In case you don’t know me personally, or haven’t yet been overwhelmed by my fitness analogies, I like to work out. In fact, for the last few months it’s been something that I really look forward to doing. When days are tough or frustrating, I know that once I get under the weight of a heavy bar and push myself hard physically, I will feel so much better. Exercising frequently brings many great rewards, both physically and psychologically, but one unforeseen side effect was how scratched up my wedding rings would get from the weights.
I noticed it maybe a month or two after I had been lifting. The constant pressure of the heavy weights scratching against them had caused the gold to become dull and marred. My immediate solution was to remove my rings before exercising, but I found myself nervous to lose them (my husband can attest to how absent-minded I am with my car keys). So after deciding to just leave them on and let the weights take their toll, I realized that what was happening to my rings was a lot like marriage itself.
Any guy who has shopped for a ring is familiar with the “4 C’s”. You’re looking for a ring with the least amount of flaws, because you know the girl will be looking at it very closely for a long time afterwards! We want something that is going to be beautiful to look at and represent the beauty we hope to find in our relationships. But over time, the ring succumbs to signs of natural wear. Scratches, dirt, perhaps even a loose stone or two result in a ring much less pristine than the one you picked out years earlier, which sparkled brilliantly under the strategically placed lights of the jewellers case.
I do not advise telling your wife she’s a lot less beautiful than the day you married her (do that and you might find yourself shopping for a new diamond ring!), but the same thing happens to us. Days, and years, go by. The scratches of fights, dirt of raising kids, and sorrow of losing those close to us, begin to have an effect on the beauty that first attracted us to one another.
But a new beauty is being created. The beauty of sticking together in tough times. The beauty of relying on someone else when you’re too tired to do it all alone. The beauty that doesn’t woo the untrained eye, but can blind like an eclipse the one who studies it.
So next time I look at my scuffed wedding rings, I’m going to think of the one who gave them to me and remember that life isn’t about keeping things in mint condition. It’s about working hard for what matters; looking past the blemishes of life into the beauty that never grows dim.