The groom is staring at his bride with the intensity of the love he feels. The bride, with glistening eyes can feel her heart thumping, threatening to burst the seams of her tightly gripping corset. It is finally happening; the love of her life is gliding the ring down that special finger on her left hand.
And just like that, the symbol of marital unity is there for the world to see. The band, that binds, worn by both parties… as evidence of their union. It’s very cute…and very Mills& Boony… but that’s not what usually happens.
Sometimes, people just don’t wear their wedding rings.
My Alobam, Mo, has been getting a lot of flack for not wearing his wedding band. I mean, he just got married, and he lives in Lagos. What does he expect? It’s not like our people are not particularly known for minding their business or having filters. Of course he should have known this was coming.
“Someone had the effrontery to say my not wearing the ring is a sign that I’m not committed. Can you imagine that? Three ceremonies and they need more evidence of my commitment?”
I love the way Mo gets uppity,
accent and all,when he’s trying to prove a point. “Three ceremonies and I still need to wear a ring to show I’m in this for real?”
“Yeah, Mo. I know what the word commitment means”.
“Maybe when I finally get that titanium ring I really want, I’ll start wearing”
We’re yet to agree on what sets his accent off; but one thing we did agree on yesterday, was the fact that the wedding band is a Western construct and not “inherently African”. It is not a product of “our culture”. The inclusion of wedding rings in our marriage proceedings is one of those things that we have selectively agreed to imbibe from our ‘godless Western friends’.
It is commonly believed that wedding rings are a marker of intent to be faithful. But the idea of that is ludicrous. Can you imagine a piece of jewellery being a deterrent of someone who REALLY wants to have sex with you? Think about it slowly… It takes a really disciplined/principled person to back away from someone who is married – no matter how attractive you find them.
There’s also the issue of what gender is ‘socially expected’ to wear their rings. One time, my cousin lost a lot of weight and her wedding band became really loose. Her husband threw a temper tantrum – attributing the conspicuous absence of her ring to the new role she got at work. For weeks, she tried to defend herself, saying it was loose and was always falling off her finger. If he wanted her to wear a band, he had to buy a new one. At that point, he stopped complaining. Way to go cousin!
Another relative of mine who works in health services found that she had to take off her ring every time she had to see patients, so she started wearing it as a pendant on her gold chain. Then she had a baby and suddenly it wasn’t such a good idea. So, she put her ring away. When her husband complained, she quickly reminded him that the only time he had ever worn his own wedding band, was on their wedding day. Touché
My friend pointed out that for some women, the wedding band isn’t just a mark that they’re not fodder for chatting up. Instead, it’s more like a band that separates ‘the wheat from the chaff’. You know how it is over on our side of the pond – the way we equate marriage to fulfilment and perfection. The wedding band, in that instance becomes a symbol of “God has turned my sorrow into gladness” – or something along those lines. I didn’t quite understand it.
For some people, a ring is just an added accessory. It’s beautiful, it’s glittery and it makes their fingers look nice. When they get too fat for their wedding band, they simply buy another one. There’s no overthinking it or making too much of a life-altering deal about it.
At the end of the day, true commitment is from the heart. I do not believe that there is a hard and fast rule that really makes your wedding ring The Band That Truly Binds. It doesn’t.
Gold. Silver. Titanium. It doesn’t matter if you wear it on your neck, or you tattoo it on your finger, like all symbols, a ring is just that… a symbol of love, fidelity and truth.
Be true to yourself. Be happy. Try to bring joy to people around you. Don’t forget to share your thoughts on the subject of wedding bands: yay or nay!
Peace, love & celery sticks.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Billie Muller