By Eric on June 7, 2012 17

The Wedding Ring: Just Another Piece of Jewelry?

wedding ring symbolism

Have you ever lost your wedding ring? Or at least temporarily misplaced it?

I’m a careful guy, but it’s happened to me twice in the past 5.5 years.

The first time was a few months after we were married. I got to work before I realized that I didn’t have my ring on, and I was nearly sick to my stomach. Enough to force me to drive back home over lunch (not something I ever did) to make sure that I didn’t lose it, and also for the comfort it brings me to have it on.

The second time was last year on our vacation in Okoboji. I had put on my ring before heading out on the boat. Once we were on the water for about an hour, I realized that it was gone.

Again, I thought I was going to be sick. I told Kelsey that I might have lost my ring at the bottom of the lake. She offered forgiveness and grace immediately. She saw the aching in my heart about the possibility of losing it and comforted me.

When we got back to the lake house, I looked for it on our nightstand, which is where I normally keep my things, but I couldn’t find it. I gave up. I felt terrible.

But then, about an hour later, probably because I stopped looking, I found it in an odd place and realized that I had taken it off to put on sunscreen and had forgotten to put it back on.

I was thinking about this after a friend showed me that he has a ring tattooed on his finger so that if he wasn’t wearing it, there is still something there. For me, the only times I don’t wear my ring are when it might fall off (i.e., playing sports or swimming) and when I’m sleeping.

Which led me to think about what it means to wear a wedding ring…

What’s the point? I know I’m still married even if I don’t have it on. 

I think it’s more about what it tells others.

Not to be arrogant, but I would hate to not have my wedding ring on and have someone get the wrong idea that I am available. That’s a temptation that nobody needs to have in their life. Why not close the door on that conversation before it gets awkward?

It says a lot about your commitment and whether you entertain the thought of being available. We should feel honored to put on the ring, and it’s a simple reminder of the vows you spoke to each other.

Sadly, I think some guys don’t wear their rings for the opposite reason. To entice flirting, to entertain the thought of being available. I don’t like it.

I love being married, I love my wife, I love my family, I love my ring and I love what it stands for. Commitment.

What are your thoughts about the wedding ring?

UPDATE (7/25/12): Carlos Whittaker wrote an awesome post about his thoughts on the wedding ring. It’s edgy. Read it!



Husband to Kelsey. Father to Rooney. Follower of Jesus. Born and raised in Iowa. I like blogging. Bulleted lists excite me. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. My husband occasionally takes his off while he is sleeping because his hands swell and it ends up being really painful for him. Sometimes, after he leaves for work, I find it on the nightstand still. When he does that he always comes home and puts it on straight away. And I always know that it wasn’t intentional.

    I’m curious about your opinion (and Kelsey’s) on the tattoo ring. My husband (who doesn’t have any tattoos and has never expressed any interest in getting one) has mentioned it a few times. I feel like there is such a social taboo of getting something permanently marked on your body that links you to another person but, in all honesty aside from having a child, is marriage pretty much the most permanently you CAN be linked to another person. Now I realize that people will always explain their opinions with “but what IF you DO end up getting divorced, then you’re STUCK with that link to them.” However, I don’t agree with living your life thinking about what IF you get divorced. I believe in doing the right things in your marriage to assure that you DON’T get divorced. And, even if it did come down to that situation, wouldn’t that emotional ties be more permanent, if not physically so then definitely emotionally so, than a tattoo would be?

    Wow, I didn’t mean for that to be so lengthy. It is just a topic that really interests me and I’d love to hear your opinion about it all!

    • I wholeheartedly agree that you cannot live your life thinking about what ifs. You need to fully commit to working on your marriage. That doesn’t mean it’s easy or that you will even enjoy all of it. It means that when push comes to shove, you work it out. You make the effort to make it better. The ‘D’ word isn’t spoken in our house and we are firm on the fact that the commitment is for life. Period.

      As far as the tattoo goes, I’m pretty indifferent to the decision. I think it’s cool if someone wanted to get one as a symbol, but I’m not even sure I would do it… I do have a tattoo, but not sure that I would get another one. Not that I think they are wrong, just haven’t had the urge to get another one. (I love my tattoo, but I did get it when I was 18 after being at college for a few weeks. My parents were less than impressed with that decision!)

  2. Brandon’s literally flew off into a pile a snow on the way to church on Christmas Eve. He was brushing snow off of one of the twins’ shoes and on a down swipe, it rolled and flew off. He had a few choice words and was sick to his stomach the same as you were. We looked for a few minutes, but had to get going to church. I knew it was an accident and knew he didn’t lose it on purpose… has a ton of meaning, but it’s still just a material item. After church, his brother called the local cop, who was off duty, but had a metal detector. They looked for about an hour and finally it started beeping. Brandon picked up a tiny pile of snow–thinking there was no way the ring would even fit in it and it must be sensing something else–but there it was…..what a relief! They never would have found the ring without the cop (who was willing to leave Christmas Eve dinner with his family) with the metal detector.

    • It makes my stomach turn just reading that story. But you are right, it ultimately is just a material object, and can be replaced. That feeling we get when losing it confirms the commitment that we have as spouses.

