Legacies Are Long. Love Your Spouse.

The now-infamous Ashley Madison site has the tagline: Life is Short.  Have an Affair.

I’d like to propose a different slogan: Legacies are Long.  Love your Spouse.

About three years ago, I wrote the following post on my old blog, but I think perhaps it bears repeating today.

Several times lately, Megan has asked about the 3 rings that I wear on my left-hand “ring finger,” and I love to tell her all about them.  One is my engagement ring, one is my wedding ring, and one is the 50th anniversary ring that my Granddaddy Pearson gave to my Grannie almost 16 years ago.  They represent Megan’s heritage on both sides of her family, and we invariably both get to dreaming about the wedding she will hopefully have someday.

They are beautiful rings, and I am truly blessed to have each one of them.  To me, they represent…

…a promise requested.

The diamond in my engagement ring belonged to David’s grandmother.  Although not his biological grandfather, the man who bought it loved David and the rest of his family as his very own.  David likes to tell me how his grandfather had to paint lots of houses to make enough money to afford it.  It’s a beautiful, bright, round solitaire – just exactly what I would have picked out for myself.

I loved being engaged.  In many ways, it was a pressure-free time (at least until the wedding plans were in full force) – the decision had been made, no more “he loves me, he loves me not” thinking, and none of the coming pressures of married life.  Like the ring itself, it was a time filled with flashy demonstrative gestures and declarations of love.

… a promise made.

My wedding band is barely visible between the other two rings, but it’s the most important one.  I think it’s appropriate for wedding rings to be simple, ordinary bands of gold.  Yes, it represents a never-ending circle, yada-yada-yada.  But that’s not what I mean.

Marriage is about loving each other during the ordinary times.

It’s him loving her through dark emotional times, difficult recoveries from childbirth, and children demanding her time and energy.  It’s his hugs and pep talks at 2AM.  It’s him unclogging the toilet for the 4th time that week (while muttering things about the stupid government and its regulations…).

It’s her loving him through surgeries and recoveries, going to school, and dealing with certification tests.  It’s her willingness to move anywhere to do what is best for him and their family.  It’s her telling him it will all be OK when he’s struggling with discouragement.

… a promise kept.

When my Grannie died this past Summer, I had the privilege of choosing first from the 3 diamond rings that she wanted to go to her 3 granddaughters.  The other two are beautiful solitaire rings, but I knew that I wanted this one before I even realized its significance.  The 5 diamonds represent the 5 decades of their marriage (Granddaddy died about a year and a half after their 50th anniversary), and I sometimes look at it and realize that, after 13 years, we are not quite halfway across that second diamond in our own marriage.

This ring represents the rewards that they reaped from a lifetime together – emotional, spiritual, and yes, material.  Their love had literally multiplied through children, grandchildren, and (although not during Granddaddy’s lifetime) great-grandchildren.  Life wasn’t always easy for them.  And since they were human, I’m SURE that the thought of leaving flickered through their minds from time to time.  But they never allowed themselves to go down that path.  They left a legacy of keeping the promise that they had made.

So with these rings, I remember: the love that requested the promise, the hope that made the promise, and the faith that keeps the promise.

[This post originally appeared on my former blog in January 2012.]