Wedding ring symbolism: Then & Now… and why isn’t Madonna wearing hers?

I wear my wedding ring (engagement ring plus wedding ring) rarely, usually if I’m getting “dressed up.” I don’t know what the unwritten ring-wearing laws are, but I know there are women who never, ever take their rings off.  The reason I stopped wearing my rings is boring: when I had kids, the prongs of my square diamond became annoying;  I would often scratch my baby when changing a diaper or pulling on a little shirt. So rather than taking the rings on and off a dozen times I day I just gradually stopped wearing them altogether.

And I rarely even think about them.

Not so with most women, according to this piece by Simon Mills, titled What men really think about women and their obsession with wedding rings.  He accuses ladies these days  of being completely obsessed with wedding rings, noting with glee which celebrities are wearing theirs and which ones are not.

Madonna is ring-less?

The man thinks: “Perhaps she left it on the bathroom sink. Perhaps she wanted to give her famously bony fingers a rest. Perhaps she’d just been doing a bit of yoga, or cleaning the bath with a dab of powerful and potentially corrosive Cillit Bang (OK, unlikely).”

The woman chooses to: “immediately opt for the most emotionally overwrought, worst case scenario of infidelity, public cuckolding and long, drawn-out marital meltdown.”

Mr. Mills, who has been married for over a decade, doesn’t even know if his wife wears her rings, he hasn’t noticed. If he did want to sneak a peek, he isn’t sure which finger he should be looking at. (Note to guys: It’s usually the ring finger on the left hand– that’s the finger next to your pinkie!) “The banal, cod-forensic examination of female digits for those telltale signs of marital unrest, infidelity or impending divorce is, to us, not only just a little bit creepy, but also one of those things… that men just don’t get. We are, if you pardon the dreadful pun, completely bored of the rings.”

An interesting side note, according to StreetDirectory:

In ancient times, accepting a wedding ring constituted a legally binding agreement between husband and wife. The wife became property of the husband, a holding of sorts. It also represented protection to the wife—a protection against challengers seizing her legal and rightful position in a power grab.

Early Egyptian wedding rings were simple circular bands, crudely crafted from indigenous materials such as hemp and reeds. The lifespan of the average wedding ring was approximately one year. It’s a safe bet that the average marriage outlasted the average wedding band, since the eternal circle signified eternal love and devotion.

… In ancient times, wedding bands occupied the third finger on the left hand just as they do today. The significance of the third finger was the belief that the vein in the third finger, the ‘vena amoris,’ led directly to the heart.

There actually is no vena amoris. The origin of the wedding ring is unromantic, to say the least. Folklore and superstition form most of its symbolism.  Rings are awkward and expensive.  So why wear one anyway?  Today people choose to see the circular shape of a ring as symbolic of “eternity, endlessness, and something that can not be broken. Wedding rings are given as a token of unending love for each other. Traditionally, as a symbol of strength in the marriage, wedding rings are made from a metal.”

Whether or not you wear your ring on your finger, we hope that the feeling of “eternity and unending love” will rest be in our hearts always.  And let Madonna worry about her own marriage.