We are rolling down the highway listening to Family Net Radio on Sirius. We caught the tail end of a special on marriage and they were discussing the fact that the key to a sucessful marriage is keeping God at the center of your marriage. Simple fact, but so true. Paul and I are so blessed to have such an amazing and holy marriage and we do believe that is because we truly try to center our lives and our marriage on Christ.
This got me to thinking about the ring Paul gave to me when he propsed. It is a beautiful, simple engagement ring. We knew within less than a month after we meet that God was calling us to spend our lives together, so we had discussed a lot of things, including rings. As a woman, I have to admit that I had given this subject a lot of thought :) Paul and I looked at rings together, but he did pick the specific ring himself.
As Catholics we believe in outward signs that show an inward truth. The ring we choose was a simple gold band with a large diamond in the center and two smaller diamonds on either side. To us, the largest stone represents Christ, the center of our lives and our marriage. The smaller stones on each side represent Paul and I united to each other through Christ.
The ring Paul surprised me with has three additional diamonds on each side. We laugh that each of those six little diamonds represent AT LEAST TWO of our future children whom Paul and I will lead to Christ!
As for my wedding band (or band[s], in my case), we decide that rather than have a band that would distract from the "theme" of my engagement band, we would have two gold bands joined to the center engagement ring- once again symbolizing Paul and I joined by God as our center.
When we began looking for Paul's ring, he felt strongly that since he, as a husband, was called by Christ and the Church to love [me! :)] sacraficially (Ephesians 5:22-24), he too wanted an outward symbol of how he was called to a vocation of sacrafice. He decided that a ring with the crown of thorns on it was the perfect symbol. I spent many hours online looking and we went to dozens of shops before we found a beautiful (non-cheesy looking!) ring.
Isn't it perfect! And it was made by a Christian husband and wife team. How perfect can you get? Because it took us so long to find, we didn't receive the ring in the mail until two days before the wedding! You must check out Samaritan Arts website. Their jewlery is so rich in tradition and sybolism. See for yourself: http://www.samaritanarts.com/
I have shared this special prayer that was the wedding favor Paul and I had printed for the guest at our wedding, but I wanted to post it on here as well. These are the words of St. John Chrysostom which he told to young husbands. They should say to their wives: "I have taken you in my arms, and I love you, and I prefer you to my life itself. For the present life is nothing, and my most ardent dream is to spend it with you in such a way that we may be assured of not being separated in the life reserved for us.... I place your love above all things, and nothing would be more bitter or painful to me than to be of a different mind than you" [St. John Chrysostom, Hom. in Eph. 20, 8: PG 62, 146-147].
Paul and I look into eachother's eyes daily and repeat these words. I never fail to get a good old fashioned case of the butterflies when I hear my loving husband speak these words! I Swoon!
Keep your marriage centered on Christ and you can never go wrong! God bless you friends!