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Atoke’s Monday Morning Banter: With This Ring, I Thee Bind

Atoke

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“With this ring, I thee wed…”

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.

Atoke CheeriosOn the flip side, I’ve heard people say that the ring is the attraction. According to them, the ring means there’s no fear of anything serious – just some light flirtation that leads to nowhere!

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.

Toodles!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Billie Muller

You probably wanna read a fancy bio? But first things first! Atoke published a book titled, +234 - An Awkward Guide to Being Nigerian. It's available on Amazon. ;)  Also available at Roving Heights bookstore. Okay, let's go on to the bio: With a Masters degree in Creative Writing from Swansea University, Atoke hopes to be known as more than just a retired foodie and a FitFam adherent. She can be reached for speechwriting, copywriting, letter writing, script writing, ghost writing  and book reviews by email – [email protected]. She tweets with the handle @atoke_ | Check out her Instagram page @atoke_ and visit her website atoke.com for more information.

42 Comments

  1. Ammagh

    June 29, 2015 at 11:45 am

    Atoke u r so on point! I have actually heard a lot of people say they are attracted to people who have on wedding bands. Well committed people would never cheat even when they do not have their bands on . It’s an individual mindset not some ring doing the “magic”. Enjoy your day BN fam.

  2. Daisy

    June 29, 2015 at 11:50 am

    With this ring , I wed thee! That ´,s where it all begins and end within me. I see at as part of the wedding proceedings. Just like the cake cuttings and aso-ebi. I didn,t wear my ring for the first four years of my marriage because I was not happy with the marriage. Wearing it daily served as a painful reminder of the permanent problem I have put myself in.
    Fast forward to the 5th year, I saw a cool ring that I loved and I decided to buy it. Now I wear the ring as a wedding band . I look at it daily as a symbol of love by myself , to myself.
    Until my heart and live truly sync with my husband”s, I see the ring as a fashion statement and not a band that binds.

    • ChicadimplesNG

      June 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Chai!
      Nne, it is well.

    • Blah blah

      June 29, 2015 at 12:47 pm

      Why did you enter such a marriage with your eyes wide open? Where you coerced? I am asking because I am 27 and no bobo I genuinely like in sight. I have been advised by too many people that the love will grow. Is that what you told yourself? I am curious o.

    • Fashionista

      June 30, 2015 at 10:31 am

      Please it is a lie, the love has to be there in the first place for anything to grow. If you’re not passionately in love with a man, please don’t marry him. Just talking about my experience.

    • Maggie

      June 29, 2015 at 4:03 pm

      There is nothing God cannot do, take it to him in prayer and he will definitely hear you my dear.

    • KGB

      June 30, 2015 at 2:03 pm

      God does not tamper with the will of men; he gave us free will. People ‘falling’ in love after marriage is an extremely rare exception, not the norm. Please nobody should try it.

      Source – experience.

    • Tee

      June 30, 2015 at 8:58 am

      I laughed while reading your comment, but on the other hand, here is praying that your heart and live will be in sync with your husband soonest.

    • Chy

      March 19, 2016 at 9:38 am

      I feel you. Am in the same situation. I pray everyday for a way out of the marriage.

  3. Scared Homosapien

    June 29, 2015 at 11:55 am

    Much ado about wedding rings!
    My own is that if you want me to wear ring all my life, make it a single ring and it has to be BLACK!

  4. Ese_sleek

    June 29, 2015 at 11:57 am

    (knocks)kokoko
    who is in?
    looks like I got here first today…

  5. bruno FIERCE

    June 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    first of, I can not wait to put a ring on my boo. Thanks to the supreme court ruling, I can finally put a ring on it, if I like and u should know by now that I like it.

    I’m going to get married before many of u ladies. looooool that must be very painful for many of u desperate girls. lol

    if we are married, u better wear ur wedding ring at all times. the only time u should take it off is when ur cooking me dinner or when ur taking ur bath (with me) or doing laundry. etc.
    when ur in public, u better wear that ring. the last thing I want is for thirty boys to be perching on my property.

