A wedding ring is just a piece of jewelry: a marriage is in the mind, not in a jewel.
Today is Saturday and millions of dollars will be spent to purchase tiny, little shiny, circular jewels that will henceforth adore the celebrants’ fingers. In fact, there’s a finger whose name derives from this culture — the ring finger. And a wedding ring is a big deal. To so many people, a wedding ring (also called wedding band) is the symbol of their marriage and in a culture where your whole life is summarized by your marital status, wearing a wedding ring is a lifetime achievement.
And there’s so much fuss about a wedding ring. You can remove your ear rings and necklaces but a wedding ring must be worn all the time. When you want to sleep at night, you can remove your other jewelry but not the wedding ring. When you’re doing household chores, you can do away with all other jewelry but not your wedding ring. Some actors and actresses are so crazy about wedding rings that even when playing the role of an unmarried person in a movie, they still keep their wedding rings on. I heard the story of someone who didn’t remove his wedding ring till ten years after his wedding. Of course, the wedding ring could no longer be removed. He had to visit a metal worker who carefully sawed the wedding ring off his finger. So I’m asking again: what’s the big deal about a wedding ring?
People achieve different things in life and they don’t add one more to their jewelry. Why marriage? People reach the peaks of their careers, become presidents of nations, make a groundbreaking discovery, become the richest people in the world, etc, but don’t add to their jewelry. When you marry, you add to your jewelry. Why? Is wedding a greater achievement than those?
The cost also matters. In a way. The more expensive the wedding ring, the more ecstatic the bride becomes. To her, it means her man values their relationship so much. Look at people’s fingers and you would find different karats of gold, different gold and silver hues, made by various manufacturers. Really expensive wedding rings are made of gold, silver, diamond, tungsten, and palladium with the possibility of putting a signature. Those who can’t afford the expensive ones make do with very cheap but shiny ones. It must be shiny to serve the purpose, mustn’t it? And I also know of a couple who used cheap wedding rings on their wedding day because they were broke. But as soon as they became finally buoyant, they upgraded to expensive ones. Such is the importance we have attached to these rings.
Wedding ring: historical background
Let’s do a little historical background to this wedding ring culture. How did the culture come about? There’s some interesting mythology about a wedding ring. The mythology exists in two parts: a part about the ring and another part about the finger.
In ancient times, people believed that there’s a direct connection from the left fourth finger to the heart. Thus to secure a direct access to someone’s heart, you put a ring on their left fourth finger. This connection was mostly called a vein and the vein was called vena amoris, Latin for ‘vein of love’. They were ignorant of anatomy then. They thought the heart was the seat of emotions like love. That’s why you read things like ‘I love you with all my heart’, ‘the heart of man is wicked’, ‘wholeheartedly’, ‘man after God’s heart’, ‘my heart belongs to you’, ‘if you believe in your heart ‘, etc. They didn’t know the brain was the seat of emotions. In fact, the word ‘brain’ didn’t exist in the lexicon of humanity. That’s why you won’t find the word ‘brain’ in the Bible and other ancient literature.
And they even thought that good people had a normal, soft, fleshy heart which became hard and stony in evil people. That’s why you hear things like ‘Pharaoh’s heart was hardened’, ‘I will remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh’, and ‘create in me a new heart’. Little did they know that the heart was nothing but a muscular organ that pumped blood round the body. Little did they know that the heart can’t be hardened nor softened. And little did they know that there’s no direct connection between any finger and the heart. All fingers on both hands have the same arrangement of arteries and veins. Vena amoris was a myth but it still guides our lives till today. This is the part about the ring.
In ancient Egypt, the Sun and the Moon were worshipped as gods of the home and the hearth. A ring was a symbol of worship of these gods. So they used circles as a sign of bonding. Initially, they used circles in form of chains and bracelets before they later settled for rings. This practice had existed long before Alexander the Great invaded Egypt and the practice was later assimilated into the Greek and Roman cultures. This is the part about the ring.
There have been variations ever since. In terms of the finger of choice, different ones have been used — the right hand, the left hand, the thumb, the little finger, just name it. But the whole world has now settled for the left fourth ringer. In terms of the material, bone, ivory, leather, etc, have been used. But today, the whole world has settled for precious metals.
My observation is that no matter the cost or the couple’s wearing habit of the wedding ring, it can not guarantee the success of a marriage. Sad to refer to Tiwa Savage and TeeBillz but they did exchange rings at their wedding, didn’t they? A wedding ring is just a piece of jewelry: a marriage is in the mind, not in a jewel.
People achieve different things in life and they don’t add one more to their jewelry. Why marriage? People reach the peaks of their careers, become presidents of nations, make a groundbreaking discovery, become the richest people in the world, etc, but don’t add to their jewelry. When you marry, you add to your jewelry. Why? Is wedding a greater achievement than those? When you’re coming from afar, nothing shines on you to announce to the whole world that you’ve just made a groundbreaking discovery. But when you’re coming from afar, something shines on you to announce to the whole world that you’re married. Why? I can never know. Traditions die hard.
Wedding Ring List
Now on a lighter note, I’ve generated a small list of wedding ring wearing habits. Find out where you belong.
- A large number of married men and women wear their wedding rings. Congratulations to them!
- Some unmarried ladies wear rings. They wear them for other purposes including chasing men away or trying to publicly hide their shame of being single. Smart? I don’t know.
- Some married men don’t wear their wedding rings. Why? Because they want to cheat on their wives. I wish them all the ‘best’.
- A subset of ‘3’ insist that though they don’t wear their wedding rings, their wives must wear theirs. Some of them claim that they spent lots of money to buy the expensive rings for their wives and so their wives must wear them. Sirs, wee u kipkwayet and practise what you preach? And please, don’t let me start with the gender inequality thing again today.
- Some married women too don’t wear their wedding rings for the same reason: they want to have extramarital affairs. I just had to balance the equation!
- Some men and women don’t wear wedding rings because they got married in ‘Redeem’, MFM, CAC, Deeper Life, The Apostolic Faith (‘Àpó’), etc. Well, may the good Lord reward you for following His Word! Amen.
- Some men and women, who got married with rings, don’t wear the rings. Some of them even have very expensive rings but they don’t wear them. Well, they have various personal reasons for not wearing rings and trust me, to cheat on their spouses is not one of them.
I belong to group ‘7’. Thank you.
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