I don’t wear a wedding ring and I only realized recently that my choice looks odd to a lot of people. I’ve been married twice and divorced once. My second husband is also on his second marriage, and together we decided that we would be doing things differently this time around. No big wedding with a gown and a tux, no large party with family and friends, and no rings. We didn’t even tell our parents we were married until nearly a year later.
For both of us, our second marriage is about substance, not appearance. My first marriage looked good from the outside, like everything was fine. But on the inside, things were not fine, which is why I eventually got a divorce. I learned it’s more important to be OK than to look OK, so when Kurt suggested we skip the rings, I was fine with it.
But there is more to the story of why I don’t wear a wedding ring than this. I had rings for my first marriage, of course. I remember being excited about getting an engagement ring, even though I don’t like diamonds all that much. A rainbow of colors came out of the diamond whenever I held it in the sunlight. The sparkle and glory of it seemed full of promise, just like the future.
The wedding band was a compromise. I’ve always preferred silver to gold, only wedding rings don’t come in silver. We went with white gold, which was less yellow than normal gold, but more yellow than I would have liked. Still, I liked the simple design we went with and wore my rings throughout my first marriage.
My first husband was proud of how much he’d spent on our rings. We had just graduated from college and neither of us had much money, so it was an extravagance to spend so much on something that was essentially useless. When we separated, I was reminded that my wedding rings had value and I tucked them away, thinking of them as a savings account. I was cash poor. I scraped my way through the years right after the divorce, terrified I would lose my job and have nothing at all. I needed income badly.
Finally, I mustered the courage to sell my rings. The dealer I approached offered me $50 total for the pair. I was horrified, embarrassed, and chagrined. As much as I needed the money, I didn’t sell them. I couldn’t part with them for so little, when I had been told they were worth so much more. It’s nearly twenty years later and they are still in my dresser drawer.
I’ve never been much of a girl for bling and I no longer think of it is an investment. The jewelry that actually maintains its value is way out of my price range. When I buy jewelry, I look at the cost in terms of one thing only: do I like it enough to pay the price asked?
My second marriage is about doing things differently, not worrying about how we look to the world and worrying instead about how things really are between us. But I let go of the one symbol of marriage I was likely to hold on to — the ring — because the whole idea was tainted by my past.
Do you wear a wedding ring? Why or why not? How do you feel about “investing” in jewelry?