I bought my husband's wedding ring at a bridal expo 18 years and 5 months ago. It was brilliantly shiny, white gold with a brushed texture and simple.
The brushed texture wore out 13 years ago. It's smooth as the 4 baby butts we've created together.
Whereas it used to be as shiny as Mr. Warbuck's forehead, it's about as dull as my kitchen knives (which also date back to our wedding).
It's not even simple anymore. It cracked about 5 years ago in the area where it was sized when we were married. He never told me about the crack.
Before you start skipping all over Tweedle-dum with the metaphors this creates for life and marriage. Let me tell you about my wedding ring.
Kent and I went shopping for it together. The jeweler, named Amir, was a pleasant Middle-Eastern optimist who knew that Kent and I were meant to be together for eternity, especially if we purchased a 4 carat diamond. Amir placed a thin band on my finger and began holding up diamonds of differing size, shape and quality against it. We started at a 1/4 carat and by the end of the appointment we had made our way up to 2 1/4 carat at which point Amir's eyes misted over emotionally, Kent fell off his chair rethinking his entire choice of mate and I smiled warmly. We left with a promise to think about it. Which we did. For approximately 5 minutes.
"Don't you want a wedding band with the diamond?" Kent asked.
"I don't know. I think that's just what you're supposed to do."
"So just the diamond and thin band?"
"And.....whiiiiiiiiiich diamond exactly?" I'd never seen a facial manifestation of prayer on my guys face before that moment. It simply read "Please not the 2 carat, please not the 2 carat." I try to live my life spherically in many directions. I wanted a round diamond. I did NOT choose the 2 carat (you're welcome honey). Kent added two-prongs put onto the four-prong band to ensure the diamonds safety. After selling his car, Odey the Rodeo, to pay for it.
I have worn my ring everyday since. I'm sentimental. I've had to take it off twice while baking and twice while working out. When I had to take it off, I made my Crossfit Open Judge (Jenn-Jenn) or my Coach wear it until I was done. It's thin enough that I can literally do all my things, all the days without any hindrance. We got in an argument one night and he went to play basketball with his buddies. The next morning, I went over to kiss him good bye before I left and to say sorry (I was right, of course, but I would rather be happy then right....thank you Byron Katie;) and he wasn't wearing his wedding ring. I flipped a bit. "It wasn't even that big an argument!!" He calmed me down enough to explain he had taken it off to play ball. "It's fine. I'm fine, you're fine, we're fine." Phew. But that moment, seeing him without his ring, I went from apologetic to unapologetically unhinged in less then 5 seconds. Not a record, but close.
Fast forward from that blessed day of marriage 18 years, 1 month and 3 days ago and now we are walking through a Stinky Festival. I only wish I was kidding. It's a festival named after garlic, the ginormous, elephant, stinky brand of garlic. We've got our two littles hanging off our arms asking for face painting, garlic ice cream, popcorn, "Dr. Coke" (Abe's word for soda), hats, dragon's breath salsa (it's a thing) and whatever else caught their glittering eye. When all of a sudden Kent found a booth boasting Tungsten Carbide Rings for $59.95. Our necks ached from nodding relentlessly to the Sales-lady and her lengthy pitch of pros to be found in this type of ring. One of them caught Kent's fancy and the rest is history. I'm wearing his old ring as my wedding band. He's wearing something shiny and unbroken. Maybe he bought it just to shut her up.
When it comes to marriage (and trust in general probably), I'm a cynic. I'm not proud of it but it is what it is. I attend weddings and I'm like do I tell them now how hard this adventure actually is or should I give them a day to enjoy it. Kent says "Give them a day." It can be soul-refining, huh friends? An utterly joyful refuge and a complete heap of hopeless.
When Kent readily bought himself a 18 years of service ring, it didn't even bug me. I've come a long way from the moments of freaking out when he seldom and randomly took it off. We've come a long way. We've fallen in and out of love with each more times then either of us care to count. We've given up, given in, given our all and in most cases more than our all in an attempt to truly show up for each other. Our anger, heartaches and mistakes could fill the Sahara or at least a portion of it, our memories could swell inside a sprawling mountain lake which continues overflowing on down to the sea. We've never given up at the same time. We've had to change our dance, attempting hundreds of different rhythms, trying to find a routine that works for us. All while juggling this thing called family and life.
Here's the clincher, by loving so consistently I've been made into a better person. Maybe that's the secret. When God asked me to love someone else forever, it's because by attempting to do so, it was the best plan He had for me to become unselfish, patient, learn how to endure and a myriad of other Heavenly qualities I can't develop on my own. . I'm not here to say anything you don't already know or haven't heard. I'm not here to memorialize the institution of marriage because, hand to heaven, I know how hard it is. I will lovingly hold anyone's hand who has felt the full weight of needing to leave a relationship for safety, shelter or sanity.
I am here to celebrate that fact that we are exceptionally normal. Kent has a random Tungsten ring from a random festival to prove it.