The principles of relationships I believe are very much the same whether in life, love or business. If your heart and your soul is connected to what you do, it's not to be taken personally but it is personal. Read the article written for Ethnicities/Etnicidaded magazine how I surpassed a personal bump in the road in my marriage and continued down a stronger path. This is the other part of committed relationships and marriages not usually shown on FB or even discussed in families nor churches. The purpose of this transparency though is to possibly help someone put things in proper perspective, dismiss unrealistic expectations of perfection of what it isn't or squelch that philandering search and temptation of what else could be. This is real.
By the way, I have full consent from my spouse to share our story. I am still
waiting on my own...
What? It was lost? Here we were a week after our 5th year anniversary and his wonderful milestone fun-packed birthday celebration week. How could he be telling me that he had lost his wedding ring somewhere in this week’s festivities? I was so angry at him. Mad, in fact. How and when was it lost or misplaced? Maybe when he took it off on Tuesday to work on the truck and make sandwiches and salads? Maybe it was later that day when he had to wash the truck and had to get underneath to replace the propane. I was angry! I was hurt! And he was going to know it. I was no longer going to wear mine. Let him see how that felt.
Now intellectually I knew a band doesn’t a marriage make but it was sentimentally and spiritually important to me. To us. This was a big deal. These rings had been exchanged in love as we were wed. They had been prayed over, blessed and presented on that beautiful ceremonial day we had just watched by video the week before on our anniversary morning.
I didn't speak to him without ice in my voice for 2 days.
Yes, he tried to connect with me, just smooth things over and move on but I couldn't. I needed some time with this milieu of female thoughts and imaginations running through my head. On day two, I didn’t even want to be around him. I wanted him to sleep in the doghouse, except we don't have a house. Nor a dog. And we live in New York City. A homeless guy is the usual here.
This time was well spent and utilized for me to come back to my full senses. After forty-eight hours of thinking about it all, in between all the things I had to and needed to do, after forty eight hours of being in my feelings, owning them and dissecting them, along with two sister girlfriend conversations, with better sense and some clarity I spoke to him about it all.
I realized I had been afraid.
I was afraid of what people would say. For those gossips and nosy people who had seen him with a ring and now wouldn’t. As a single woman, in today’s society that’s what I typically had used to determine if a man was married given most men’s dubious behaviors today, so now how would other women be able to know he was taken? Even though he, like most of my male friends seem to say that a man with a wedding band somehow seemed to attract more of some women’s attention. What a thing huh? But that’s another conversation for another time. During that time there was so much I thought and over-thought. Did he lose it accidentally, or on purpose? If so, my imagination running wild asked, what does that mean? What did this all mean about us? About him? About me?
As we took some time to talk about it, I expressed that I was angry, disappointed, hurt and afraid. He apologized. I spoke to how important the rings and us wearing them were to me. What it had meant at the beginning of our lives together when he had brought me such a beautiful engagement ring. One that I knew he had invested a lot to purchase, and just in the style that he knew I liked. And I had done the same with him.
But then my usually non-talkative husband also shared how that was so different for him and how although he was sorry and respected the intensity of its meaning to me, he felt that it was an object of that symbolism, not the source or object of the emotions or the strength of our marriage. He could not say that it shared the same weight for him but that he had adorned it and worn it mainly for me. And with or without it, he was the same man and husband. And I was his same wife.
Yes, he certainly felt bad about the loss but in an uncomfortable honesty that I didn’t really like hearing it, I had to listen to his point of view, trying to do so without judgment. He acknowledged my feelings. I thanked him for apologizing. He made me know again that not wearing a ring did not change his integrity, his love, his respect, his honor of me or our marriage. Yes, he apologized yet another time wanting the conversation over and everything forgotten. Not so fast. I let him know that no matter what he said or would say, it didn't control how I felt about the situation immediately. The rest of my feelings about it were mine to manage, not his to fix or take away. He appreciated that release of responsibility. And then we moved on. Warmer and with much better understanding, with more love and more respect.
In this one more lesson of life and marriage here are at least three things I learned or was reminded of that I share with you for your consideration:
1. Feelings are real. But they are only feelings. Temporary. Feelings, no matter how intensely we feel them are not facts. Just responses to statements or realities. We each have our own responsibility for our own emotions. No one makes us do or feel anything. They don’t have that much power.
2. Love unconditionally as our Father loves us. For those days although I love my husband, I didn’t like how the result of the loss, or in my opinion, his carelessness caused me to feel. I didn’t like him or the situation but I still loved him. In the same way, not having a ring hadn’t caused him to love me nor not having or wearing one, wouldn’t cause him to stop either. So I love him unconditionally as my brother in Christ, even if I don’t always like him for the moment as my mate or I am mad at him as my friend.
3. Don't put any earthly relationship, or object, before each other. Yes, intellectually I did know that the ring is only a symbolism, albeit an important one, but was I prepared to put all stakes in it? Was I prepared to put the symbol before the essence? This second point was one of the first, and perhaps best advice, I received at our engagement. Don’t put anything or anyone before each other. If I had that person or that thing, and not him, would my life be better or worse? Would I be happier or not? Which one mattered more to me? Which would I not want to live without? When I pay attention to this, of course he and our happiness together always win.
So there is a ring to be replaced but now with a different meaning and a different symbolism of our growth together after five years of marriage, as well as five years of each of us growing up individually too. I have always said that in a relationship, besides God, there are three people, both human beings, and the “being” that is the relationship. It too grows not only with time but with the experiences and lessons learned.
In full acceptance of accountability for the loss, he will replace it, I will get to select it. Who knows? Maybe a tattoo would be a better choice for a chef who has to wear these thin, tight, powdered gloves often. But, I’m keeping both mine. I love my rings and what they both still mean to me. Maybe one day I’ll share the story and lessons I learned when my jeweler and I both lost two of my wedding ring diamond stones. Twice.