February 11, 2018

Two weeks ago, I wrote about the folly of young people’s buying expensive wedding rings it would take too long to pay for. I wrote: “I do think that in this modern day when dowries are old fashioned, diamond rings are still, apparently, a prideful display that remains.”

However, Gary and I just paid a lot of money in 2018 to have my broken wedding rings repaired. This is the second time I’ve worn them through. We couldn’t afford the repairs, yet we didn’t want to just stow them somewhere. After all, I’d worn them more than 54 years.

In those years I was sometimes conflicted. There were times when money was rather shorter than our perceived needs. Gary once was out of a job for a few months. We used up the last of our savings on medical bills the year Gary almost lost his leg. At times, to own rings that had been very expensive seemed short sighted. However, I am filled with Moody and Behunin “thrifty” genes, so to sell them for less than one dollar in ten of new worth also seemed foolish. In time, things always smoothed out and I continued to wear lovely diamond rings.

They are probably not worth the money we spent to repair them now. While they were out, the repairman called Gary up and told him the large diamond was chipped. Did he want to replace it? “Absolutely not,” he replied and I agreed. Somehow, I had managed to work hard enough to chip a diamond. That’s an achievement!

Now I want to tell the story of those rings: Gary bought them for the girl he was engaged to with the idea that they would marry after his mission. When he got back, neither felt the same way, so she didn’t get them.  He was making quite a bit of money as a TV cameraman at KSL television, so he had been able to pay for a set of beautifully cut and faultless diamonds. Then he was engaged again, but not to me. When that didn’t work out, she gave back the rings. He decided the diamond wasn’t big enough, so had a larger one put it. That’s the ring he gave me. The diamond itself was brand new even if someone else had worn the rings. And how could it matter to me if I got the wedding ring anyway?

So I have worn really gorgeous rings for all these years, rings too impressive for our circumstances. When we married I assured Gary that I would always need to be a teacher. He’d just have to adjust to it. Then I had Eric. Immediately, all I wanted to do was mother Eric and his three sisters. I did some part time work at home to help, but I earned my living by being the best wife and mother I could, by cooking, sewing, gardening, canning and working at least as hard as Gary did. No soap operas, shopping sprees or long phone conversations for me.

If Gary was disappointed that he didn’t get a co-earner, he didn’t say so. We couldn’t afford skiing for our family or golf for him or other expensive things, but we did buy season tickets to the Utah Symphony every year. We managed to dress and feed our family decently. All that time I wore diamonds on my finger, I didn’t think of them as valuable or a source of pride. I wore them because I was married and determined to stay that way even though the going was rougher than either of us had ever imagined it could be. We earned each other by working to make the marriage work. It had nothing to do with rings. They were nice, but the bond was established in our hearts. We had to repair the rings, but the marriage is now healthy and whole.

I don’t think of them at all as a pledge, a symbol or a link. They are just metal and pressurized carbon. The relationship is eternal. PMA