Why I Have to Wear My Wedding Ring, but My Husband Doesn’t
A few nights ago I confessed something to my husband that I hadn’t previously verbalized.
See, he stopped wearing his wedding ring several months ago for numerous reasons: The job, the gym, and fat fingers. It used to annoy me. You’d better watch out for badge bunnies! But it doesn’t bother me anymore. I realized I was dealing more with the insecurities I have when taking my ring off.
I don’t worry about men hitting on me (HA!) but people judging me. It all came out over a (very rare) discussion we were having about race.
“If I go to the grocery store and the kids are acting up and I’m not wearing my wedding ring, I’m going to get disapproving looks and people shaking their heads at ‘another baby mama with more kids than she can handle’,” I told him. “I don’t get the benefit of the doubt, or adoring looks like you get when you’re out with them.”
He didn’t argue.
This isn’t a realization as much as it is an awakening of sorts now that both of my kids are exiting toddler hood and approaching adolescence. I’m more hyper-aware of reactions they may receive.
When people look at my kids right now, they see two happy, adorable bright youngsters smiling back at them. That’s what I see (most of the time), but as I watch my biracial children grow older, my worries for them, and how people see them grow as well.
I hope strangers look beyond any preconceived notions and see the smart, jovial, kind, thoughtful, amusing people they are.
But will they see my son’s fro and darker skin and subconsciously think he’s a troublemaker?
Will girls tell my daughter she is too dark to play with them? Or will other girls say she is full of herself because her skin color is lighter than theirs? Will my daughter be confident enough to pave her own way despite outward appearances?
Will my son be able to play with his friends’ toy guns without causing alarm? (We don’t and won’t have them at our home).
A long, LONG time from now, when my children are old enough to date, will their friends at church bat an eye at the prospect of dating someone outside of their race? Will some people still see our family as less-than?
Will people assume my kids claimed some sort of handout because of their minority status, or will they believe my kids when they say they earned their way into a competitive college?
And then there’s the tiny voice in my head that tells me I’m worrying for nothing. Is this just my insecurities talking? Will any of this even be an issue in the next decade or two, or am I just concerned for no good reason? Is that tiny voice my optimism, or a likely reality? Maybe I shouldn’t allow these worries to marinate too long.
Maybe it’s time I lead by example, own my confidence and let go of my insecurities. Let go of what people may be thinking, and relish in the knowledge of knowing who I really am.–Even as I wait in the checkout line with two kids on my hip and my wedding ring back at home.
Tags: family, interracial marriage, LDS, love, racism
This is so good because it’s so true having 4 children Inalws make sure I have my ring on because I also worried about how others look at me when I’m out
I used to have that worry about not wearing my rings but I gained weight and refused to cut my fingers because of what people might think of me. My hubby wore his ring for maybe 2 weeks and he hated it. He has never worn jewelry so in the end I dont care because I am confident in my marriage.
i have the same insecurity right now about the ring, but I’m white/Caucasian (whatever people want to call me). I took my ring off because I’m pregnant and worried about swelling. So I wonder if people look and judge me to be a pregnant single mom with 2 big kids.
I guess for me I don’t see he racial side so much. I have light skin like your Dh so that’s one reason. Plus the area we live in. I work at a school that has a very high minority rate (is it still minority then?). There are so many races and many are biracial. In my experience, race determines nothing. My trouble kids tend to be all races and it, many times, runs in the family. Parents and home life are the biggest factors…I know there are other factors can be involved (behavior disabilities). When I see a new kid, it doesn’t take long to know if they are going to need….extra behavioral support and it has nothing to do with how they look. Honestly, I think biracial children (especially white/black) are some of the most gorgeous children.
That’s just how I see things, but unfortunately there are still people that will judge on looks. You’d think we’d be past that by now.
Wow, this is a conversation that I’ve had a few times – in my head. I’m ashamed to say that there have been times that I’ve gone out with my daughter and left my ring and turned back around to get it, just to avoid the looks of judgement. I know I shouldn’t care, and maybe I should work on that, but it’s uncomfortable being falsely judged. Sometimes you can tell by the little sneer and upturned nose that people have concocted an entire story about you and your child in their head. My husband on the other hand, who sometimes can’t wear his ring, only receive looks of adoration when he’s out with our daughter.