    The ring is a warning sign, DO NOT TOUCH MY PROPERTY, UNLESS U WANT MY TROUBLE.

    many of u people will see a man/woman wearing a ring and u will still continue to flirt and throwing ur self at the man/woman. warn ur selves oh.

    • Abena

      June 29, 2015 at 12:43 pm

      LOOOL,with this very comment,Bruno is going to blow up this post !Oh boy…sipping on some chapman and waiting for the drama to roll innnnn..My Monday just become interesting

    • Debee!

      June 29, 2015 at 1:06 pm

      Lol! I feel u

  6. Fashionista

    June 29, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Wearing a ring cannot “set you right”. An adult will do whatever he or she wants to do ring or no ring. I completely understand a spouse who wears his/her ring being upset if their partner doesn’t wear theirs, but rather than fight about it every waking hour, its time to just accept that they simply don’t see it the way you do (deep sigh). They are not necessarily mapping out how to go and play outside, its just something they are not keen on doing. Do ya’ll realize that leaving the house with a ring on and returning with it on, doesn’t necessarily mean its been on all day? Think about that. Choose the more significant battles – If you feel its right in your heart, just dwell on that.

  7. Aleesha

    June 29, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Abeg the ring saves me the trouble of checking out another woman’s husband biko! Imagine making goo goo eyes at a cute guy and then finding out he’s married? No need for that kain hembaraizment. On the flip side, I suppose it saves a woman the trouble of having to fend off unwanted advances. Other than that, it does not guarantee fidelity.

  8. ChicadimplesNG

    June 29, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    a ring is just an added accessory. It’s beautiful, it’s glittery and it makes their fingers look nice…Dats me.
    Thankfully, dh doesn’t mind.

  9. Ese_sleek

    June 29, 2015 at 1:08 pm

    well, for some people, d ring actually serves as a constant reminder of their vows n deir marital status…
    it goes off the hand for reasons best known to the individuals..
    I really don’t see how it stops one from cheating if he or she is bent on cheating…
    if people actually consulted their wedding rings b4 cheating or doing otherwise, broken marriages for no plenty like dis…
    Anywz, me love the idea of seeing the rings on the married ones cause it saves us the trouble of knowing how many single MEN or women wen still dey…

  10. busola

    June 29, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    My dad doesn’t wear a wedding ring since the first week of his marriage. His argument is that it is uncomfortable, and he’s been married to my mum for 27 years. My mum does not make a big deal out of it. Although at times she mentions it is good thing to wear it to scare the ladies off. lol

  11. Ann

    June 29, 2015 at 1:26 pm

    Abeg, abeg, abeg. Let’s call a spade a spade, most nigerian men don’t wear their ring because they want to cheat!!! And then have the guts to throw tantrums if their wife dares to leave the house without it.

  12. cleo

    June 29, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    I am a lady, i tried to wear rings as a fashion statement, but lo and behold the regular mallam rings and costume rings didn’t fit, cos i have got this thick fingers that finding a size is difficult. As i grew older i found my size, i was very uncomfortable wearing them, so i gave up on rings entirely.
    I always wonder if i would be able to wear a wedding band. Maybe if it is pure gold, since it it light metal, i might adjust. Till then before i find out.I might just wear it on my neck-chain if i cant adapt to wearing it on my finger
    I feel rings help to know where to flirt and hope for. As a single lady hoping to marry, if i see i a ring, i back off. However, i am aware that it does not deter men from cheating or girls from chasing after them. It also helps me to address married women to be “politically correct”.
    that said, ring does not a marriage stronger or better, nor does the lack of ring destroy a marriage.

