…I thee wed.
The ring that Anthony gave me on the day he proposed isn’t the ring that binds us, and I love that. I never had, nor did I want to have, my engagement ring and wedding band soldered together. I wanted them to be separate because, at least to me, they mean very different things.
When he proposed he gave me a beautiful, shiny ring that sparkles in the sun even when it is in need of a good cleaning. It is gorgeous, intricately designed with rich symbolism and deep meaning. My wedding band, on the other hand (well, I wear it on the same hand, but you get my point!) is almost boring. It is thin, almost imperceptible next to my engagement ring. There are no diamonds on my wedding band, no engravings, nothing fancy at all, just a simple, steady band.
These two rings, each beautiful in their own way, mean completely different things to me. Sometimes our relationship is like my engagement ring: sparkly, shiny, fancy and glorious. But sometimes our relationship is like my wedding band: simple, almost boring, lacking in flourish. But that’s the thing: it is with the wedding band that we said, “with this ring, I thee wed.” It wasn’t about flashy or fancy, it was about steady and true, sure and reliable. The wedding band is what holds us together, the clarity of our vows, the covenant between us is what matters. We were in love and maybe a little caught up in the moment when we got engaged, but when we got married (not that a wedding isn’t an occasion to be a bit caught up, too) and every day since then, we’ve seen a commitment through. That commitment isn’t always shiny, but it is true and clear.
That isn’t to say it is easy, either. My wedding band, like marriage can be, is hard. It takes a lot, and I mean a lot to change my wedding band. It takes a lot to take two cough stubborn cough people who come into marriage with their own wounds and baggage to change, to grow, but it is worth the effort. Our vocation is our path to heaven and if we are going to heaven then we’ve got a lot of hell to get out of the way first. Sanctity is hard and our wounds run deep, but deeper still is the grace that flows from the Sacrament of Marriage. Even deeper still is Christ’s love and mercy.
So with this ring, the tiny one that is the foundation of everything, the one that hasn’t much shine, the one that has nothing fancy to it, with this ring, I thee wed, day after day, breath after breath. When things get difficult and the hard times come, I look at the band beneath the glimmer and shine and remember what is steady and true, I remember the vows we took, the grace of the Sacrament, and the constancy of our love and commitment. With this ring, this simple and sure band, I thee wed. Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow, too.