Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sign of a Married Woman

My Rings 

When I was 13 or so, my dad gave me a ring, a simple silver band, a symbol of purity. I made a vow to him, the Lord, and my future husband that I would remain a virgin until marriage. I wore that ring until November 21, 2009 when my dad slipped the ring to Josh at the altar. Few noticed.

Picture by Dan Buettner

I had always worn my purity ring on my ring finger on my left hand until the year I met Josh. Mom told me that I needed to leave the finger open to show that I wasn't married. Reluctantly, I began wearing my little band on my right hand. Since I was on my way to Africa and not planning to get married anytime in the next three years (at least), I felt this was unnecesary.

Weeks later, I was at a Wycliffe Bible Translators meeting. During the meeting I noticed that I had accidently put my ring on my left hand earlier in the day out of habit. (Give me a break. I wore it that way for over 10 years!) I quickly moved the band over, remembering what my mom had told me weeks earlier.

I met Josh that night after the meeting. He asked me out that night. He wouldn't have if there had been a ring on my left hand, he told me later. (Thanks, Mom.)

Picture by Dan Buettner

Now we're married, and I have a new ring. Josh has my old one hanging above his desk at home. My new ring is to proclaim to the world that I am married to Josh. He picked it out with intentionality.

 There are three stones at the top of the ring. The center stone is bigger and stands between the two smaller ones. This represent Christ in the center of our marriage. There are ten little stones, five on each side. (These are ten children! We'll see about that.) I really love this man.

Picture by Dan Buettner

I don't know how accurate it is, but I thought I'd show you a little glimpse of another culture and the importance of symbols of marriage. It may just apply to certain caste. It's an interesting sense of humor anyway.
Vermilion Mark 
"In India, bangles, locket and vermilion mark on the forehead are symbols of a married woman. Daily, the husband applies the vermilion on the wife's forehead as it is believed to be connected to his lifeline. When the husband dies, Rudali's (professional mourners) come and strip the woman off these symbols."


  1. Hey Ruthie, thought you might be interested in this. I heard a missiologist speak this morning and talk about diversity in India - because anything you say about India, is true somewhere in India! Happened to mention that researchers made an inventory of ways women there show they are married. There were about 1000 variations. Nose ring, bindi, bangles, necklace, the way you where your scarf, etc. etc.

  2. Thanks for the comment and info, Marti. It is very interesting. Growing up in Bangladesh, I learned there are various signals in Bangladesh too. One of the most obvious is that married women in my tribe always wore saris while the girls for the dresses. :)


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