Why Our Wedding Bands Really Aren’t That Important Anymore

I grabbed my husband’s hand as our plane took off. We were on our way to Las Vegas! We were in the first year of our marriage, still in a newlywed haze, and we still gave each other goofy grins constantly. Then I looked down at our intertwined fingers and realized that he wasn’t wearing his wedding band.

On our first trip to Sin City together, he’d forgotten his wedding band at home.

I was furious. We were going to the land of legal prostitution, scantily clad showgirls, and an entire convention hall of sex toy party consultants. My intention was to show off my hot husband to my colleagues (I was a sex toy party consultant), party hard, and collapse in our king-size hotel bed together. He was thrilled to be my arm candy — and, as one of the few men at the conference, get lots of attention from hundreds of sexually confident women. Without his wedding band, how would everyone know he was married to me?

Looking back at our week in Vegas, it’s obvious how naive I was about this titanium symbol of our marriage vows. He wasn’t trying to hurt me; it’s just that he wasn’t used to wearing jewelry. After we had only been married for five months he left his ring on the sink in the men’s bathroom at work. Luckily, it was still there when he returned. At least once a week, he’d forget to wear it all all. I, on the other hand, had been sporting my engagement ring for three years. Adding a wedding band to my left hand wasn’t a huge lifestyle change.

I’m not sure why I was so pissed. It’s not as if forgetting his wedding band meant he didn’t love me as much as I loved him. Or that he would stray while we were in Vegas. Any of my friends would tell you that he had eyes only for me. He was (and is) madly in love with me. I didn’t need a ring to remind me of his devotion. The piece of metal was only a physical symbol of our intangible promise to grow old together. It’s a pretty object that can easily be replaced if lost or broken.

I gave him the cold shoulder for the duration of our flight and part of our first day in Vegas. Eventually I realize that I would ruin our entire vacation if I didn’t let it go. Yes, my colleagues thought he was totally hot, but they kept their distance. It was pretty hot to see my husband receive so much female attention and know that his naked body would be sleeping next to mine that night.

In our 12 years of marriage, he’s now on his fourth wedding band. He lost two during the first two years of our marriage. He bought himself an inexpensive replacement that he’s never taken off since. However, I have taken my rings off due to pregnancy bloat and fingers swollen from eating too many potato chips. Some days I walk out of our apartment without either of my rings. I joke that I’m not married that day. We laugh about it.

Forgetting our rings doesn’t mean we love each other less. Yes, if something happened to our rings it would be an inconvenience to replace or fix. The important thing is that we can easily replace or fix them. A marriage, on the other hand, is not so easily fixed or replaced. Instead of fixating on wedding bands, I’d rather focus on strengthening our relationship.

As for his sad, beat-up, cheapo wedding band (his third one if you’re counting)?  I bought him a new shiny titanium one for our twelfth anniversary. I figure he’s responsible enough now for something nicer.

Do you and your partner wear wedding bands?