Educate your children about color very early, because it starts sooner than you realize. It started in kindergarten for my daughter. Establish all the love you have with them to build healthy self-esteem. Your love will help lead the way. Educate them with history of themselves and all cultures. Please don’t tell them You don’t see color because that is a hindrance. You may not wanna see it but others do.
Funny, I had the same thoughts about not wearing my ring when out and about. Especially when I had all four kids with me at one time (my older boys are now in college so it’s just me and the 10 and 7 yo now) but then I just stopped caring. My husband wore his ring for a brief period, but like another reader commented, he has never really liked jewelry and just stopped wearing it after he lost it and we didn’t care to replace it. It bothered me at first, too, but then I got over it after having a similar argument with him about wearing vs. not wearing. And then I started NOT wearing MY ring and realized it wasn’t that big of a deal. WE know who we are. I think I finally just realized, people will always find something to judge us about so why bother?
Wow. I love this.
So when I don’t wear my ring (which is just about always because I have some bizarre reaction on my finger to it)… I am always worried about people looking at me judging me for being a single mom who can’t handle her kids.
I’m worried about a lot of those same questions – but in a different way.
Will our friends at church treat my boys differently when dating-age comes around because their dad isn’t an active member?
Very different I know… But we’re moms at the core of whatever issue.
I’m glad you’re aware.. Bc sadly I think SOME people will make these judgements. I think it’s good to be aware, not to expect it… But to be ready to respond to it. Because some people just suck.
I can’t imagine anyone hating on your sweet babies.
First off I have an easy fix! She can marry Myles! Second off I am a single mom with 5 kids and no ring. I’m sure when I’m going through the store and have them with me people wonder. Thoughts of oh there is another family we are supporting. Those poor kids are going through life poor and unfortunate. It used to bother me then I quickly grew my backbone. Why do I care what strangers think? The people that love us and matter know my situation. They know that I go to work everyday and manage a retail store. They know that I work hard to take care of my kids without state assistance. They know that I go without many things to spend thousands of dollars a year to give them opportunities I never had in a two parent home! I attend most sporting events and activities. I am present in their lives. But the most important thing is that I know these things! Strangers are going to judge no matter what. If they see the two of you together maybe they already spun a tail that he is the “other man”. Just look at your kids and love them!!! Ps miss you!
Gena!!! I miss you too! Man girl, I’ve watched you work your tail off and I’m SO PROUD of you! I was wondering how the judgments must feel for single mothers. These judgments shouldn’t exist in the first place.
And ok, the betrothal is set! haha
People will always judge! No matter the situation. I just don’t care! 🙂 woohoo I’m training him to put the seat down and always open doors!
This is such a great lesson and reminder that all those worries and thoughts we have about what others think about us, are all for not. The only thing that matters is what we know is the truth. My son always worries about what people think about him at school… Is he cool enough, smart enough, fashionable etc. I ask him, you tell me what you think about yourself. He answers… I think I’m good enough. So I tell him, that is all that matters, that is truth. You know the truth, so you should worry about nothing more of what people think. ☺
Natalie I think you really hit the nail on the head. Man, I have the more brilliant readers! That’s EXACTLY what I’d tell my daughter if she came home crying about what someone else thought of her… It doesn’t matter what other people think. Other than EXTREME cases, I think this is a great way to react to what people think of us.
1. I have those same thoughts about my biracial children. We live in a predominantly (ok all) white area and I wonder if the other kids will pick on him or be kind to him because he is “different”. I always pray that he doesn’t have any racist encounters or anyone out to harm him just because of how he looks. My son is so kind, gentle, sensitive and smart. It brings tears to my eyes to think that people will wish him ill will just because his mom is African American. My daughter is too young to have any effects at this point but one of the student teachers at her daycare commented about her tan. She said she didn’t know babies can tan that young. I found this out from another parent who over heard. Oy!
2. I’ve NEVER noticed whether or not a “mom” with her children was wearing a wedding ring or not. That goes for men too. Whether the children were misbehaving or perfect Angels.
I don’t regularly wear my wedding ring.
I was once complimented about how much I accomplished as a single mother.
I felt kind of bad telling the person I was married.