  13. The real D

    June 29, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    “A ring don’t block no hole” that was the response I got from former co workers when I mentioned a need to start wearing my wedding band to work to deter a certain somebody’s “interest”. These co workers are 100% Westerners (Caucasians) too. When I heard this I was flabbergasted. Reading this article made me rethink my response, I had told them it sure blocked this particular hole with the exception of one. But really it is not the ring that “blocks” any hole but ones convictions. I cannot wear rings at work due to the nature of my work. But I like it for aesthetics.
    However, on another note, Ms. S.A, I had left you a message on Atoke’s write up for last week. Just hoping you saw it. My sincere apologies to Atoke and BN community at large.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 29, 2015 at 4:14 pm

      [Note to other readers: below message is to D, with my apologies to everyone else in advance for cluttering this blog space]

      Ewoo! ?? I’m very sorry to have missed your past message. You must have been thinking, “wetin dey worry that gal, sef?”; didn’t vex, biko. This was the email address you left – [email protected] (have to admit I thought it looked a bit odd) and if that’s still the one to use, I shall hail you with it. ?

      As for the response of your work colleagues, I’ve often found mine to be generally scandalous but I have to say that they demonstrate a surprising traditional stance when it comes to the trappings of matrimony. The rate at which the babes dey tension bobos for engagement ring made me realize that naija chicks don’t have a monopoly on marriage fever. And once it and the wedding bands are on, they stay on. The guys are similarly keen on rocking their own jewelry… although, I wonder if it’s the fear of ensuing gossip which won’t allow anyone enjoy the luxury of “forgetting” their rings on any given day. In case you na your matter wey the office fit use for water cooler gist until the end of 2015… ??

    • The real D

      June 29, 2015 at 6:50 pm

      Yes, the Email is “different” but also right and active. I am looking forward to reading from you.

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 30, 2015 at 10:02 am

      Will do! ?????

  14. Anna

    June 29, 2015 at 2:30 pm

    I’m struggling to be comfortable with the concept of not wearing rings.
    I’m not saying that all the reasons given aren’t potent ie it doesn’t restrict you from cheating with or without but if we both agreed to include the exchanging of rings in the ceremony then what is the big deal wearing it if you know your partners is opposed to you going on without it. I mean if you were so adverse to the idea in the first place, why buy it? should that not be left out of the ceremony
    Call me childish or whatever, but once we exchange those vows, my husband will wear his.. property tings ahaha…. It’s one of those things that are so commonplace and harmless that I struggle to see why anyone would want to challenge that status-quo heavily if they did not have bad intentions. For many years a wedding band has been one of the symbols associated with marriage, western tradition or not…That is how I have identified those that are married and those that are single. For instance, I started working at a new company and I saw a hot guy exactly my type.. he didn’t have on his wedding band & I thought oooh prospect!!!…. the next day came and it was on his finger… my eye no look that one since. I’m guessing he may have forgot to put it on one day, bc it has been on there ever since.
    Again I’m not saying it promises fidelity, but I’m definitely saying that if my partner wanted to go without it, I expressed my concerns and he was still vehement about not wearing the ring, I would definitely give him the side eye and take off mine too seeing as we’re having a ringless marriage.

    • Tosin

      June 30, 2015 at 3:13 am

      me i don’t notice on men or women. and if i had to guess, i won’t be wearing nothing.

  15. debbie

    June 29, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    true, wearing wedding rings does not guarantee fidelity but then it makes it easy to identify married ones which will also gauge how we relate with them.
    years ago, i met a fine bobo, with no rings and i assumed he was single. we went out a couple of times and he visited me at work too ..plus PDA
    the next time I saw him, he had his ring on! i was so shocked and embarrassed….frolicking with a married somebody…and d foolish man had the effrontery to ask if him being married was a big deal.
    and just imagine, people who knew him who had seen us together would have concluded i was a shameless husband snatcher!
    married men/women, biko, wear una rings o…make we know the single people wey remain.

  16. ch

    June 29, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    A ring is d smallest cuff ever made,pls all unmarried BNERS should choose their prison mates carefully,thats all for now!

