here. My parents have been married 40 years. My dad doesn’t wear his ring because it cuts into his finger. Could he get a new one? Sure. He wears his military ring because it is also extremely meaningful to him. If there is any man who is committed to a woman, it’s my father to my mother. I had a teacher who also didn’t wear a ring. 50+ years of marriage. Before my grandfather passed away at the age of 81, he was with my grandmother since they were 13 and 14 years of age – he never wore a ring. I wear one. My husband wears one. It is important to us – exactly as you put it – because of what we attach to it. My ex-husband wore a ring and I wore one in the marriage. Who knows where they are now? It didn’t stop him from leaving the marriage.

  4. My Ex made similar claims about his ring, after a supposed allergic reaction on one of his jobs caused him intermittent swelling as well. My current husband is a Diesel Mechanic, and does not let the fact that he works with machinery deter him from wearing his ring. He found a band that will break in pieces rather than crush should it get caught on machinery. It already has worked like a charm. We had to order a replacement after his first was destroyed by getting caught, and his hand came away injury free. While we were waiting for the replacement was the only time in our marriage I’ve seen him without it.

  5. And in reading the comment above me, it would seem she was looking at wheter or not the symbol was important to her ex, and what it meant to him, rather than what it meant to her. It would seem what it meant to her is not what was in question. My ex wanted to be able to have other women. The lack of a ring on his finger made that seem a more feasible option in his mind. Whereas when my ring broke, and I stopped wearing it for fear it would catch and scratch one of my babies, it never ever meant a license to fool around for me.

  6. Nice read….but I find it strangely funny that you shared this on FB…I was looking the tan line/marks from my wedding ring on my hand for most of the day yesterday/last night…yes even after almost 8 months I still look at it and wonder what if???

  7. I never took my ring off in 31 years, but he took his off around the same time he started traveling extensively with his married coworker. It really bothered me, and I let him know, but he claimed he didn’t want to get it caught while working. I found this explanation unsettling, because he did continue to wear his class ring from time to time. It always bothered me that he stopped wearing his wedding band, but like so many other things I just stuffed the pain because there was nothing I could do about it. Towards the end of our marriage, when we were supposedly trying to reconcile, he put the ring back on. However, he constantly twisted it, he almost acted like it was burning him. By that time he’d become a stranger to me.

    Interesting to hear how differently Brock handled wearing a ring.

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