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What's in a ring?

Ruby Taylor-Newton
Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ever heard that popular love song by country singer, Vince Gill, ‘A real lady's man'?

There's a line that goes like this: "Remember the promise, you wear on your left hand, cheating's no companion, for a real lady's man."

And there have been many others like it from various artists which more or less relate wedding rings with cheating. But is this really the case?

When married men or women don't wear a wedding ring or wedding band, what messages are they sending?

Is it intentional, a harmless oversight, unnecessary?

Wearing a wedding band is a symbol of one's commitment and belonging to one's lifelong partner whom you are married to - at least that's what society in general believes.

Consider this. When couples get married, they would have gone out of their way to pick the best wedding bands they deem fit for each to wear "till death do us part."

Many spend months and weeks hunting, searching through duty free shops, jewellers, the internet and magazines for that ideal design, colour, make.

Some even go to the extent of having each other's names engraved or carved in gold or sterling silver on their bands. Others go for the most expensive they can afford, diamond encrusted ones, 22 carat gold ones and so on. Such is the prominence and importance given to wedding bands.

Yet some spheres of the married community sooner than expected - easily forget the reason for that symbol of promise on their left hand, let alone the painstaking journey they took trying to find the "right" one in the first place.

Neverthless, intentional or not, is there any reason to take off that wedding band while you are still bound in marriage?

Nina has had affairs with married men, and she says the reason she even talked to them in the first place was because not one wore a wedding ring.

Later, after she'd slept with them, they'd tell her they were married, and when she asked why they didn't wear rings, they all gave all sorts of explanations : "I just don't like wearing jewellery; or it was too tight for my finger so I had to take it off; I lost it...." and so forth.

Nina said: "All those married women out there whose husbands aren't wearing rings should be worried. It's never an innocent choice."

Seaman, Pita, says he doesn't wear his wedding ring because of the nature of his job. He is a deck hand on an ASP oil tanker

"For the sake of safety, we don't have to wear rings - my ring's at home, " the sailor said.

"Aah...I get used to not wearing it now," he says when asked why he wasn't wearing it in town that day. "But, yeah, it's important," he says.

"My wife always reminds me to put it on, but sometimes when I go to town, I forget to put it on," he says.

"No! that's the last thing I would think of!" he exclaims when asked if the real intention was to get the single ladies to notice him.

Another Naked Finger, Tukana, 45, said his ring went missing.

The farmer said wearing a ring would be more relevant for married men who work in offices or in places where they interact with many females, "so they can see that the man is married," he says.

While some men feel that once you're labelled a ‘married man', you're deprived of the attention of numerous people who might have been interested in you, others say wearing a ring doesn't make any sense if you're not faithful to your partner anyways.

Waisale, a security guard in Suva wears his gold wedding band with pride.

Although he agrees that a wedding band is a symbol to everyone that you are married, he reckons a ring itself doesn't matter, but a man and woman's faithfulness to their life partner.

"The main wedding ring is really your heart - how you love and are faithful to your wife or your husband," he says.

Feroz, a store manager in Suva, doesn't wear his wedding band at work, but only at home.

"After hours it's always on - it's only from 8am to 5pm that I don't wear it."

"Yes, I'm married but I'm not wearing it. ...because it's a brand new ring. Usually when I'm at work, its prone to marks and scratches - I have to be mobile all the time, I have to pick up goods, go around to the store room, open up the big safes and that sort of thing.

"My wedding band is an expensive silver-gold one and when it gets scratches and marks, I have to keep going round to the jewellers to have it polished all over again," he explains.

Feroz says his wife doesn't have a problem with this.

"For the simple reason that she knows my nature, she knows I'm obedient and the reason why I don't wear it to work. And it's an expensive ring anyway."

"I'm not convincing anyone to think I'm not married or anything," he says.

Harold is looking to get married soon in the near future.

He says he will definitely wear a wedding band and keep it on always.

"A ring would mean sacrifice and dedication, perserverence to pursue a new family - if you're married for 10 years or so, it's a sign of your will to be committed in your marriage."

One nightclub bouncer of Suva said he has seen many married people take off their wedding rings and pop them in their pockets when they enter the club.

Then there were those instances when men and women hunted desperately for their missing bands/rings afterward when it was time to go home.

Andrew, a mechanic in Suva says we need to call a spade a spade.

Isn't the main reason all these guys go bandless is so that they can flirt with single women?" he says.

"If they didn't plan on wearing them, why go through the expense of buying rings and having a wedding?

"The point is that married men don't need to be galavanting around as if they're single. Period. If a man is truly committed to his marriage, then he should wear his ring."

David, a 32-year-old tradesman minus his wedding band, says he often gets attention from women who assume he's single.

"I like messing around with that a little bit, where you can flirt a little and not mention that you're married."

Edward just got married and values the wedding band on his finger.

"This means two people coming together - the significance of the ring being round like a circle means their love never ending," he says.

There's two reasons why men don't wear a ring," Edward says.

"One reason would be they're not into material things. Their love is more important than a piece of jewellery. The other reason would be that they are trying to hide that they're married, and still be available to the ladies."

Nicole, of Nadi, married to Matt for 15 years, says many men don't treat this honor of ring wearing with the respect it deserves.

"Marriage is both an honor and a sacred pact between a man, a woman and God. The ring is supposed to be the "symbol" of this sacred pact. Society today has taken the ring and deemed it unnecessary for men to wear them. I find this more than a little sad.

I never really concerned myself with how important it should be for the man to show his loyalty until I became a Christian. Until I understood the importance of marriage and unity. The fact that Matt wears his ring speaks volumes as to the integrity of the man I am married to.

Nicole says listening to her co-workers talk about their frustrations with their non-ring wearing husbands gives her a secret satisfaction, and makes her glad she waited as long as she did for Matt.

"It was worth it," she says..

"Yet, I find that I am still saddened by the nonchalant attitude placed on the value of the wedding ring in today's society. So many men state they are married and there is no solid evidence for the world to see. I am bothered by the fact that their job descriptions impair them from wearing or they simply do not place enough importance on it. I guess it all boils down to their foundational beliefs, which makes me once again grateful that I waited for a man who believes in God's design on marriage," she adds.

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