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November 08, 2008

Bands of Gold

2_2 I remember well when we bought our wedding rings.  I wanted to shop for fancy engraved wedding bands.  My husband-to-be wanted a plain gold band.  As much as I wanted fancy, I wanted our rings to be similar.  I already had an engagement ring, so we compromised with a simple band for me and a ring with a simple decorative edge for him.  It was the summer of 1977.

In the years that followed, I rarely took my rings off.  Whether I was cleaning or painting or gardening, I wore my rings.  Near the end of each pregnancy, when my hands were swollen, I wore them on a chain around my neck.  Three years ago arthritis settled in my fingers and made it uncomfortable to wear my rings.  I missed them.  I decided to have them sized so they fit again.

I found a jeweler who was willing to work with me.  He showed me how the rounded edges of my rings had been worn flat and the width of each ring had worn thin.  Upon closer inspection he found that two of the four prongs that held my diamond in place had broken off.  We talked about my options.  He recommended a completely new ring to hold my diamond and offered to special order one very similar to what I had.  He suggested that I choose a size large enough to go over my knuckle comfortably, and he would install two small beads on the inside edge that would hold the ring in place on my finger.  I decided that was the solution for my engagement ring.

However, my wedding ring was so worn that he couldn't size it to be large enough around and still strong enough to secure two "knuckle beads" inside.  I needed time to decide what I would do.  My wedding ring of 29 years was a symbol of where my husband and I had started and all we had endured since.  It had been on my finger through thick and thin.  Like the ring itself, our marriage was comfortably worn and still in one piece after all these years.  What mattered to me was what my rings symbolized.  I realized that the most important symbols of our marriage couldn't be seen or measured.

So I put my wedding band in a jewelry box beside my husband's ring which, by then, was too small.  We still had all that the rings symbolized in the beginning, and like the new engagement ring on my finger, we also had all that we changed along the way to make the marriage work.

Sharon also writes for her personal blog at www.owlinmaine.blogspot.com.            

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