Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Normally, these types of things don't bother me, but I seriously felt inclined to say something about the "glam" that people associate with marriage. I have seen a handful of couples emphasis on how beautiful their engagement rings are, how beautiful their wedding bands are, just how "perfect" the rings are that they picked out. And while that may be so, a perfect and beautiful ring does not make for a perfect and beautiful marriage. We need to stop equating materialistic aspects as happiness and love. That being said, I don't judge anyone that has a beautiful and perfect ring, the message I want to send is that it's not what makes the marriage. I do have my own personal experience to share for this exact post, so let's get to it.

When Justin proposed to me, he did it in such an unexpected, traditional fashion. I didn't know he'd actually had the ring in hand, I didn't know the moment that it was going to occur, and it was ultimately perfect. He got on one knee, asked if I would be his wife, and the ring that he had was a very beautiful diamond ring complete with a wedding band equally covered in little diamonds. I was so overcome with happiness, excitement, and I was totally taken with the whirlwind way he decided to ask me. We got married on historic land in South Carolina, and that was the ring he put on my finger as we said our vows. Everything about those memories are precious and I cherish them dearly.

Now, here comes married life. After making a series of seriously awful financial decisions... like, moving into a home we could not afford (even with a roommate), moving into a condo we could not afford (with that same roommate), and wasting Justin's final portion of his sign on bonus for deposits and move out fees... we found ourselves in a pickle. His housing allowance hadn't kicked in yet (you receive a housing allowance as a private or lower enlisted when you are married), and I was also unemployed. Moving to Georgia meant I had to start over, and it also meant that Justin had to start over too. We were building a life together, and that definitely took some adjustments. We finally made the decision to live without a roommate, and live in a one bedroom apartment.

That apartment still had to be furnished, entirely. I believe we had a room filled with Army gear, and two lawn chairs when we first started out. Knowing that we'd need additional help to furnish our home, and "be okay" I made the decision to give my ring back to the store where Justin purchased it. I can't tell you how much of a blow to the ego this was for him. He refused, he was embarrassed, and he absolutely did not want to hear anything else about it. After talking about it a bit more, he realized I was right. So I gave up my beautiful and perfect ring, so that I could create the start of a strong financial ground in my marriage. Even till this day, I don't think my husband is okay with the decision we made, but he understands.

Giving up that beautiful and perfect ring, gave me a beautiful and perfect start to my first year of marriage. I learned more about the man I married, his likes/dislikes, and what ways we worked best together. We paid off small debts, we furnished our home, and we enjoyed night outs with one another. The best feeling of all was actually making progress on our own. We didn't ask for help, we didn't have a roommate, it was literally just us two. Let's move forward to a few months later, Justin and I decided we were going to purchase matching wedding bands for ourselves. We did want a symbol of our union on our hands, but we also wanted something that we could afford that wouldn't cause guilt looking down on it.

So, that's what we did. We both have a set of matching white gold wedding bands that we could afford that symbolized exactly what we wanted. I have had this ring on my finger for four years, and I can't tell you how beautiful and perfect it is to me. This ring has been with me through some of the not so fun times in my marriage, my happiest days, but most importantly, through this journey Justin and I have embarked on with one another. It isn't about the size of the ring, the diamonds in the ring (or lackethereof), and it most certainly didn't give us the ability to have such a strong union. This ring has been a symbol that we pledged our love for one another, nothing more. It did not force us to communicate, to talk to one another, or to expand our family. The most beautiful and perfect moments in this marriage have been because I really did marry my forever beau, my soulmate.

That is truly the point I wanted to make with writing this post. We had a plan all those years ago, that we would renew our vows on our 7th year of marriage, and only then would I accept Justin's gift of adding another ring to my wedding band. I know this means a lot to him, due to what happened the first time around, and I am okay with that, because I know where our true values lie. So if you are reading this as married person, engaged, or potentially thinking engagement, please remember this: Celebrating your love for one another is never a bad thing, but proposals, rings, and weddings are all just that. They are celebrations, and all celebrations come to an end. The beautiful and perfect aspects of those things come with the the territory, but they do not set you up for a successful relationship by any means.

Here's a photo from the first wedding ring Justin bought me:

Happy Wednesday all!

♥- Leilani

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