Newlyweds, happily married, “working things out”, or plain confused, describes the status of countless marriages. What is clear however is their status, made known by the big or small wedding ring worn on the respective finger. While a ring may not always be worn by the husband, the wife regularly wears hers. Though when going through serious marital issues and the wife is faced with evaluating her situation-considering whether to stay or leave the marriage, or in the process of going through a divorce, many wives stop wearing their wedding ring.
The sudden transition from wearing a ring to being ring-less is a new adjustment made known to the public. If her decision is to keep it off, she obviously can expect questions, judgment, and investigation. In order to avoid that stress, the transition happens immediately and a new ring-symbolic of nothing, replaces her wedding ring.
Perhaps the wife is faced with infidelity. Take for example, my cousin’s close girlfriend, a Nigerian professional living in New York who is currently married to her husband of 6 years. She learned that her husband was having an affair within the most recent few months of her marriage. She now struggles with moving forward; unsure whether to get a divorce, work things out or even separate. However, she is clear on one thing and that has been to stop wearing her wedding ring. Knowing that people are used to seeing her with a wedding ring on, she knows that without it, it will attract the exact attention women experiencing marital issues want to avoid. Therefore, to guard against meddling mouths the art of “accessorizing” comes into effect. Ever since her band ban (no pun intended), she now wears a costume ring on her left hand finger that looks just like a wedding band. How pathetic! She made the decision to stop wearing her wedding ring but rather than to fully accept and deal with her new position, she instead runs from it.
No doubt is it a difficult time and hard to go through when your own marriage is falling apart and you have reached the point where you at least temporarily decide to stop wearing your wedding ring or indefinitely. However, if you are realistic about how the marriage is going, you must be real in all aspects. Wearing a look-alike wedding band as the so-called wedding band is immature.
Divorced or married? A very close friend of the family, a single mother of 4 has been divorced for nine years and every day since her split she wears a costume ring, designed only for accessorizing on her left hand’s ring finger. Sadly enough, it resembles an engagement ring. Her choice of finger is no coincidence. She does not wear a single ring on any other finger except for one. Perhaps her thought process may be, “Wearing this ring creates the illusion that I am not single.” Whatever the thought process, as Kim from the Atlanta Housewives put it, “The ring doesn’t mean a thing!” What is the ring symbolic of? Certainly not marriage, or is it supposed to be a reminder of your liberation? The marriage is over so get used to a ring-less plain finger until further notice.
I know a handful of women either married or divorced who either are ashamed, embarrassed, or unhappy with the state of their relationships or the reality of being out of one. They continue wearing “dress-up” rings and bands on their ring fingers to put up a front. When I see them, I cannot help but to say in silence, “You aren’t married, so why are you wearing a pretend ring as if people don’t already know your situation,” and when I see those who are married the emotion is similar, “Your wedding ring is obviously off, so leave it that way. Who are you fooling with that “accessory” ring?” Deal with the choice you made and by doing that you are real with others, but most importantly yourself. It is that type of courage that lets others know that they do not have to pretend or hide about their marital status.
By: Ashley I. Okonkwo