Titanium wedding rings have been in the news lately, and based on the image that NPR chose to use with their article (click the photo read it), I’m guessing there has been a surge in their popularity connected to same-sex marriage. And if this is indeed the case, it means that for once in our lives, Dr. Darling and I were actually out in front of a trend.
We have been wearing titanium rings since we formalized our Swedish engagement in the summer of 2007. (FYI: A Swedish engagement does not presume a wedding is going to happen. It is a relationship status in and of itself.) Dr. Darling, who had never worn any kind of ring regularly up to that point, assumed it would be annoying and therefore wanted whatever we chose to be very lightweight. My priority was that the ring be very sturdy due to my well-deserved reputation for being hard on jewelry.
We settled on aircraft-grade titanium with a rose gold ellipse inlay that met both of these criteria … plus the Swede’s wish that they match the fancy, high-tech Suunto watch her family had given her when she successfully defended her PhD thesis a few years before. Dr.-Doesn’t-Know-Romance-from-Shinola is forbidden from telling people that was the main reason why she wanted titanium rings. Instead she’s supposed to say “it’s because the material is as strong as our love for each other,” but I have a strong suspicion that pretty much never happens.
At the time, titanium rings were not commonly available in Sweden, so we bought them online from a US jeweler who shipped them to my mother’s address for free. She then wore both rings during her next trip to Sweden so that we wouldn’t get hammered with customs fees. When Mom got to our place after a long overnight flight, she took them off and put them in their original boxes so they were ready for Dr. Darling and I to exchange. Of course I was realistic about the level of romance that would be involved … or rather NOT be involved in this exchange. But even I didn’t expect the Swede to come home from work, ask to see the rings immediately (a good sign of enthusiasm!), and upon finding out which one was hers … take it out of the box and pop it on her finger herself. I KID YOU NOT.
Be that as it may, we both like these rings so much (they are engraved on the inside with each others names and a quote that’s meaningful to both of us) that we didn’t even bother getting new ones when we got married four years later. We simply took them off, handed them to my brother to hold during the civil ceremony, and then actually put them on each other’s fingers in front of the Swedish equivalent of a Justice of the Peace … a ritual that was kind of important to me for obvious reasons.
The somewhat hilarious history of our titanium rings is well-known among family and close friends, so it was no surprise when my friend Bex e-mailed us both the news story about how emergency medical personnel often have difficulty cutting titanium rings off people being treated for hand injuries. To my amazement, Dr. Darling, who is usually a bit of a wimp when it comes to pain, reacted to the article by saying she would have to sacrifice her finger rather than allow her engagement/wedding ring to be destroyed.
And for about three seconds I was genuinely touched … believing that the ring I thought she had always seen in nothing more than practical terms … actually meant a great deal more her.
But then she continued, “You’ve lost your appendix, girl-plumbing and right eye to medical issues … what’s one more body part in this family?”
She’s right. Hopefully there’s never going to be an instance when the Swede has to choose between her wedding ring & her ring finger, but it’s definitely her turn.