Two Rings

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I haven’t worn a wedding ring in several years, on account that I’ve lost not just one, but two — both in the yard here at the house. The first one I lost the second year we were here, while I was out playing with Athena; it just slipped off my finger. This led to both Krissy and me searching the yard in vain, Krissy with a metal detector. This is the problem when you have five acres of lawn; that’s a lot of ground to cover.

Krissy gave the second ring to me on Christmas Eve three years ago; that ring lasted a little over 12 hours before I lost it, playing with Athena in the snow. Krissy, who had every right to be righteously angry with me about losing a second ring so soon after she had gotten it, just laughed instead; that probably had something to do with the fact that I was so hangdog depressed at the fact that I’d lost the ring that there was very little she could have done to make me feel any worse than I already did.

That’s where the ring situation stood for the last three years. I went ringless because, among other things, I was mildly terrified of losing a third ring; it seemed like one of those “three strikes and you’re out” sort of things. On a day-to-day basis this wasn’t a problem, but it did have the interesting side effect of making women I had just met while I was away from my wife suspicious of me. I would talk about my wife and they would reflexively check my hand and notice that the ring was not there. This implied either I was one of those men who refused to wear a ring, which has misogynist undertones (not good), or that I had taken the ring off while I was away from my wife (really not any better). Then I would have to break out the “I lost two rings playing in the yard with my child” story, which, while effective in making me the object of feminine pity, is one I’d rather not have to break out every time I meet someone of the XX-chromosome persuasion.

Forward to Friday, our tenth anniversary, and I’ve decided that I’ve been foolish about this ring thing long enough. Fact is, I want to wear a ring — I want to have a clear and obvious symbol of my marriage, and the tenth anniversary of our marriage seems like a fine time to symbolically recommit. So I went and I got another ring. Nothing expensive, mind you (the paranoia about losing a third ring was still there). Just a simple gold band, like the other two rings I had. I slipped it on my finger in the store and wore it home.

I didn’t show it to Krissy in any obvious way; I didn’t get it for that reason. I should have been wearing a ring all this time, so I didn’t want it to seem like a big deal that I was wearing one now. Of course she noticed anyway, and after a moment of surprise at seeing something she wasn’t expecting on my ring finger, she seemed pleased.

Off we went to dinner, and during dinner we talked about the last ten years and the things that have gone into making the marriage work: Love, honesty, devotion and so on, but then Krissy added that the ability to surprise each other also helped. This seemed fairly cryptic until Krissy came around the table and presented with a second ring. Krissy got me the ring because she knew I wanted another, and she decided that I had been silly long enough about it.

The irony here was that as I was going to get my ring, I considered the idea that Krissy might have gotten me a ring, and that maybe I should wait. But the fact is, I didn’t want to wait. I wanted to wear a ring on my anniversary. The sudden appearance of a second ring didn’t make my decision any less correct; it merely confirmed it was the right thing to do.

I love that Krissy and I both had the same idea at the same time, and for the same reasons. This is the one of the true blessings and strengths of our marriage — we get each other and understand how the other works, and we sense what the other needs and wants and we go out of our way to make it happen. I love that I had two wedding rings on my anniversary. It says good things about me. It says good things about my wife. It says good things about us. It says good things about our marriage.

Of course, on a day to day basis, two rings is one ring too many. The ring I bought is going back to the store, since the ring Krissy got me is nicer, and also only an idiot would not wear the ring given to him by his wife.

You ask: and just what happens if I lose this ring? Well, the answer lies in the inscription Krissy had etched in the inside of the ring, which in itself serves as incentive to keep track of this one:

THE NEXT ONE IS A TATTOO.

34 thoughts on “Two Rings

  1. *sniff* That’s such a beautiful engraved sentiment. That’s exactly the sort of thing the women in my family would do, too.

    I don’t really get why it would be misogynistic not to want to wear a ring. I know enough people who react badly to metals or who have sweaty hands or just generally have reasons not to want to wear one that I wouldn’t have thought of that at all.

  2. bwahahahaha!

    I actually do know of people who have gotten ring-tattoos, because they work in fields such as construction where a ring can be unsafe.

    Mris, I think John’s point was that there are men who think jewelry is sissy and good enough for the wife to wear, but not for them. (And of course there are men who are afraid it will impact their extramarital dating prospects.)

  3. Yup, Mythago has it. There are legitimate reasons not to wear a wedding band, but in my experience people assume the worst if you’re married and not wearing one.

  4. Krissy just cracks me up.

    My husband was very uspet when I stopped wearing my ring about 10 years ago. Really, I had no business wearing one at all, because rings cause me considerable pain when I suffer a flare (I have RA), but, you know, you’re “supposed to” wear the ring.

    Flash forward to last year, husband has developed a condition which makes it excruciating for him to wear his ring. Now he’s mad that I wasn’t upset about him taking his off! DOH!

  5. Yeah, I had that thought too, when Krissy pulled out the second ring. Except we’re not desperately poor, one of the rings in in use, and we were able to return the second one for a full refund. Small but telling details.

  6. Funky photo.

    I stopped wearing a ring because it gets in the way too much when I’m at the gym.

