By Mir
December 1, 2006

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 fiancé? His name is Otto Goldilocks.

“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.


  1. ChristieNY

    I’m so glad this was just a blip! ;)

    Don’t stress too much over the ring (although it may feel like it’s all you can control at this very moment). My husband and I had matching rings for, oh, a couple of days.

    That’s right. He lost his ring at the bottom of the big, beautiful ocean while snorkeling on our honeymoon. Our honeymoon! Just DAYS after I slipped it on his finger til death do us part!

    So I picked up a ring at a jewelry store by the hotel we were staying in. And ya know what? He loves it.

    It’s the two of you getting married, not your rings babe. Keep your eye on the prize! ;)

  2. Mary Smith

    Well, if he (and you) didn’t mind if the rings didn’t match, and if you liked white gold diamond eternity rings that were worn by your namesake grandmother (as well as your mother) and your ring finger were a size five – I think I know where you might be able to find such a ring… if you wanted it, that is. Now shush, don’t bother me — I’m looking for a ring. Just in case somebody might need it.

  3. Muirnait

    My sister and her fiance picked out titanium infinity bands, and they like them. But other than that, I’m afraid I’m just no help a’tall. I hope ya get it sorted out…and that maybe we can see pictures of the rings when you do? :-)

  4. Amy

    Here’s a crazy thought…design your own rings! Find a silver/goldsmith to make them for you. Your rings will be unique, just like you and Otto.

  5. angelfeet

    I hate my engagement ring, even though I picked myself (D’uh). Fortunately hubby unexpectedly bought me a beautiful ring for our 10th anniversary (to my shame I got him nothing), and I now wear that paired with my wedding ring.

    I love Amy’s idea, you’d also be supporting a local small business, so double kharma points.

    It also occurs to me that picking a ring is a bit like childbirth. You focus so long on exactly how your birth is going to be, whether you want a natural or medical birth, what positions/drugs/alternatives you’re going to have. But with childbirth that’s just the beginning of the story.

    Not saying that your wedding is going to be like giving birth (unless you’re planning to have it in a hospital).

  6. Brigitte

    I’ll go with Amy’s idea too. Then again, the matter of differing tastes when meeting the smith could be a whole ‘nother can of worms.

    Pop-psychology moment: you are SO obsessed on the ring-issue because you are investing the mental energy that SHOULD be going into everything else on those rings, avoidance! Though I can’t blame you.

  7. tori

    I ALWAYS focus on something that isn’t really important to distract me from millions of extremely important things. I think it may help me not stress so much about things (although then I stress about the wrong things…I never said it made any sense). Good luck with all of this, and how cool that your first disagreement went so well. It is a great sign for your future together!

  8. Cathy

    I think you should cut him some slack on the bad taste in wedding bands; he has EXCELLENT taste in engagement rings, right? Not to mention pretty good taste in who to buy these things for, too… :D

    My fiance is the other way around. He had great taste in the bands, but oh how I’m glad we went engagement ring shopping together! If he’d done it by himself, I’d have ended up with a clunky ring that could take someone’s eye out. Eek!

  9. Haley

    Hi Mir,
    I am getting married in 6 months and got specially made rings from my cousin, he specializes in custom celtic jewellery. Mine are the yellow gold wolfhound rings on the custom page. My engagement ring is the Dianne loveknot with Green Garnet stone. Everything he makes is fantastic and meaning laden.
    He ships to the States, so no concern there.
    Check it out, and see what you think.

  10. Aimee

    I like the thought of designing-your-own. I know someone who makes beautiful jewelry. She’s not local to you (she’s in Montana) but I can check to see if she’s up for some custom work if you’re interested.

    PS — that “just a blip” feeling is a good one, isn’t it?

  11. Carolie

    Hee hee hee hee…I had a coughing fit, and I misread your note to your dad to read “Not that I was doing anything at all with my teenage body, forever and ever, with anyone. Amen.”

    It made me fall over laughing (and start coughing all over again).

    Ok, so maybe cold medicine helps me find humor in odd places. Time for more, I think!

  12. Jenn2

    Mr. Clairol picked out a titanium wedding band that I HATE, but he has never taken it off in the four years we have been married. It’s sweet and romantic and well, a little dangerous since he’s a mechanic.

    Good luck in the days ahead. It’s going to be a gigantic pain in the bootie, but the end is so worth it!

  13. Brigitte

    Commenting a second time to say those are awesome rings on that link Haley put up!

  14. Bob

    okay, time for the obligatory guy comment.

    Why do the bands have to be decorative? After all, any meaning they have will come from you when you put them on each other during the ceremony. I think it is interesting that you are talking about having some little-or-nothing ceremony but you are obsessing about the symbol of that ceremony. Get two nice gold bands and be done with it.

    There, I have now done the guy thing. I now return you to your normally scheduled girl ring thing.

  15. dad

    Thank you for the update on you teenage body. I’m always glad to hear that you were pure as the driven snow.
    I like to hear it, I just don’t believe it. Anyhow, you turned out well. Nice going.

  16. lizneust

    We designed our rings, because when my husband bought my engagement ring (which I adore), he wasn’t thinking about did we want to match and how easy would it be to get something that did match. He’s was thinking, “cool!” At least, that’s what I hope he was thinking. Anyway, long story short-ish, in order to get matching wedding rings that met both our tastes AND worked with the thick square band on the engagement ring, we had to have them made. Even better – his in white gold, which he prefers, and mine is in yellow gold (to match the E. ring). I was surprised at how inexpensive they were, too. It’s been 7 years now, and we both still really like them. I highly recommend the getting them made idea – then they’re something you created together, and it doesn’t get much more meaningful than that.

