Your wedding rings are the symbols of the promises you and your beloved make. They are the outward manifestation of the love and commitment you have to one another and to your marriage.
When I was an exchange student in Sweden, I saw a different engagement process. Instead of the diamond for the woman, when you became engaged, you exchanged gold bands. When you married, if you married, you added another gold band. I always liked the sense that both partners engaged in the engagement.
Now, I’m seeing a bit of that over here. (And in the 40 years, American engagement rings are gaining ground in Sweden.) But most often, couples will get engaged and start to wear their engagement bands. They then want to exchange those rings at the ceremony. How, they wonder, do they celebrate the wearing of something that has been part of their lives for a long time? This question also comes to me from my couples who are renewing their vows.
Here are some thoughts.
- If you don’t want to take off your wedding ring, buy a small band to add to the existing band.
- Agree upon a date anywhere from a week to a month before the wedding ceremony/vow renewal and remove your wedding rings. (A week is often too short, if it’s the last week before the wedding. Then you really don’t focus on the lack of your ring because you’re focused on wedding details. And if you focus it’s to panic because you’re sure you left your ring in some restroom somewhere!)
- Clean the rings. If there are stones, make sure they don’t need to be repointed. Some people clean them ritually with salt or earth. But fluff up the rings so that they look as beautiful as they did when you put them on your hand the first time — except now they have some patina from use to make them more beautiful.
- Put them together in a special place. Create a small altar for them with a picture and a flower, a candle if you want. There are fabulous little cloth bags to hold them, or put them in a small bowl or box.
- Then at the wedding ceremony, put them on again with pride, and during the wedding ceremony celebrate all that they have meant in the time before and all they will mean in the time to come.
Symbols are important. The more symbolic attention we pay to our marriage, the more likely we are to be careful and tender with the marriage. Marriage thrives on constant attention. Let your care for your ring be a reflection of your care for your beloved. Renewing your rings, which are symbols of your wedding vows, is going to be part of the work you do to keep your marriage happy and healthy.