I don’t wear my wedding ring even though I’m married. I don’t even remember when I took it off. There wasn’t a dramatic fight, or a sudden desire to express my independence. I simply removed my ring one day and haven’t put it back on. The dent in my skin and the tan line from the band have gone away and my finger has reclaimed its natural shape and color.
My life hasn’t changed in the slightest. I’m still married. We still share a home, sleep in the same bed, take care of our kids together, and are legally bound. We still love each other, but I’m not wearing the universal symbol of marriage.
My husband hasn’t complained or commented on the fact that I no longer wear my engagement ring or my wedding band. I stopped wearing my engagement ring over two years ago, opting for the simple wedding band. I told him it was getting too small and that it was uncomfortable. That was the truth both symbolically and physically. The woman who received that engagement ring from him disappeared, consumed by childrearing and household responsibilities. He married a carefree, foolish woman whose head was full of dreams. As the fairy tale gave way to reality, so did the dowery that sealed our commitment. The simple, inexpensive wedding band felt more appropriate on my swollen fingers as I carried out my responsibilities as an at-home-mother. After a few months, I took the band off as well. Nothing was said, no one seemed to notice, the only difference is that my fingers don’t sparkle in the sunshine.
I’m not planning on leaving him. Does it matter if I wear it? I am bound to this man by our religious beliefs and my determination to fulfill a promise we made many years ago. Our children are more representative of our love and commitment than a piece of gold. I remain faithful and devoted despite the absence of the tiny sliver of precious metal that sits gathering dust in my jewelry box. We make the commitment to remain married each day, whether I wear a ring or not.
Single men have not noticed my bare finger. There have been no awkward moments with the opposite sex as a result of this tiny wardrobe change. I am not emotionally available to suitors and the shroud of motherhood makes me invisible to emboldened bachelors. I have not felt embarrassment or pity from anyone who imagines that I am divorced or widowed. People in my life know that I am married. I don’t need a wedding ring for the sake of propriety. I don’t even remember that I’m not wearing it.
I know that other women feel very passionately about wedding rings and are insistent that their husbands wear their bands as well. My husband wears a ring and feels that he is given more respect because of it. He believes that people take him more seriously when they notice that he is a husband. He no longer wears the band we exchanged on our wedding day. He is wearing a ring he purchased as a bachelor for $20 at a tourist shop. If he decides to stop wearing it, I will not be concerned. I have established the fact that our commitment is made day in and day out regardless of a physical token.
I’m sure others have noticed that I’m not wearing my ring. Perhaps they speculate about our marriage or our commitment to each other. Maybe they believe we are headed for divorce. They could be correct, but it won’t be because I’m not wearing a ring. 50% of marriages end in divorce and I don’t think wearing a ring made any difference at all. Many people divorce wearing their wedding bands. Marriage is hard, hard work, and parenting is even harder. Our relationship is between the two of us. No one else is invited into our union or required to serve our marriage, but he and I. He knows my commitment and the sacrifices that I have made for him and our children.
I’m not much of a jewelry girl. I have a wall full of jewelry that I never wear. I’m not against wearing a ring. I imagine that when I slide a wedding band back on my hand it will be as unceremonious as the removal. The magic of a committed wife and a loving marriage will not be any stronger with a ring than it is without it.
Would you ever take off your wedding ring? What would you think if your husband stopped wearing his ring? Would it be different if my husband were hurt or offended? Tell me why I should put my ring back on, or confirm my suspicions that it really doesn’t matter.