Are you struggling in your marriage? Here’s how my wedding ring helped me fight for my marriage.
“Where’s your wedding ring?” Melanie asked.
Hot showers. At night before I went to sleep. Scorching summer days when my fingers would swell. I consistently seemed to have a reason to take my wedding ring off.
The occasion that vexed my husband the most was when I wouldn’t wear it at our local gym.
I wasn’t trying to give the impression that I was available. My fingers would swell, making my ring tight and causing it to rub against my skin. It was unpleasant to wear during workouts.
With all of these occasions to take it off, I was found without my wedding ring more often than I was found with it.
Such was the case when my long-time friend from college, Melanie, noticed I didn’t have it on and inquired about it.
After I explained all the reasons for removing it, Melanie smirked. Her reaction reminded me of the conversation we’d just concluded. It was all about how my children are “comfort kids”—my words, not hers—and didn’t want to do anything that caused them pain or discomfort.
“How about you provide an example for your children by enduring a little pain and discomfort yourself and keep your wedding ring on?” she challenged me.
“Keep it on through your showers, your sleep, your sweating, your swelling,” Melanie said. “Slowly but surely, your skin will adjust, toughen up, soften, or a bit of both. You’ll wear that ring without even noticing it anymore. It will become a part of you—one with you.”
I decided to take my friend up on her challenge—and I’m so glad I did.
How My Wedding Ring Helped Me Fight for My Marriage
That was several years ago. At the time, I was twelve years into a difficult marriage.
When we were first married, my husband and I were wild about each other. But, as with many couples, the stressors of everyday life, raising children, and a load of our own sinful baggage made for a disillusioning and, at times, despair-filled union.
We fought hard for our own way. We each wanted to be heard, understood, and loved.
But we also fought hard to get it right. We sought to love each other well, to understand, to trust, and to forgive.
Twelve years in, God brought about a number of significant changes in our lives that inaugurated a new season of hope for our marriage.
One big change was that we started seeing a professional Christian counselor. The time and money we invested proved to be both profitable and priceless.
And, the small gesture of keeping my wedding ring on my finger ended up not being such a small gesture.
Why Wearing My Wedding Ring Did Matter
I hadn’t realized what a profound metaphor my ring was and what it displayed about my commitment to my marriage.
Through counseling, I was able to be honest about my lack of trust, not just in my husband, but in God as well. My lack of trust provoked several self-protecting behaviors, only one of them being to take my ring on and off.
But, after we started counseling and I took Melanie’s challenge, that all changed.
By God’s grace, I saw what I was doing—if only in my thought life. In daydreaming about a potential out, I never allowed myself to be fully in.
I had to refuse to take off my ring. I had to sit with the pain of it, letting it swell, sweat, chafe, and even bleed. I had to trust that I would come to the other side of pain and, as I adjusted, my ring would become one with my finger.
In a similar way, I had to refuse to entertain ways of escape from the hardships of my marriage. I had to sit in the painful moments of becoming one, trusting that my full, unreserved commitment to my husband wouldn’t leave me injured and empty, but rather healed and full.
Only after I gave myself unreservedly to the permanence of that ring did my skin indeed begin to adjust and eventually heal. It created a well in my finger where that ring now sits comfortably.
And, only after I gave myself unreservedly to the permanence of my marriage did I begin to see greater vulnerability from my husband. It was then that greater trust developed between the two of us, healing started, and we made progress in the process of becoming one.
It’s my prayer that you too will make progress in the process of becoming one. Perhaps the sharing of my story will—as Melanie’s words did for me—encourage you to embrace the pain of permanence* and unleash a new season of trust, intimacy, and possibly even comfort within your own marriage.
*Author’s Note: By “pain of permanence,” I in no way mean that a person should embrace the pain associated with abuse of any kind. I am speaking here about the pain endured as we are sanctified by grace to become more like Christ. It is a glorious process but often a painful one, too. If you are experiencing abuse of any sort, please reach out to a professional care provider to help you discern what the best next steps are for you to take on behalf of both you and your spouse. Check out the National Domestic Violence Hotline for resources and help.
Welcome to Ungrind!
Do you want to be inspired, motivated, and equipped to live the everyday story of your life well?
If so, you’re in the right place. Whether you need encouragement in your relationships or in your faith, I hope you’ll find the transparent voices of mentors and friends here at Ungrind.
So, grab a cup of coffee and keep reading. We're so glad you're here!
Ashleigh Slater, Founder & Managing Editor
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-- Suzanne Hadley Gosselin, author of Expectant Parents: Preparing Together for the Journey of Parenthood
"Real life is not always pleasant. Every marriage experiences disappointments, misunderstandings, sickness and financial crisis. Ashleigh doesn’t camouflage the pain in her own marriage, and offers practical ideas on how to walk through the difficulties and find intimacy on the journey. If you are anything like me, I predict that as you read, you too will find yourself laughing, wiping tears, and saying 'Oh, yes.'"
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