“I don’t understand the point of wedding rings,” I’ve overheard several people say recently. “What are they supposed to do? It’s not like they magically keep people from cheating.”
Whether it’s a simple gold band or a giant gem worthy of the movies, the act of wearing a ring doesn’t automatically make someone’s relationship more secure or committed — and it certainly doesn’t keep a person from cheating on their partner. Wedding rings don’t save marriages, and they’re not a sign that a relationship is healthy or loving.
I can understand why some couples decide wedding rings aren’t really their style. I mean, it’s not like having a ring on your left hand can really do anything. To my great disappointment and confusion, sporting a wedding ring doesn’t even seem to scare off the creepy men aggressively asking for my phone number or a date.
But even though wedding rings don’t make a marriage, I still love mine.
My blue topaz wedding ring belonged to my great-grandma, and my husband’s ring has been passed down through several generations in his family. Our rings help us feel connected to our families — specifically, family members we’ve lost.
My great-grandpa gave my great-grandma the little gold ring with a blue stone on their one-year anniversary. It was just the beginning of their adventures.
And they did — walking on the Great Wall of China, taking a tiny boat up the Inside Passage in Alaska — and when they got tired of suburban life, retiring to the country where they lived sandwiched between apple farms and ranches.
When I miss my grandparents, it helps to have a piece of jewelry that reminds me of them. Plus, it reminds me how they were so happily married for such a very long time. It’s an encouraging example of what a marriage can look like.
But even if my husband and I didn’t have rings that had been passed down through our families, I’d still want to wear a wedding ring.
For my husband and me, wearing wedding rings isn’t about keeping someone from cheating or scaring other people off — they’re basically best friend rings.
My wedding ring reminds me a lot of when my best friend in elementary school gave me one half of a heart-shaped necklace right before I moved away. It was my first big move. I’d always lived in the same area and I’d had most of my friends since kindergarten, so starting over was scary.
I wore that heart necklace every day for a long time as I went through the awkwardness and loneliness of being the new kid. Wearing it made me feel less alone as I adjusted to life in a new town. Sometimes I’d fiddle with it, and think that my BFF was wearing that necklace, too. It made me feel special, cared about. And it meant that even though people in my new town were only just beginning to learn my name, I was still someone’s priority. And that made a huge difference as I reminded yet another person that it was Kelsey, not Chelsea.
But as awesome as it was to have my best friend in elementary school wear a best friend necklace because of me, it’s even better to know my husband is wearing a ring because I’m his BFF.
Shortly after my husband and I got engaged, we went with his family to Disneyland. And while we were there, we got matching purple soda pop pins — just like Carl and Elle’s from “Up.” “We’re adventure buddies,” I told my husband, Ian, pointing to our matching pins.
Each time we’ve gone on a Disney vacation, we’ve bought matching pins on the first day of the trip so that we can wear them throughout the rest of the vacation.
Just like a wedding ring, the pins don’t really serve a specific function — but they’re fun and we enjoy them.
When Ian and I got married, our wedding rings felt just like the matching pins we always get on vacation. Just like the pins, our wedding rings mean that we’re adventure buddies. Going to Disneyland might not be nearly as epic as the adventures my great-grandparents went on while they were married, but being married is an awfully big adventure.
I love my wedding ring because it’s a reminder that we’re best friends, committed to each other in this wild adventure called life.