This past weekend, my finance and I went to the jewelry store to pick out our wedding bands. We walked into the Michael C. Fina on 5th Avenue. Initially the store can be intimidating. All the sales people are dressed in black suits, the floors are marble and they reverberate that sound of each footstep taken, and the jewelry cases are positioned in a way that makes it impossible to gawk under the guise of browsing.
My initial intimidation is broken when Richard, the Sales Associate, shoots my fiancé, Stephen, a welcoming smile and an enthusiastic greeting. Apparently, they became quite friendly when Stephen was purchasing my engagement ring. I’m comforted by the fact that my future husband is known by face and name at the jewelry store—almost never a bad thing for a wife.
When we start trying on bands, I’m surprised at how hard it is to make a decision. Richard becomes my sage, as Stephen wanders by himself and picks his band in about twenty minutes. As I contemplate the permanence of this decision, it becomes increasingly challenging. I immediately empathize with Stephen, and what must have been a struggle when he bought my engagement ring, especially given the fact that he picked out a different ring for me than the one I had previously described to him.
Richard has a trusting face, round and pink with a boyish quality that only someone with your best interest in mind could possess. His tone is gentle but decisive, and he has a brilliant way of letting you come to decisions on your own, even though the entire time he is guiding you in the right direction.
As he and I chat about the band I want, it occurs to me how similar picking a wedding band is to picking out the person with whom you will spend the rest of your life. Richard explains, “You should pick a compliment, not a perfect match”. A wedding band identical to the band of my engagement ring is not the best choice. Rather, something that further enhances my engagement ring is more ideal.
The same can be said for who I picked to marry. Stephen and I are compliments rather than matches. We have different interests professionally, barely overlapping tastes in television and music and drastically diverging political views. Amidst his efforts to watch a full episode of The Hills and my attempts to make him realize that George W. is simply not smart enough to be President, we are each others perfect compliment.
Once I decide against getting the wedding band that is the perfect match to the band on my engagement ring, I am deciding between two bands that are the same shape and style only the diamonds in one are noticeably larger than the diamonds in the other. After Richard and I both agree that bigger is not necessarily better, but is nonetheless irrefutably pretty, we start talking about how the engagement ring and the band are viewed together. The bigger diamonds blend into the engagement ring. When I’m wearing it, all I see is sparkle, thus the irrefutably pretty factor. There is, however, no distinction between the two rings. They are no longer viewed separately, and this is not the best compliment to my engagement ring.
We hear a lot in marriage vows, love songs and cheesy one liner endings in Tom Cruise movies that getting married means two people become one heart, one soul, one “you complete me” ball of love. On the surface it’s romantic and sweet, and finely chiseled with a debonair smile if it’s coming out of Cruise’s lips, but I question if its really fulfilling.
Just like I’m not buying the identical match to my engagement ring or looking to morph it all into one bling piece with my new wedding band, I’m not looking to lose my sense of self as a result of my upcoming nuptials. After all, wouldn’t that be the same as being alone for the rest of your life? That is, being married to an identical match of yourself and at the same time losing that self to someone else.
To the shock of everyone except Richard, I decide on the wedding band with the smaller diamonds—a moment in jewelry store history that I will not soon let my future husband forget. It was flattering to see the confidence that Richard had all along that I would come to the right decision. I have the same confidence in myself on my choice of a husband. I leave the jewelry store that day happy—with both of my choices.