  17. Angiee

    June 29, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Truthfully and honestly speaking, there is nothing that strips me more when I see a guy putting on his wedding ring. Truth be told, 90% of our men DO NOT wear their wedding rings for some reasons best known to them among which include to cheat on their wives. Thank you for this write up cause I have decided that if baby boo would not be wearing his ring after our wedding then ain’t got no explaining to do for not wearing mine. Shikina…

  18. Angiee

    June 29, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    ‘trips’

  19. Neo

    June 29, 2015 at 7:08 pm

    Dear Married Men, Please wear your wedding rings if not for you, then for the sake of we the single, Do u know how much energy it takes to flirt? Sheesh. You coulda saved me all that now. Then when the slimy ones initiate the flirting and we flirt back we feel bad afterwards (that’s if we are fortunate enough to have it end at flirting) The best reason i’ve heard for not wearing ring is that it didnt match the wristwatch. Oya buy one in every colour na, u can match with red pant sef!

    • Ese_sleek

      June 29, 2015 at 8:25 pm

      lol @ it didn’t match the wristwatch..
      excuse of lyf

    • Mz Socially Awkward...

      June 30, 2015 at 10:10 am

      I have a recently married friend who always said from the beginning of time that she’ll need two sets of wedding jewelry (I.e. the engagement and wedding rings) – one in white gold and the second in yellow gold. Her rationale was that she would be wearing those rings all the time so they have to match everything at every time.

      Na real quarrel wey the thing wan cause with her Mister but she eventually got her way in the end.?? And may The Lord help her on the day that she now forgets to wear any of them… ?

    • Doxa

      June 30, 2015 at 7:54 pm

      Don’t laugh o. I have though of having two wedding bands too, one in yellow gold and the other in silver to match my wristwatch and other jewellery I may be wearing at the time. Sebi so far I have a ring on nau?

  20. Miss Anonymous

    June 29, 2015 at 11:09 pm

    Na wa for this marriage issue!

    Speaking of which I went to see the play “Single in Gidi ” yesterday. It was really nice. Good cast and all.

    The play was a satire and generally mirrored the misconceptions both sexes usually have about howto find “the one”.At the end of it all none was wiser though.

    It’s best not to over analyse these things IMO.

  21. ICARELESS

    June 30, 2015 at 6:06 pm

    Some churches do not join couples with ring, but the bible,in that case,what do we do.
    i was joined in a Redeemed Church with a bible and i do not think there should be any fuzz about the wearing of ring.
    Staying faithful in your marriage is a personal choice,with or without the ring if some silly men still find the lady attractive to them they still chase.

  22. Tru

    July 1, 2015 at 12:04 pm

    Me o, I assume everyone I meet is married until clearly stated otherwise. I can’t deal biko.

  23. manb4real

    July 1, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Wedding rings, well many married men dont remember to put it on, as much as there are some who deliberately dont wear it for reasons best known to them. It doesnt promise fidelity in marriage but it identifies one as either married or single, as for the ‘God has answered my prayer’ part, I’m not sure.

  24. S

    July 3, 2015 at 12:04 am

    It really depends on our convictions. I had a recent revelation personally. And those vows before God is a covenant and its a vow not to be taken lightly. He ring is a symbol of that vow.
    Clue any attack on your marriage left up your ring in establishing your vow.
    As for me not interested in married men. But if one is attracted to one check yourself. Born of you have the spirit of lust at work.
    Do not choke your moral compass and feed on your flesh.
    The ring is very powerful and symbolic takes revelation to see this.

  25. "changing moniker"

    April 28, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Ahoy Stoke seems like most people forgot to congratulate No on his nuptials….
    Question for Mo, do you ever comment on A toke ‘ posts? If you do what’s your moniker?
    I’ll be back for your response.

  26. "changing moniker"

    April 28, 2016 at 9:31 pm

    Atoke
    Mo
    Pls pardon autocorrect

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