I’ve been married two years and my husband always “forgets” to wear his wedding ring. He takes it off to exercise or cook and then just leaves it off. He admits he doesn’t like wearing it because he isn’t a “jewelry guy,” and it bugs his finger. Naturally, I don’t like this one little bit. What do I do? —Taken in Pac Heights
He Said: Although you can buy a license and have a marriage ceremony over a weekend in Vegas, it can take guys years to adapt to the transition from bachelor to husband. Some never get there. If he’s a good husband in most other ways, I’d advise you to look at it like this: At least your man is no milquetoast. Even after two years of marriage, he’s still got that independent streak that may have first attracted you to him. So now that he really loves you, take a risk and give him this out: At some point after you’ve shared some sweet and tenders, tell him how much you love being married to him and how happy it would make you if he wore his ring. But, also tell him it’s OK if he doesn’t. Then drop the subject. When we depend on someone emotionally, we often find or create little hurdles, which, when our partner clears them, will prove they love us. Your husband doesn’t want to wear his ring. But rather than push him into a corner and make this into a test of wills when it should be a testament of love, tell him what you want, give him permission to do something else, then let it go. He is more likely to wear the ring if it’s his decision to make you happy rather than doing it because he is surrendering to your will.
She Said: Sure, it would be really great if you were that detached and serene, and if your husband came round and put on his ring of his own accord. But let’s get one thing straight: It’s not demanding or selfish to ask your husband to wear his wedding ring. And a wedding ring is not jewelry. Jewelry is worn for adornment. A wedding band is a symbol—to yourself, your spouse and others —that you are committed.
I hope I’m not sounding old-fashioned here: I think being single for life is an admirable thing, as is cohabitating without marrying. And of course, you can create your own kind of marriage: one with or without rings, children, common last names. But if you’re wearing a ring and your husband isn’t (not to mention he’s playing it a little passively with the “forgetting” and so forth), then there’s an imbalance. Some might think it’s attractively masculine for a husband to cling to his last vestiges of bachelorhood by refusing to imprison his fourth left finger in a gold cage. I beg to differ. What’s masculine is a man publicly standing up to his commitments—and, yes, his obligations. I know that if you try to talk to him like this, you’ll be “nagging,” so instead, please call him over now to read this, because I have a question for him. Yo, Mister: If you were a soldier, sworn to honor and defend your beloved country, would you refuse to wear your dog tags? I don’t think so.
About the Two Sense Editors
He is a novelist living in SF who’s had one marriage, two live-in relationships, 10 girlfriends and a very wise therapist. She is an SF health journalist who’s been married, single, communal, and has studied tantra and orgasm—for research purposes, of course.
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