Thank you for this article. Very well written. My husband Chris and I were discussing this recently after a grocery store incident. When I don’t wear my ring people stare at me when we are together and make rude comments by assuming he is married and I am a mistress. We do not have children yet but that is something we have discussed…where other people might look at us and treat us in different ways based on if I am wearing a wedding ring or not whereas he experiences the world we share differently.
I have a big two stone ring while my husband has a regular wedding band that he is wearing all day.
I was slightly bothered by something in this post as evident by my commenting seeing as I never comment on your blog posts although I do read them.
The idea that a woman without a ring who has a child misbehaving is “Just another unwed baby momma” is quite offensive to me. Is that how you see people since you think that’s how they see you if you don’t have your ring on?
I’m an unmarried mother of one beautiful little girl who had never cut up in public but that doesn’t mean she never will and I’d hate for it to happen and people look at me like, “Oh she’s unwed and her kid doesn’t know how to act because of it.”
Krissy I’m glad you brought that up, and it’s something I struggled with as I wrote it. I don’t “ring check” people, or care, or judge, but I am hyper-aware of OTHER people’s judgement of single women–specifically black women that are wrong. My mom was (and is again) a single mom for many years and I’ve seen responses she’s gone through. Her youngest is 10 and she tells me she’s too old to care what people think now. I need to be more like her. Sorry if I offended you with that line as it wasn’t my intention.
PS: Thanks for your first comment! I hope you’ll do it again some time! 😉
I see most of the comments are responding to the issue of not wearing their rings in public, however, I see another topic that needs to be discussed. After you stated your uncomfortableness about not wearing your ring, you began asking questions about how your children will be perceived because of their race. I can tell you firsthand the answer to most of your questions will be “yes”. I know this because they have happened to my daughters (ages 18 and 9). How your children deal with these instances will be based on how you bring them up. My girls have very high levels of self esteem because I encourage them to see themselves as beautiful, smart and deserving of everything they earn. There have been many times when one has come home and told me something someone said about them and the first thing I ask is, “Do you think they are right?” When they respond with a no, we go into the conversation about how hurting people hurt other people and we pray for them. I teach my girls that they are wonderfully made in God’s image and I have books and pictures around the house to help them realize how strong and beautiful they are.
Thank you Leigh! Great advice!
When you realize why you are wearing engagement ring and remember its meaning, you know that it represents much more then just the love of the loved one, it’s him staying close to you. At least that’s how I see it 😛
Yes, I agree with Annie, a ring is the ultimate sign of love and will always be.
Wedding ring is not complete name, it’s diamond rings for wedding, and you can wear it or not, there is no hidden philosophy behind it.
Wedding rings are meant for both sides to wear. Only in some kind of work they can get taken of, I mean by the men or when finger can’t hold it any more. Or both sides wear it or none.
Hey Jennifer! Long time no comment. I do see you on BLM once in awhile.
I used to feel the same about going out without my wedding ring for what other people think and not because what they think is right, as you pointed out to Krissy above.
I too used to have people stare and comment about my children when I am out with them, but not because they are rowdy but because they are “surprised” that they are so “well spoken” and sound “intelligent”.
I would get that from Black and White people. They must assume the worst about black children, in general, therefore when they see a black woman out alone with well behaved well spoken children, it is like the exception to the rule. I am a unicorn in their eyes.
After those experiences, I quickly got over what other people thought and currently don’t give a kitty.
I would say you do and will have to teach your children how to react to other kids and people because if it hasn’t come already and they haven’t yet experienced it, it’s coming.
I have a fellow track mom friend who was so proud to learn what her son told a kid who told him he thinks he’s better than them because he’s light. “You’re not white!” the kid slammed at her son in hopes of putting him down. Clearly, that other kid was projecting his own insecurity and inferiority complex on my friend’s biracial son.
Her son said, no’ I’m biracial and I’m proud and I don’t need you to define me to be proud of who I am. I have an opinion and my race has nothing to do with it.”
So smart! But the mom had prepped him for it and so his response was perfect!
So yes, dear, I can relate to all your fears and concerns and I too believe preparation is key then let it be. Do you. Live and ignore the haters and judgers.
JJ, I’ve missed you! Thanks for your comment! Oh my goodness, yes! That response is AWESOME! You’re so right, gotta arm our babies. They’ll be ready!
