An Enduring Commitment, Wedding Ring or Not

Danny measures my finger, confident he could stretch it to my current size, 7.75.

“Wedding rings are personal and sentimental,” he said. “Most couples buy their own. Diamonds are different.”

Several months ago, Danny removed my mother’s bands from a tiny plastic bag in the lobby of our Greenwich Village building. Professionally cleaned, shinier than ever. I turn to Steve and say, “You should put them on my finger.”

They fit perfectly. I never would have wanted a hand-me-down ring when I said “I do.” But now I feel remarkably reconnected to my mother in the perpetual circle she never took off — until I removed it from her finger in her advanced stages of dementia, 20 years after my father died shy of their 50th anniversary. I wore it on the plane from Florida to New York; the next day I put it in my safe deposit box, where it hid from the world for a decade. My mother’s diamond ring remains there.

Not wearing a ring hasn’t made me any less married, or less in love with my husband. In spite of our longevity and happiness, there have been times we’ve fought, slammed doors, contemplated not coming back, and apologized for spewing mean barbs at each other. Nowadays, when we hold hands, he can feel my enduring circle. After all these years, we know that no marriage is perfect or timeless.

Suddenly my husband decides to have his wedding ring stretched. Without realizing it, we have renewed our vows as unconventionally as the way we got engaged.

“It feels heavy on my hand,” he said, fiddling with it.

“Mine felt odd for a day — I don’t notice it anymore,” I said. Except to glance down, admiring its simple beauty and all that it represents.

At first, he takes his on and off, like changing outfits. Then it becomes a permanent part of him again. Ringed or not, I know he’s there. “U-Bet.”