As the internet, radio, and magazines buzz with news about the upcoming royal wedding, one new bit of gossip has us “normal people” reacting strongly. The issue? Prince William’s announcement that he will not be wearing a wedding ring.
The ring is not just an icon of the wedding but a fantastic window into the topic of what it means to be married. What does a groom's wedding ring mean to you? Does it feel different than the bride's wedding ring?
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While we live in a hyper individualistic society that says we can do whatever we want, a man not wearing a wedding ring can really pull on some of us emotionally. Does it mean he doesn’t really feel married? Does it mean women will hit on him because they don’t see he’s already taken? Does he really love his wife if he won’t be “marked” as married to her? Or do you think it’s extremely naïve to think a ring will keep him from straying, or ridiculous because he’s so famous there is nobody who won’t know he’s walked down the aisle?
There are plenty of married couples who continue to struggle with the ring wearing issue. Why isn't it so straightforward? Why does anyone care who wears what?
What the wedding ring really tugs on:
Family of origin – Did our parents wear rings if they were married? If you never had married parents does the ring feel like a pronouncement that you’re in it for life? Do your relatives wear wedding rings? What would they think if you or your fiancé didn’t wear one? Would their opinions and constant gossip bother you?
Public nature of marriage – Does the ring symbolize to the world that you’re taken or are there other actions used to express your marital status out in the world? What about a man who sometimes wears a ring – is that better than no ring? Do you feel affairs happen regardless of a ring so the band is not a thwart against infidelity?
Your own idiosyncratic views – I know plenty of feminists who secretly read Cosmo magazine, feel guilty about liking dresses and buying expensive makeup. Do your views on the man’s wedding band run counter to your otherwise fierce independence for you and your fiancé? Maybe you don’t want to change your last name but are surprised at your own reaction to a man not wearing a wedding band.
How you feel as a couple – By far the most important factor, in my opinion, is how each person in the couple feels about the wedding rings. If the woman is devastated he doesn’t want to wear a wedding band and he doesn’t really care either way, perhaps he should defer to her stronger feelings. If he works with his hands all day and the ring gets in the way, there should be a serious discussion on the couples' expectations for when the ring would be worn so he doesn’t feel constantly annoyed and she doesn’t feel constantly hurt when he comes home without it on.
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As for my marriage, it was pretty easy. We both come from married, ring-wearing parents and have the same views; they should always be worn.
What about you? Was it easy sailing for you on the “ring wearing” question?