Wedding rings aren’t merely a symbol of ‘commitment’. They’re far more interesting than that!
The history of the wedding ring is fascinating and it shows us, across great geographic span and diverse cultural boundaries, that we want to “celebrate” our love. And whilst being loved, and loving another, we further want to be acknowledged and recognised for it.
The wedding ring itself is draped in symbolism. Firstly, it signifies ‘eternity’ as it has no beginning or end. And believe it or not, the hole in the centre, whilst obviously being practical, also has meaning. It symbolises the promise of things to come. It is the gateway to the wonderment of married life and the boundless possibilities that come from this union.
It is believed that the Romans first conceived that the wedding ring should be worn on what many people today, refer to as, the “ring finger”, because they believed there was a vein in the left hand that ran through this finger connecting directly to the heart; the ‘Vena Amoris’ or ‘Vein of Love’. As it happens, this isn’t physiologically true, but it’s very romantic, and that, is the true essence of love and by extension, wedding rings.
Interestingly, wedding rings are worn on different fingers and in many instances, on the right hand, depending upon where you live. I am an unashamed romantic, so I love the Vena Amoris story, but wedding rings aren’t about hands or fingers, they’re about love, nuptials and the promise of things to come for the couple, so it doesn’t really matter how or where, you wear it. What matters is why!
Surprisingly, in America before the 20th century, men didn’t wear wedding rings, but someone somewhere rightly thought that wives shouldn’t be the only ones adorned with a ring. He or she was probably a jeweller!
Today, wedding rings for men and women come in a wide variety of compositions and styles and many couples wish to design their rings or at least, have something meaningful inscribed on them. Personalising the rings adds to the significance of the act of getting married, though I don’t recommend doing what Tommy Lee and Pamela Anderson did, and getting your ring finger tattooed. That’s taking it a bit far! There are much better more traditional options.
So if you’ve found the person with whom you want to share your life, take the time to think about what it is you want your wedding rings to say. They are a tangible expression of your love and commitment to one another… and the promise of things to come.