|Try to guess what mine is.|
Lately, I have been re-evaluating all of the familiar tropes and traditions that accompany weddings and marriages. I believe that wedding culture has become more about vanity and spectacle, and less about the beauty of marriage itself. In a previous post, I wrote about how I walked into our marriage with some pre-existing conditions that played a role in the turbulence we've faced. I have to wonder if these traditions that we embrace are helping us or hurting us, and I will probably write more about this in the future.
Now, don't misunderstand me. I don't think there's anything wrong with the traditional wedding ring. I actually enjoy wedding bands for decorative purposes, but when it comes to signifying the commitment we have to one another, only a permanent mark on our hand will truly suffice. Sure, rings are pretty, but they don't really represent my relationship with Hannah. Here's why I love marriage tattoos.
They're actually permanent.
I find it perplexing that we allow wedding rings to symbolize our marriage relationship, when they can easily be taken off and thrown in a drawer. Our tattoos, by comparison, cannot be hidden in any practical way. I cannot simply remove this symbol of our love because it is literally a part of me. Likewise, getting a wedding tattoo after surviving infidelity is so fitting because you have shown your marriage to be tougher than steel. If you have overcome the sorrows of unfaithfulness, your marriage is virtually indestructible. Even unlike other tattoos, which can easily be concealed by clothing, a mark on your hand is very visible at all times...just like your marriage should be. I couldn't think of a better way to represent our commitment, as an always-present part of our bodies.
They hurt immensely.
The pain of my ring finger tattoos rivals any other discomfort I've experienced. Honestly, it felt like my finger was being severed, and I think that's a fitting experience for something that represents my marriage. Whereas a diamond ring comes with a hefty price tag, a tattoo's primary cost is measured in pain. It requires a sacrifice, just like marriage itself. A large diamond brings the wearer glory, but what does it cost them? Too often, we want the glory and privilege of marriage without the cost that comes with it. Although my tattoo was very painful, I would get it again if I had the chance. In fact, I have to, because...
They require upkeep. Just like my marriage.
Many tattoo artists advise against having work done on your hand, and other areas of your body that may be especially prone to fading. Your hands come into contact with everything you do, which means that your ring tattoo will fade faster than something on your bicep, neck, or ankle. Because of this, ring tattoos need to be touched up and redone on a regular basis. The tattoo requires upkeep, just like marriage relationships do. Diamonds are forever, but tragically, many marriages are not. Perhaps we should view our marriages like some view their ink -- as something that requires tending to in order to maintain it's initial state. Your marriage is not made of diamond.
Now, I'm not telling you to go out and have some pierced-up guy mark on your hands. Depending on your line of work, that may be a terrible idea. Regardless of how you choose to signify your love, I urge you to re-evaluate it and re-establish it. Spend time pondering the depths of your commitment and how you choose to express it. Be intentional, and no matter the avenue of your expression, your marriage will benefit from it.Your marriage is a beautiful thing, and it deserves to be commemorated and honored somehow. How you do that is up to you.
What are some special ways that you have honored your marriage? If you've gone through a similar recovery process, how did you commemorate your healing? Gifts, holidays, getaways, lifestyle changes... Tell us in the comments below! You can even comment anonymously!
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