Friday, January 16, 2015

The $5 Wedding Ring

Greetings friends and family,

Many people have a wedding, but few people have a marriage.  I am grateful to be one of those who have a marriage.  I'm not perfect.  She's not perfect.  We, together, aren't perfect.

I lost my wedding band last year and replaced it with this one I bought on a website...  for $5... with free shipping.

I don't clean or polish it.  There are scratches all over and I don't care.  This ring was probably made in China and it is not special or identifiable in any way.  I came to the startling conclusion my wedding band is virtually meaningless and worthless.

There isn't a single shred of evidence that shows the cost or value of a wedding ring determines the quality of a marriage.  There may actually be an inverse relationship between the cost of a ring and quality of a marriage...  I'll have to think about that one.

I know girls and guys who have extraordinarily expensive and intricate rings, but are miserable in their marriage or get divorced.  But I also know couples who have dime-store rings that are decades old and their vibrant marriage is equally as old.

What matters more than the ring itself is what the ring symbolizes.  When I make that statement some people immediately think of a piece of paper or a covenant or a contract or words spoken during the wedding ceremony.  This is legalism and law-based and cannot be the basis for a thriving marriage.  I'll prove it...
Let's say I'm out with Kendra on our anniversary date and I look across the table and say, "Kendra, I married you 14 years ago and because I signed a piece of paper legally binding us together and put a ring on my finger I'm still with you today".  That would not go over well.


I could say, "14 years ago I chose you and because I love you so much I've chosen you every day since then.  I choose you today and I will choose you every day for the rest of my life because of how much I love you".  That's the difference between law and grace.  It is choice.  that choice has nothing to do with my emotions or circumstances or even Kendra's emotions or circumstances.

Let me describe it more bluntly:

I know adulterous men who've never taken their wedding ring off.  The ring didn't stop them.
I know faithful men who never wear their ring.  The ring isn't their source of truth.

I know men who take communion who are the worst criminals the world has ever known.  Communion didn't stop them.
I know men who have never taken communion, but have a clean conscious.  A religious ritual isn't their source of truth.

I know men who hold a Bible in one hand and shout hate at those we are supposed to love.  The way they knew the Bible spread death everywhere they went and holding a Bible didn't stop them.
I know men who have never read a full book in the Bible and can't tell you a single book and chapter reference, but they have a transformed life that looks more like Jesus than any evangelist I've ever seen.  The leather and paper isn't their source of truth.

The measure of a man's character and integrity are not always visible in his outward behavior or material possessions.

The first 7 years of our marriage were painful and miserable.  Kendra agrees with me on this, by the way.  However, the second 7 years have been amazing and beautiful beyond what I ever thought possible.  My wedding ring made zero difference in the success or failure of our marriage and isn't even in the equation of marital success.  No matter how much it costs and no matter if I wear it or not, the ring has no power to influence what happens in my heart.  What I choose to believe about Kendra and what I choose to believe about myself makes all the difference in the world.

Part two is coming soon.

See you soon.

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