    It doesn’t matter to me what people think.

  7. Oh, man — Krissy RULES.

    I was reading this out to my husband, who had to laugh — he didn’t wear a wedding ring for the first ten years of our marriage because he’d never worn jewelry in his life and his dad didn’t wear a ring.

    When women kept making passes at him, however, (English accent in Texas — you do the math), he finally decided that he wanted a ring as a way to fend off casual interest. Now he panics every time he gets out of the shower, trying to make sure he remembers to put the ring back on. It’s cute.

  8. I have two rings, also – the original filigree gold band and the silver one we got when hubby broke his gold one – but I don’t wear either of mine (which, for a woman, is certainly not the norm). Why? Basically because I’m just not a jewelry person. It really bothers me to wear any jewelry that I can feel. I do wear the very small and very simple (yet very precious to me) two-hearts ring hubby got me one Valentine’s Day. I guess since it is so light and “fluffy” (basically filigree hearts on a thin band) I can barely feel it and it doesn’t bother me like most rings and stuff do.

    With the bands, though, especially the heavier silver version, I was always fiddling with them and twisting them – they never set quite right and they always bugged me.

    Another reason I prefer to go bandless (note: this is a personal viewpoint only, and one which I fully accept is not common) is that I feel more married without the band in that since I have no “early warning system” to ward off the opposite sex, I have to be more visibly married in my speech and actions to avoid misunderstandings. Ergo, in all interpersonal situations, my marriage stays more aggressively “top of mind” with no backup system to rely on, which actually feels more binding to me (in a good way) on a deeper level than wearing a visible symbol of that bond does. Like I said, purely a personal thing, but it works for me. And hubs is relatively indifferent either way. He’s a contractor and as far as I can recall he rarely wears his either, working or otherwise.

    We were thinking about going the tattoo route, though. We figure that after 17 years, even if it all goes belly up tomorrow the marriage should leave some sort of permanent scar. :-D

  9. That picture looks like it was done with an electron microscope, and you’ve got incredibly tiny hands. (T-rex, eat your heart out.)

    You could Photoshop some magnified fly heads or mites around your hands, and they’d look right at home.

    (Which is not to say that your actual hands are actually surrounded by actual flies and actual mites. Just to be clear.)

  10. Oh, and did you consider a pair of those bone-rings, grown from your own bone?

    There’s a company that has started doing that.

  11. My husband started playing kickball early this year. The night of the first game, I was at home and he called after the game ended. I asked how it went and he said, “Fine, but I have some bad news.” And he sounded awful. Just awful. I had that split-second freakout, thinking about the various things that could be wrong: he smashed the car, he got hurt in the game, he’s at the hospital. So I’m all kinds of worried and he says, “I lost my ring.”

    I was quite relieved, naturally, and never got mad at him. He and his teammates looked all over the field, but it was poorly lit and they never found it.

    It happened to be Valentine’s Day week, so we just went out and bought him a new ring. I’ve informed him that it means we need to renew our vows, either someplace incredibly romantic or in Vegas at some tacky chapel in a service done by an Elvis impersonator. I have also informed him that he gets a tattoo if he loses this ring.

  12. My husband lost his ring in the garden once, but I found it (along with five rusty nails, an old quarter, and our survey stake) with the aid of a rented metal detector.

    I have a good friend whose father lost his wedding ring down one of the vent holes in his car. I actually saw it happen: he’d been fiddling with it, and when he put his hands on the steering wheel, it popped off, skittered across the dashboard, and fell into one of the vent holes. Unfortunately, in this car, you have to take the whole dashboard apart to get something that’s fallen down one of those holes, which was going to cost a lot. So he went ringless for a while, until his wife bought him a new one for their anniversary. Then when they junked the car, a few years later, he had someone take apart the dash and find the ring. He now wears both rings, one on each hand. When someone asks him why (they usually look like they think maybe he has two wives) he says, “This one’s because she took me, and this one’s because she kept me.”

    I think my favorite part of this story is the inscription.

  13. I actually considered getting a tattoo instead of a wedding ring, because I’ve never worn jewelry and thought I’d have a hard time getting used to it. And then I thought, well, lots of guys who have never worn jewelry have gotten used to wearing wedding rings, and if I get a ring, then I don’t have to have a tattoo placed in what I am given to understand is a blindingly painful spot to get a tattoo.

    And I did get used to the ring, although it does fall off every now and again. But I’m pretty good about going into the defensive “curled fingers” position when I’m in a situation where it would really be a disaster if it fell off.

  14. I never really wore rings… so I call my current wedding band my “training wheels”. It’s made of titanium, so is ridiculously lightweight… and it has a rounded-squarish external profile, thus flatish sides for my neighboring fingers to lay against… Can hardly tell I’m wearing it… We plan to upgrade for our 5 year anniversary probably… I should be able to adapt by then… ;D

    No tattoos for me.

  15. I have a friend who wears his ring on a chain around his neck because he works with his hands so much. An option?

    You and Krissy are an inspiration to foiled romantics everywhere. Keep it up!

