As a pastor, I officiate a lot of weddings. It's one of my favorite parts of the "job." I get a front row seat for one of the most beautiful milestone moments a couple will ever experience. I love watching the groom trying to choke back tears when he gets the first glimpse of his bride walking down the aisle. I love how the couple barely hears a word I say during the whole ceremony because they're blissfully lost in each other's eyes and in the magnitude of the moment. I love everything a wedding represents.
One of the most profound parts of the ceremony happens when the Best Man and the Maid of Honor hand me the wedding rings. I place the rings on top of my Bible and talk about how beautiful they are and I usually crack a joke by saying something like, "He went to Jared!" (which only makes sense if you have Jared Jewelers commercials in your area). I then go on to talk about all at the rings represent and I watch as the couple nervously place the rings on each other's hands and stare at them with a look that says, "I'm NEVER taking this off!"
It saddens me that so many couples do take them off. Sometimes it happens because of very practical reasons like skin conditions or work environments that aren't conducive to jewelry, but most of the time, a person simply prefers not to wear it and invents justifications for why it's not really important. Just like Frodo and the Hobbits learned in Tolkien's epic "Lord of the Rings" series, sometimes a ring can have a lot more significance than you see on the surface!
As advocates for stronger marriages, my wife Ashley and I are always encouraging couples to do everything in their power to protect and strengthen their marriages, and YES, this includes wearing wedding rings. We believe wearing a wedding ring is more important than you might think for the following six reasons (in no particular order)...
1. Whether or not you're wearing a ring is one of the first things people notice when they meet you and they'll often make assumptions about your availability and your commitment to your marriage based on the ring's presence or absence.
My grandmother has been a widow for decades, but early in her marriage, my grandfather cheated on her by having multiple affairs. She's never fully healed from those wounds. To this day, when she is talking about a man whether he's a person she knows or a celebrity in the public eye (even pastors), one of her first observations is always either "He's always wearing his wedding ring." Or "He doesn't wear a wedding ring." She makes assumptions about the man's integrity and commitment to his wife based on the ring's presence or absence. While she might be an extreme example, many people will make similar assumptions. We should live to cater to other people's assumptions, but if the simple act of wearing a ring could prevent misconceptions, then why wouldn't you wear it?
2. Your ring is a daily reminder to you that every decision you make will impact your spouse in some way.
A ring is a tangible symbol of the permanent place your spouse should hold in your heart, your schedule and every part of your life. From the moment you said, "I do," every aspect of your life is now connected to your spouse. You're "One" according to the Bible. Everything you do with your time, your words, your money, etc. will impact him/her in some way so the ring is a simple reminder that everything you touch will touch your marriage.
3. Your ring is a symbol of respect for your spouse.
Respect in marriage isn't measured only by what we say. It's often the silent acts and actions that speak the loudest. Respect in marriage is communicated constantly (since marriage is a constant relationship). The ring is one simple way to communicate that respect especially when your spouse has asked you to wear it and/or communicated that it's important to them. If your spouse has asked you to wear it, and you consistently deny their request, then you are consistently communicating disrespect and disregard for his/her feelings.
4. Your ring is a first line of defense against infidelity.
A ring isn't a fail-proof safeguard against infidelity, and it's certainly a simple first line of defense. Wearing a ring subtly communications the message that, "I'm married. I'm committed. My marriage matters to me." If you're trying to be "married undercover" by keeping your marital status a mystery in public, that's NOT healthy. Some people (who have no respect for marriage) may still proposition you while you're wearing a ring, but you can prevent many unnecessary temptations by simply wearing it.
5. Your ring is a visible symbol to your kids that your marriage matters.
If you have children, one of the most important lessons you can teach them is what a marriage should look like. Have the kind of marriage that makes them want to get married someday! Show your kids the beauty of a husband and wife committed to each other in both public and private. This requires MUCH more than just a ring, but the ring will be something they notice and it can provide opportunities for you to talk about why you wear it and what it represents.
6. There aren't really any good reasons for not wearing it!
Like I said at the beginning, there are some practical exceptions to this rule, but overall, when it's simply a matter of preference, why not wear your ring? There are so many positive ways it can help your marriage and really no downside. If your attitude isn't "Well, I shouldn't have to," and instead you think, "I want to always do everything in my power to respect my husband/wife and protect my marriage," then you'll be on the right track.
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