I don’t wear jewelry with the exception being my watch and my wedding band. The wedding band doesn’t come off my finger for much of anything, so you would think that when it fell off I would notice. Nope, not me. As a matter of fact I don’t know how long I was missing it. I noticed Sunday morning in church that it was gone. My wife was just as surprised as I was and commented that it has been a few days because there isn’t a pale white circle where it was. Once we got home she dug around and found our original rings I bought while stationed in Japan. To her surprise they fit her better than the ones we bought when we reconciled our marriage.
This struck me in a couple of ways. When we reconciled I told everyone we were not putting an asterisk by our anniversary like Mark McGuires home run record. November 2017 was 20 years not 20* ( see comments below ) or some such mess. As a symbol of starting new, a fresh start we got new rings. My thought when putting the original ring back on was this is truly a symbol of the lifetime commitment with no asterisk.
Another thought was how we put so much emphasis on an inanimate object to symbolize our commitment in marriage. A thin piece of metal with a rock or two shaped in a ring and placed on a finger is held as an eternal symbol of the commitment between two people. In truth the symbol is worth no more or less than the character of the person wearing it. We seem to put more emphasis on the ceremony and symbolism then we do the character and true meaning of marriage. This can easily explain divorce rates over 40% ( depending on the study ).
We view marriage as a legal contract between two people with set expectations. Some of these expectations are never put on paper nor verbalized, but expected non the less. I’ve heard more than one lawyer and legal expert opine that contracts are written to be broke. When we look at the institution of marriage as an agreement between two parties that was written to be broke it cheapens, it devalues the institution to the point that we now openly talk about starter marriages.
This is not at all how marriage was designed. When we go back to God’s design you see that two people come together as one, not in a contract, but a covenant agreement. A covenant agreement is something lost to us today. This is never to be broken without severe consequences to the offending party. In Genesis we get a clear picture of what took place in a covenant agreement. An animal is split in two and both parties to the agreement walked through the entrails & blood, between both halves of the body. In doing this they were saying if I break this agreement, let it be done to me as to this animal. Then it was common for both parties to exchange cloaks so they would be identified as the other.
In a covenant blood is shed. This is why the original plan for marriage was based on abstaining from sex until marriage. This did several things. One, if one held true to this principle they would not get a venereal disease nor get pregnant. Second it saved a lot of emotional and spiritual ties to however many people you engaged in any kind of sex with before marriage. Third, sex for the first time shed blood. This was one of the ways a groom knew his bride was a virgin because her hymen would break leaving blood. When the two consummated their marriage, blood would be present sealing the covenant.
According to Psychology Today, during intercourse a flood of chemicals bombard the brain that forge emotional attachments to the person your with, feelings of attachment and even love. Each time you engage in sex these feelings become stronger. You are essentially giving a part of yourself to your partner. When you have done this with numerous partners you don’t have much left to give to the one you finally marry making the bonding experience less likely. The weaker the bond, the easier it is to break.
Sex is literally a spiritual and physical act. In 1 Corinthians 6:18 it tells us that sexual immorality is a sin against the body. It’s a sin against the body because the act itself causes, not just the emotional connections mentioned above, but it causes the brain to behave like someone who is on heroin. When you affect the body and soul you also effect the spirit of a person. When sex is engaged in marriage, as God designed it, you are not sinning, but strengthening the marriage when done with honor to your spouse.
With these ties, is it any wonder that divorce is so devastating! When you divorce, even have an affair, you are literally tearing apart another persons soul. The stress, grieving and healing that has to take place to restore the other person is on the same level of the death of a spouse. That level of trauma not only affects the spouse but the children and every member of both families. It tears apart friendships, causes turmoil in the workplace and pushes churches to pick sides. There is nothing “better” or “good for the kids” in any of this. It’s purely a selfish move that our society has rationalized as acceptable under the term “contract” to make our sins acceptable.
Next time you consider marriage, the next time you put your rings on, before you say “with this ring, I thee wed”, consider the value, the importance and the spiritual, emotional and physical implications of what you are doing. If you are not prepared to make a life long faithful commitment, do not put the rings on, wait.