  16. Awesome story…

    Gutsy move returning the other ring. If I were you, I’d keep it as the “backup” ring, to wear during those times between you losing a ring & one of you buying you a new one.

    Color me practical…

  17. John, your wife is just plain cool. Thanks for an anecdote that is both genuinely heartwarming and really damn funny…

  18. In my father’s generation, only some married men wore wedding rings. Now, virtually all of them do. (In fact, I recall in my early days in journalism, in the women’s department, a wedding notice would take note whether it was a “double-ring ceremony.”) It’s amazing how many people look for the things, and notice. A friend of mine was a TV news anchor and a do-it-yourselfer working on a major home project. He took his ring off for the duration of the heavy plumbing work, a period of about two weeks, and almost every night, someone would call after the newscast, wondering if things were OK at home. Boundaries, people! Boundaries!

  19. Tattoo here. While an amazingly painful place for a tattoo, it was my only option (never liked the ring-on-chain). Thanks to arthritis, my knuckles are 2-3 sizes larger than the rest of my fingers.

  20. John, just wanted to state the obvious: Krissy is one of the most awesome women in the whole wide world. What an amazingly telling inscription.

  21. hi John

    Enjoying your blog-which is to say i actually read your posts for about 20 minutes… :)

    I was going to post under the article “Death of a Car” I read, but it no longer allowed me to do so.
    I found you because I was researching Ford Escorts.
    Death of Car helped tipped the scale into buying one yesterday. ’87 Pony for $1,200 (has 114K mi.).
    This is to replace my first car, my family pet, my ’69 VW Fastback. There is a link to your blog there as well.

    Bye for now,
    -kath

  22. Scalzi, you old ring-tailed monkey…
    I just FINALLY got around to reading “Old Man’s War” (I’m about 6 months behind on EVERYTHING) yesterday… sat down to do the first 3-4 chapters and didn’t stop page-turning until the end. Bravo! (And this from a sci-fi reader who does NOT like Heinlein)
    Anyway, I remember fondly the scenes with the wedding ring, and thus got an even bigger kick out of the personal story above. One of the games I inevitably play with authors I know is trying to figure out what he consciously did to make his protagonist different from himself. Found one!
    Again, kudos on a great read; I have issue with no more than 11 words in the entire book, and I’ll bore you with that later…

  23. John,

    So sorry to have to brint this to the attention of such an outstanding wordsmith as yourself, but my pedantic ;-) sweetheart reached over my shoulder to point at a line in this post and said, “I can’t believe he wrote that.” She was referring to: ” This led to both Krissy and I searching the yard in vain…” She nails me on the same grammatical error about twice a week, and I still do it (just because she gets such a kick out of it).

    Anyway, we both love the blog and OMW (happy to have my copy personally handed to me by Regan A.).

  24. Regan’s one of my favorite people.

    I do reserve the right to be somewhat editorially sloppy here. This is all reeled off off the top of my head, you know. But yeah, “Krissy and I” is grammatically incorrect in the sentence.

  25. *warm fuzzies* It’s been a hectic week so far. I owe you a call, John, but the answer is definitely yes. ;)

  26. You’ll probably never read this, because it’s so far down the page. But I have to comment, because I am mildly spooked.

    I lost my engagement ring last week, and since then I have come across two blog-entries about losing rings WITHOUT LOOKING FOR THEM. If only I could find my ring as easily. (The other entry is at yoheaveho.blogspot.com.) I accidentally clicked on this from a link in Lisa Snellings’s blog, but I will definitely be back, as I like what I’ve seen so far. Coincidences apart.

    My ring just fell off in the street, very near my house. My hands were cold, and in any case they’re tiny with narrow knuckles. It hasn’t turned up, although we did the metal-detector thing, and have searched the street and garden extremely thoroughly. Like Krissy, my boyfriend has been nothing but understanding. Personally, I’d probably not feel so bad if we had got to the stage of getting married, but we’ve only been engaged six months and I’d just stopped clenching my hand to make sure it didn’t fall off.

    The prospect of a tattoo has crossed my mind – even though I am the kind of needle-fearing wimp who would never get tattooed in a million years. It wouldn’t have to be major, would it? You could get a short line of tiny text, like “Amor vincit”, or your names… (Actually, since my boyfriend’s name is Jonathan, that wouldn’t be very short!)

  27. I just think personally that IF you REALLY love the person you marry, you would honor yourself, him/her and your marriage and wear your ring at all times. I have been married twice, the 1st time, we ALWAYS wore our rings, the 2nd marriage has been a disaster, we have been back and forth and he still does NOT wear his ring…it symbolizes the problems in our marriage, no ring, no dedication…my opinion

  28. I went though the same thing! I lost my ring in Greenlake here in Seattle and promised that I was going to have the pattern tattood into my finger.
    Fortunately, after 4 days of searching with and without a metal detector I was able to find it in 3 feet of water.
    I was so worried that it would be found days, weeks or months later and never come back to me. My wife suggested I get it engraved, but I didn’t know what to put on there. Phone numbers change, emails change… Then she suggested a registration site. So…
    http://www.lostmyring.com was born!

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