Race is a dynamic like no other. there are lines of separation which we are all aware of. Don’t ignore. Stay hopeful be mindful of that when man is at his worst it’s what he sees when looking at you that determines and influences his actions against you.
I feel you on this. Although my kids are not biracial, I can relate. I don’t want people thinking I’m a single parent and we were abandoned or things like that. Unfortunately people think black fathers don’t stay with their family.
It really sucks having to worry about that. It also sucks that I let myself feel that way. Such a weird battle.
It does suck, but at least now you know you’re not alone. Think like this, so it doesn’t bother you as much, at the end of the day you go home to a beautiful family. People will always pass judgment. Their rude looks, while uncomfortable, won’t change your lovely family.
I’m stopping by an old post, I know, but a few comments to make. I haven’t worn a ring since my youngest girl was two. She lost part of my set and it, to me, was just a ring. A material possession that could be, and would be, replaced if I felt the need to, but I’ve never been big on jewelry and never felt the need to. But, that said, the stigma has always been there. My husband has never worn a ring, and he will never get the looks or comments that I have always gotten. I have four kids. The oldest is 18 and the youngest is now 11. I do not look old enough to have four kids, especially young adults, but I am certainly old enough, and while the comments aren’t as bad now, because they are older… when they were toddlers and babies people felt the need to comment often, and under their breath. I was looked at as white trash and often asked “are ALL THOSE KIDS YOURS?”. Yes.. yes they are.. and they never misbehaved in the store. They did not cry for things or throw fits acting out. I had my hands very full, but because I did not wear a ring and I was young, the assumption was that I was just another white trash teen who lived off the system. I was not a teen. I was married, paid my own way, and never, not once, lived off the system.
Now to further that whole assumption.. it was worse when my tattoos would show, or my hair happened to be black and blue at the time. Surely I was just another white trash kid who used the system to buy drugs. All assumptions that were wrong. I worked my bottom off for everything I had, as did my husband. We never had any help, and made our own way and my tattoos and black and blue hair had no bearing on that. I’ve never done drugs and I was not poor, uneducated trash, as others wanted to assume. Because I didn’t wear a ring though, the assumptions were thrown at me often, yet never at him. I still don’t wear a ring, and likely never will.
all that said…
My nephew is biracial and he and my youngest daughter are the same age, in the same grade and.. they both played football last year for the school team, and sometimes the same position. My nephew has darker skin like his father, and his mother couldn’t get a tan if she tried. He has never ran into any kind of racism or hate that I know of, and it’s something we’ve discussed as he’s a very bright young man. We live in a very backwoods, redneck area, and even have family who I refuse to associate with because of their closed-minded bigotry. Yet my nephew has never heard a negative word from them, nor anyone else at school, but my daughter has. She is white. I am white. My husband is white, yet my daughter is often mistaken for Mexican. We have olive skin tones, her hair looks and acts more like her cousin’s and less like what others seem to think a “white girl’s” hair should look like. She has received comments from others like those that you worry about your children receiving. She has been labeled not white enough and oddly, not Mexican enough. She’s not Mexican at all though. This has gone on since she was a very small child. Last week she was filling out paperwork for a college app and the counselor mistakenly put down that she was Mexican then had to apologize for assuming and being wrong.
I realize it’s not the same thing.. but I have spent my adult life teaching my children that acceptance of others is the only acceptable thing. I have spent my adult life teaching my kids not to fear difference. I have spent my adult life teaching my kids that there is nothing wrong with my tattoos, my hair, their hair. I have spent my adult life battling others preconceived notions of what is right and wrong. Of what is acceptable and not acceptable. I have spent my adult life teaching my kids that learning disabilities do not define who they are..do not define their friends, or people they don’t know.. that health issues are something everyone deals with.. that color is just color and that they can love who they want to love.. that has not always been easy because it’s not as acceptable here as it is in other places. Yet, I do it.. and I keep doing it.. because I believe it’s the right thing to do.. and I’m proud of who my kids are and have become and where I think they’ll go..
We want to see change in this world.. we have to teach it and live it first.. like my kids.. your kids will be okay because they’re taught better than any treatment or stigma they might have to live up to and through.