My husband, Craig, and I have been married for 20 years. I keenly remember a discussion that we had about transitions in our premarital counseling. At the time, I was naive and in love, thus had no idea the value of this information and the revelance it would have in our lives. As I look back, it was one of the most meaningful lessons I have ever learned. Life is full of transitions. Each one impacts your relationship with your spouse. Therefore, marriage is about adapting and growing together through life’s changes. I think our rings through the years illustrate this in a humorous yet beautiful way.
When Craig proposed, 21 years ago this month, he gave me a beautiful diamond solitaire that was a family heirloom. The most beautiful ring I had ever seen from the first and only man I had ever fallen in love with.
On our wedding day we exchanged gold bands, as a symbol of the unending nature of our love and its purity. Inside Craig’s ring I had the reference Ruth 1:16 engraved which reads, “Wherever you go, I will go; wherever you live, I will live. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God.” It was and is one of my favorite passages of scripture and also my promise to him. I had no idea the journeys that would lie ahead, when I slipped the ring on his finger on our wedding day.
On our 10th anniversary, we had a little more money than when we were first married and seminary students. I was able to save up and buy Craig a beautiful carved platinum and yellow gold ring. It was perfect for Him, intricate yet masculine. A worthy ring for my wonderful husband.
Craig bought me a ring I will treasure for life, while I was hospitalized due to the triplets birth, during our tenth year of marriage. It is platinum with 8 stones. The birth stones of each of my four babies and four diamonds to symbolize the babies that I miscarried. My babies on earth and those in heaven. When he slid it on my finger, my eyes overflowed with tears. It was the most thoughtful and perfect present I could have received at that point in my life.
For our 20th anniversary, I bought Craig a $3 ring made out of a coconut shell. As we make this transition from the pastorate to the mission field, I wanted him to have a ring that symbolized our union. Yet, something that was not flashy. I did not want anything that would cause undo attention or put his safety in jeopardy as he travels throughout the world. A perfect ring for this time in our lives.
Craig gave me 4 rings for our twentieth year of marriage. Or, should I say a set of new tires. As I was thinking of his safety in my gift of the coconut ring, he was thinking of mine in the gift of all season tires for my mommyvan. An ideal gift that communicated love, care, and a desire for my protection.
As I think about how our love has grown and changed over the years, it is accurate to say that despite the differing expenses and levels of romance of our rings, the love I feel today is the strongest it has ever been. It grows daily. Our relationship may change with additions to the family, job changes, moves, stresses, kids going to college, health issues, empty nesting, and aging. Yet, the foundation stays the same. A desire to love each other sacrificially as Jesus Christ loved us.
As we once again transition into a new ministry, I am reminded of the importance of staying united through the transition times. Keeping the lines of communication open. Being each other’s best friend and confidante. Giving grace during the difficult and stressful moments. Being committed for life. Thankful for my Craig and for his love for me. Thankful for the transitions that make love deepen. Thankful for marriage… it is a beautiful gift!