I often get asked my opinion on whether a person should wear their wedding rings during times of marital struggles. I’ve addressed this with individuals on more than one occasion, but today I want to share very personally with you. Ultimately, this decision is between you and God, but you’ve come here looking for support, so I hope you’ll read and consider this.
Should I Keep My Wedding Rings On In A Difficult Marriage?
There have been times over the past few years when I have taken my rings off, just like many of you. I’ve even gone days without them. I’ve considered completely getting rid of them. There have been some deep issues that have caused me to really wonder if I had any interest in being married, or staying married.
I’ve felt justified in taking them off because the hurt of what happened in my marriage cut deep. Taking my rings off was a way to express the deep level of hurt and anger that I felt toward my husband. I wanted to see the pain in his eyes; I wanted him to be as sad and dejected as I was, and when I saw that, I felt content.
But, that feeling was always short-lived.
And eventually, the shame over my actions caught up with me.
See, it was ultimately my husband’s selfishness that led to his poor choices that nearly destroyed our marriage. He wanted things his way, and did what he wanted to, in order to have life according to his terms.
When his terms clashed with my terms, and caused deep hurt and pain, I went the opposite way: I wanted life by my terms. I wanted to inflict pain because I was hurting.
Two wrongs don’t make a right.Do you see what’s happening there? I was acting out against his selfishness.My actions were rooted in my hurt, and in a desire to protect my heart, but the action of choosing to take my rings off was an action of selfishness. I wanted life my way.
My selfishness did not bring about the end of his selfishness. In fact, pretty much the opposite ended up happening.
When my responses were borne out of pain and selfishness, they ultimately drove a bigger wedge between us, making things worse. Though I felt better temporarily, in the long run I felt guilty for my actions. I always ended up frustrated that I let my emotions get the better of me. The temporary vindication was ultimately erased by my sense of guilt and shame in hurting someone I love. Returning the hurt never fixed the problem.
However, in no way am I suggesting that we need to be a doormat for their actions. There is not any situation where you should feel pressured by your spouse to do something that you do not feel is appropriate.
Taking My Rings Off Never Fixed The Problem
My action in taking off my rings was always an attempt to level the playing field. Always.
I realized that, at the heart of it, what I was really seeking was justice.
- The dictionary defines justice this way:
the administering of deserved punishment or reward.
Here’s the thing, though: As I considered justice, I realized that I was not without fault. Yes, my husband made the choices he did, but I’m not perfect either. Perhaps I spoke too sharply and cut with my words. Or maybe I was wrapped up in my own interests from time to time – that selfishness again.
Many of us are familiar with these words: “I will repay,” says the Lord. But let’s look at the whole verse.
Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord.
We want to throw that around as a reminder that the person who has hurt us will ultimately be judged by the Lord. But let’s not forget that we will, too. We aren’t above reproach. We may not have caused the marriage issues we’re currently facing, but we each have sinned. (Romans 3:23)
Who was I, to want justice for someone else, while wanting grace and mercy in my own life?
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.
Taking my rings off, no matter how tough our marriage, gave me a way to express my anger, yes. And it caused hurt to my husband. Neither of those are a great use of my time and effort, and they certainly don’t stand up to the directive in Micah 6:8. In an effort to keep focused on the Lord, I decided to keep my wedding rings on.
Taking Off Your Rings May Cause More Trouble
I never went without my rings in public. I didn’t want to rock the boat or cause any questions.
But what if I had?
I was a married woman, and I would have turned away anyone who might have looked twice in my direction. I had absolutely no desire for any relationship with anyone else.
But when you are angry and hurt, the temptation is so great to enjoy any extra attention that comes your way. One look at your hand, though, should remind you that you are married – for better or worse.
If you are in an abusive situation, please get to safety and get the help you need.
You don’t need to stay in that situation.
I’ve had wives say something like this to me: I want my marriage to work, but I need to stop talking to this other guy.
Yes, yes you DO need to stop talking to that other guy. What if, ultimately, your husband decides to come back and work on restoration, but you have sweet and attentive “Joe” over here on the side? Your husband is NOT going to be happy. His trust in you will be out the window as soon as he finds out. It is NOT worth it.
What’s one easy way to prevent that? Keep your rings on, and don’t be shy about saying to the world that you are married.
But My Spouse Has Already Filed for Divorce
Honestly, I hold a hard and fast line. Are you legally married today? Then we aren’t thinking about what might happen tomorrow, next week, or next month. Did your vows say, “I’ll wear my rings until I don’t feel like it? or until my husband has caused too much hurt?” I don’t really think so.
If you are married today, then you need to behave like a married person today. If tomorrow comes and you get divorced, then you’ll cross the bridge of taking your rings off, on that day.
However, I’ve known several people who have gone all the way to the point of divorce. They’re ready to sign the papers and part ways. BUT GOD. One spouse reaches out and says, “Is this what you really want?” And on what should be the very worst day, somehow, seemingly against all odds, God prevails and they begin the journey to a restored marriage.
Draw Near To God
Please believe me – I know how very difficult this is. Are you unsure of what God is asking of you?
Here’s a helpful hint: What God requires of us will never go against the Bible. Never.
This is a wonderful time to dive in to your Bible and get to know God better. When we lean in to Him, we gain the security of His might and power. He is longing for that deeper relationship with us.
Remember that your wedding vows likely included these words: “…before God and these witnesses…” Don’t throw that away. A covenant with God is a serious and holy declaration, so take time to have the deep conversations that you need to have, with Him.
“Should I Keep My Wedding Rings On In A Difficult Marriage?” That’s a wonderful conversation to have with your Heavenly Father!
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