Because I married for the first time when I was a toddler, I don’t much remember how it all went down. Sure, that’s the result of a combination of things, really—the fact that it was a rilly rilly rilly long time ago, the fact that I was so young that my brain wasn’t yet fully formed and therefore perhaps didn’t store all of the relevant information, and (my favorite) good ol’ repression.
Regardless, there are a few things I know for sure. Last time around, here are some things which I/we did not need to consider in our immediate planning: Existing children, selling houses, buying a house, pissed off exes, moving over a thousand miles, and how to coordinate all of the preceding without having a nervous breakdown.
I have been trying to wrap my head around this particular obstacle path for about a month, with no success. Naturally, I turned to the one thing that DID make sense to me and which I feel I’m capable of handling.
That is to say, rather than tackling any of the most pressing issues, like, I don’t know, SETTING A WEDDING DATE, I have been surfing the ‘net for wedding rings. A lot. The word “obsessively” comes to mind.
Because, you know, the other stuff will just work itself out (house! sell thyself!), but if I do not track down The Most Perfect Wedding Rings, we’re doomed. (Shut up. I’m cute when I’m illogical.)
Let me tell you a little story about my last wedding ring(s). When my ex and I were engaged, we went to a jewelry store in his hometown over Christmas break and picked out the cheapest set we’d seen, because we were poor grad students and figured we were being sensible. Less than a year after we married, my ex BROKE his ring [Otto: Well, that was prophetic, huh?] during a sporting event. That year for Christmas (our first married Christmas) we bought each other… new fancy rings! They were very thick because we were paranoid about breakage. They were also made in such a way that I was always snagging my hair between the two pieces of the band, and by the time I got divorced I sort of hated my ring for a lot of reasons.
By the way, have you met my fiancÃ©? His name is
“I want something pretty plain,” he said, when I first asked him what he had in mind. I showed him an array of plain bands. “Well not THAT plain,” he’d chuckle. “That one… hey, I’ve seen that before. Now I remember! I think I put one on the truck’s engine when I was fixing it last week.”
“Well… how about something celtic? To go with my ring?” I asked.
“Oh, that’s a good idea!” So I then started ferreting out and sending him an assortment of rings with celtic knots in various configurations. “This is way too ornate,” he’d say with each rejection. “I’m a simple guy. I want something simple.”
I started thinking maybe my simple guy could use a simple smack upside the head.
One day Otto came up with a ring he sort of liked. I took a look at it. It didn’t thrill me, but I wasn’t sure why. Fortunately, the price was pretty outlandish so there wasn’t any question about getting that particular ring. But Otto told me what he liked about it and I set about trying to find something similar.
Fifty rejections later I informed Otto that nothing like that ring existed anywhere else in the world, so maybe he should pick something else.
I also realized why I didn’t like it: It was—in shape and heft and color scheme—a lot like my old wedding ring. Though that didn’t seem prudent to mention, somehow. I mean, how do you do that? “Hey, honey? You know that one ring that you kind of liked out of the thousand I made you look at so far? Yeah, well, we can’t do those because it’s sort of like my ring from before, you know, from when I was married for 9 years to someone else and used to just see you once a year or so for lunch where I would try to pretend I wasn’t miserable and give you advice on your love life. So I just think… hey! Where are you going?”
I didn’t know how to bring it up, or if I had to. I figured that if I could find The Perfect Ring, I wouldn’t have to! Otto would love my find, we’d have our selection, and I wouldn’t need to discuss that other ring—and its similarities to my previous ring—ever again.
Well, today I found The Perfect Ring. I actually gasped when the page loaded and I saw the picture. I loved it. I couldn’t imagine anything more perfect. Simple. Elegant. Unusual, but subtle. And meaning-laden, which is one of my favorite things because EVERYTHING MEANS SOMETHING in my world. It was perfection.
I loved this ring so much, I actually envisioned buying it and surprising Otto with it, because it would be so utterly perfect that it would be a wonderful surprise. But the thing is, we have discussed having matching rings, so that could be problematic.
So this afternoon, I beeped him online to ask if he trusted me to buy his ring without showing it to him, and without hesitation he said yes. But then I asked if he still really wanted to have matching rings, and he said yes to that as well, so I said I should show him, in that case, because it would probably be hard for him to buy the mate to his ring if he had no idea where or what it was.
So, here’s the funny part! I gave him the URL and he didn’t like the ring. At all.
Isn’t that funny? In a rip-my-guts-out kind of way?
I… may have proceeded to work myself into a small snit, culminating in telling him that he was henceforth on his own with the ring hunt. Find what you want and let me know, I declared. I’m done.
Because I’m mature like that.
He was working and I was working and he had a student to deal with and I had an errand to run and we couldn’t really have any sort of in-depth discussion about it just then, so I went about the rest of my day feeling all pissy. Otto doesn’t get pissy, but he was “concerned” (his word) until we were able to hash it all out later this evening.
And you know, it’s fine. I realized that I may be overfocusing on what might be the least important part of this whole thing, and also that having dissimilar taste in jewelry is not necessarily a catastrophe. And I had to admit that it’s driving me more than a little insane that I can’t figure out what he wants. I always know what he wants! I always buy him the right thing! Except on this. My inner neurotic refuses to believe that this is okay. Surely it’s a symptom of Something Larger And Scarier. Also, did I mention that I really loved that ring?
I finally owned up to the whole that-ring-looks-like-my-old-one thing, too, and it was somewhat of a relief. I don’t know why that feels so emotionally-laden. It’s not as though Otto doesn’t KNOW that I was married before. I think I feel guilty that I am sharing so many of his firsts when they are, for me, my second time through. Although honestly, if he’d just been a little smarter when we were 18, this could’ve all been avoided.
(I love throwing that in at every available opportunity. It tickles me to no end. There is a very SPECIAL MAGIC involved in marrying someone you’ve known for so very long, and that magic is the ability to torment him for being dense when I spent an entire semester throwing my young, nubile self at him.) (Now I am neither young nor nubile, and I often taunt him about missing out on my teenage body.) (Note to my dad: Not that I was doing anything at all with my teenage body, ever, with anyone. Ahem.)
As for Otto, he’d gotten worried that this was A Big Deal and that I was mad at him. It was good for us, I think, to talk it out and put it in perspective and also to realize that, hey, this is really our first disagreement since getting back together. Just a little bump in the road. And maybe I am a bit raw right now, a bit overwhelmed. Which is not his fault.
The last time we dated, a disagreement usually led to attacking (on my part) and withdrawal (on his part) and in a word—it sucked. We didn’t cope well with problems back then. Today it was a blip on the radar, and the ensuing handling of it made me appreciate, once more, how far we’ve both come and how lucky I am to have this man in my life.
Even if he does have terrible taste in wedding rings.