  17. shannon

    i agree that the rings, in the long run, aren’t as important as you two kids getting hitched.

    my husband, has gone through 4 rings. FOUR. each one lost, never to be found. don’t worry though, they were all sterling silver and i’ve only spent about $80 total on them over the years. now, he doesn’t wear one. he knows he’s married. i know he’s married. and that suits us just fine (although there are times, like when on vacaction, i wish he had one…).

  18. girlymama

    you are not at all crazy – i do the same thing!!

    wedding rings are a big deal, seeing as they are the only thing you will wear every day for the rest of your life. get what you like, or you’ll end up like me, dreaming about a new ring. (my adorable husband bought my ring without noticing it was yellow gold. and that i never EVER wear yellow gold and had been hinting strongly that i didn’t want a yellow gold ring. then i learned not to be subtle with this guy. ;-)
    jewelry shopping is fun and (most of us) don’t get to do it too often! so enjoy!

  19. David

    Ah, to witness from afar. To enjoy the amusement and suffer none of the angst. *grins*

    And I’ll say it again, your dad is a riot.

  20. rachel

    on the plus side, he’ll wear his. My dear husband (who isn’t cheating on me or anything) does too much work with his hands to wear a ring – for some reason messing with computer, printer, and scientific equipment parts and metal on your hands isn’t thought to be a good idea.

    Ah well. I like mine, but it’s a simple band with a diamond. My parents have matching ocean-wave style rings, which are lovely but get soap stuck in them.

    Glad you have something like this to worry about! much better than flooding and Lyme!

  21. Jenny

    Wow! There’s some good stuff on Haley’s cousin’s site!

    Can we see the ring he didn’t like? We are nosy.

  22. beatrice

    I have four wedding rings. I mean, I’ve only ever had the one husband, but I hated the idea of one wedding ring forever and ever amen.
    There’s the platinum band that goes with my engagement ring. There’s the white-gold band I wear when my fingers puff up (pregnancy, summertime, etc.). There’s a titanium band that I wear when I travel. And there’s a celtic-knot ring that I wear sometimes because it’s pretty. My husband has complained in the past that if he’d known I was so fickle about jewelry, he would have skipped the engagement ring (which I don’t wear that often) and just bought me ten different wedding rings.

  23. Natasha

    When my husband and I got married we had the exact same thing. Like your first marriage we did everything on the cheap on the basis that one day he has to propose to me and present me with the worlds largest diamond ring and we will have a “real” wedding with all of our family there . . . I digress.

    When we were shopping for wedding rings, he decided he wanted a silver wedding ring and I got really upset because it just wasnt right. I eventually persuaded (forced) him to get a white-gold ring and I got the yellow-gold ring and the very plain design matches but my ring also also matches several of my males friends rings and I dont like that at all!

  24. InterstellarLass

    My husband didn’t want anything flashy either. He picked out a ring in some material that looked like black slate. I hated it. That’s how he ended up with a stainless steel ring.

  25. Otto

    You know, she really is cute when she’s illogical.

  26. Cele

    I swear your dad kills me.

    Three weddings, two wedding rings, but only one husband who would let me get him one. Ducky did wear it on our wedding day, took it off that night, and it has never fit back on his finger since. Darn comfort band. He’s a mechanic so I guess it is safer. He does carry it in his pocket all the time so that isn’t so bad.

    I do like the design your own idea. Very kewl.

  27. Ruth

    Mir, I know you just like the shiny things. Pissed off exes aren’t shiny, are they?

    I’m now wearing a fake ring, because one day I realized that wearing his “sign of love and fidelity” was an insult to myself. My fake ring says “fear not” because I need that while navigating the not-radiant parts of life left over.

    All power to you for the way through it, lovely Mir. You’re heading straight for the silver lining. That’s awful shiny itself!

  28. dorothy

    The fact that you can tell each other that you hate things that they like is a VERY VERY GOOD SIGN.

  29. Cara

    I hated the ring my husband picked out for me. I loved him, so I wore it and said that I loved it. He’s been dead for several years now. I still hate the ring, but I still love it. I think you know what I mean.

    Otto might be picky because we tend to think of the ring as the FOREVER ring, the one that symbolizes the marriage–maybe you’re thinking that way too? You really CAN change the ring later if you want to. It doesn’t mean a thing about the marriage. I don’t wear the ring anymore because the man’s gone. I’d give almost anything to have the man and be wearing that ugly-assed ring again.

    The ring’s just a ring. The man is what matters. Don’t worry. ;)

  30. Laura

    Since you’re going Celtic, be sure to take a look at the rings on http://www.gaelsong.com, if you haven’t already. They generally have a couple of really beautiful ones. (Though I haven’t looked in a while.)

    Good luck, and congrats on realizing that your disagreement is just a small thing.

  31. Jenifer

    My husband and I do not have matching rings…. mine is pretty fancy and ornate, and his is a very simple stainless steel band with a tiny bit of gold… this was out of practicality. He works with his hands and would have destroyed an expensive ring. Just remember he has to wear his and you have to wear yours….you should like your own.

    And as far as the…it looks like my old ring thing. I sold my first wedding band to my best friend who lost her original one. She wears it to this day. AND I am married now to my hubby (who was also married before)…I got divorced on the date of his first wedding anniversary. LOL!

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