I went to my cousin's wedding today. Now, weddings are not my favorite thing, but they are usually good medicine for those who have taken vows and need reminders. I don't mean that those in bad marriages need reminders; I mean that we need reminders so that we won't have bad marriages.
During the exchanging of the rings today, it occurred to me that the ring you wear as a husband or wife is not a symbol of your love and commitment to your spouse. It is a symbol of your spouse's love and commitment to you. Doesn't the giver say, "With this ring I pledge to you my love"? This is obvious, but I have not been accustomed to seeing it this way. Whenever I consider my wedding ring, I usually think about my commitment, not Katie's.
In a sense, this is right. I need to reminded of the vows that I made to her. But this reversal is so much more meaningful, I think. When I look at my ring, what I should be thinking of is Katie's love and devotion to me. When I think this way, my vows seem less like duty and more like joy.
This standpoint is also more faithful to the gospel of Jesus, which is what marriage ultimately points to. The covenant relationship between and man and wife is a pointer to the covenant relationship between Christ and the Church. The ring is the symbol of the former; the cross is the symbol of the latter. When you look at the cross, what do you think of? Do you think of how it symbolizes your love for God? I hope not. I hope we would look at the cross and think of God's unmeasurable love for us. When we see the cross this way, our love and devotion to God can only deepen. And so it is with marriage.