  3. My dad lost two wedding rings, one at a campground (stolen) and one in the field outside their house. At that point, my mom said she thought he just wasn’t cut out for wearing wedding rings, and he hasn’t worn one since. But he is very committed to my mom (37 years of marriage) & our family and it’s well-known in our small community that he is married, so I don’t think it’s a big deal. Also, people in certain jobs can’t wear jewelry because it can be dangerous. While my husband and I both wear our rings & I love that symbol (and hate when I accidentally forget to put it on in the morning, only to get to work and realize it’s not there), I do believe we can show/tell others we’re married even without a ring on.

  4. i’m horribly unsentimental and i’m not a huge fan of rings in general… i don’t wear mine much. my husband loves his ring and freaks out when he forgets to put it back on. we’re both deeply committed to our marriage. the ring is what you make it. it only has the worth we ascribe to it.

  5. My husband is one of those whom cannot wear a ring both for work reasons and comfort reasons. He never wore ANY type of jewelry prior to our meeting and did give the ring a try for a bit but was constantly bothered by it. We have been married for almost 14 years with three children and neither him or I have ever had a problem with this arrangement. I am one who feels “naked” without my ring so I do see both sides to this subject. I even bought an inexpensive silver band when we were on vacation to wear to the beaches and what not just in case it did happen to slip off. I would be devastated to lose my ring simply because of the sentimental value. I do agree with Emily though, there are many ways you can present yourself as “taken”. My husband and I have always taken the approach that our commitment is far more than “ring deep” thus giving us a sense of peace about him not wearing one ever. As Eric mentioned if someone is to mistake my husband for available he simply uses the opportunity to express his belief in commitment and loyalty to his wife and family. I believe that God will honor his honesty and commitment and use it as a testimony to these women. In society today I believe there is a value in seeing that there are still committed strong husbands whom will not waver in their vows given the chance.

  6. My husband lost his wedding ring a while back ago…we haven’t replaced it because he is still convinced we will find it, lol. But he has been wearing some cheap-o ring we got at a fair, so that makes us both feel better. It’s not about the ring, like you said, it’s about what it says to others.

  7. No deep insight here, but just reminded me of a story. I took off my ring to work out a couple months ago. The next morning is when I realized it wasn’t in the usual spot I keep it at night while sleeping. Went downstairs remembering where I set it…not there. After tearing the basement apart (twice) and about in tears thinking the dog must have eaten it, Luke came bolting downstairs. He suddenly remembered the night before Cole was trying to point out something to him in this roll of unused carpet we have (unfinished basement). He unrolls the carpet and boom, my ring is in there. Cole had picked it up, put it in there where he likes to hide other balls and things, and then tried to fess up to Luke but Luke didn’t see anything in there the first time. So watch out for Rooney in about a year or so :)

  8. Such a sweet post, Eric. I love wearing my wedding rings, and I love that my husband loves to wear his rings. It’s saved us both on more than one occasion, just being able to hold up our hands and point at our fingers before a stranger says something stupid. It doesn’t always stop the creeps from saying something stupid, but my wedding ring sort of feels like armor. :)

  9. I’m sitting with two wedding rings on, mine and my husband’s. Funny story is he had two … the one he got when we were united in marriage, and the beautiful one with a couple tiny diamonds in it that I gave for our 10 or 15 year anniversary.
    He rarely ever wore the pretty sprakly one because it wasn’t the “real” one.
    In a few months my son will proudly be united in marriage and he will put the “real” one on his finger. United in marriage to the love of his life. My hope is that when he puts his father’s wedding ring on his finger, it will be a symbol of the vow he speaks, and that he will be the husband his father was.
    Rings … truly just a symbol, but truly something shared and special between a husband and wife. Great, thought provoking post. Blessings to you!

  10. Neither my husband nor I wore rings before we got married and it took us a good while to get used to it – which I think is a great metaphor for all the adjusting marriage takes! I also remember the person who married us at our wedding saying about how, when we fiddle with this new awkward piece of jewellery on our hands, we’ll be reminded of the vows we’ve made. It’s true – I like that now the strangeness comes when I’m NOT wearing it, that feeling of absence when I’ve taken the rings of to clean or something – I like that it feels wrong and awkward not to have it on!

    Plus, it’s shiny. Which is always nice. :-)

  11. I think they are so important. I do this weird thing where I always look for a ring, on both men and women. Or I just notice it. I’m a people watcher and analyser so it’s just how I’m wired :)

    And yes, it’s been great for me to see a ring on a guy’s finger before I’ve even had a chance to go there!

  12. A) this is easily one of my fav posts
    B) our wedding rings me the world to me! I’m not one of those types of girls that longs to have an upgrade- the rings I wear are the rings my husband full heartily chose FOR ME, and they’re the ones I began our lives with.
    C) my husbands wedding band is very special. During the wedding planning process, I decided I wanted to carry something down the aisle that represented each grandfather who had previously passed away. I had a necklace that I wore for my Grandaddy but had nothing for my Pop-pop. Knowing this, my Grammy offered my Pop-Pop’s wedding band to be given to my husband as his own–it’s incredibly special.
    D) we always got both of our rings engraved w eachother’s initials and a little saying that’s special just to us.

    I feel similarly to Eric in regards to the significance of wedding rings–to me they’re a symbol that makes me proud and warms my heart.

  13. Also, this English major is ashamed of all the grammatical errors in that post! That’s what I get for posting on my phone and not re-reading it.

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