comes in various shapes and sizes.
The exchange of rings between a man and woman is an ancient tradition, which dates back to about 4,800 years ago in ancient Egypt.
At that period, rings were made from rushes and reeds, when compared to the metallic materials from which wedding rings are made nowadays.
Wedding rings, which are circular in shape, symbolise eternity, indicating that there is no beginning or end to a marriage.
From the Roman perspectives, however, “rather than offering a ring to a woman as a symbol of love, rings were given to women as a symbol of ownership.
“They symbolised strength and permanence,” according to DanforthDaimond.com, an online publication.
Historians say that it was not until about 806 A.D. that the Christians started using rings in marriage ceremonies.
The wedding ring is won on the fourth finger (also known as the ring finger) of the left hand.
A man or woman wears the ring on the fourth finger and that singular act signifies that the person is married.
To most people, wedding rings are symbols of marital union.
The original purposes of wedding rings notwithstanding, observers insist that the values of wearing the rings are often undermined, particularly in Nigeria.
An Abuja-based businesswoman, Mrs Nnenna John-Paul, insists that, “a wedding ring is just a sign to let people know that someone is married; it has nothing to do with the relationship, that is, the marriage itself.’’
She adds that a wedding ring was a signpost which communicates a message to other people that someone is “already taken”.
John-Paul, however, says that wedding rings are not quite important, as they are only ceremonial objects which couples use while exchanging marital vows.
“In practical terms, the significance of a wedding ring ends after the vows have been made.
“This is because a wedding ring is superficial, as it is not significant to building up a relationship; it doesn’t enhance the love between couples and it doesn’t boost the communication level,’’ she says.
John-Paul insists that the guide to a successful marriage ought to be the commitment which the spouses made to each other, while the ring should only serve as a reminder of that commitment.
“The decisions a man and woman made before going to the altar should be what keeps the marriage going and the meaning that should be attached to the wedding ring,’’ she says.
John-Paul argues that the fear of God could only guarantee fidelity in a marriage and not the wearing of wedding ring per se.
She, nonetheless, advises couples to stay committed to their partners, saying: “Commitment in marriage should be seen through the spouses’ actions and not by mere words.’’
Sharing similar sentiments, an ICT consultant, Mr Chuks Nwachukwu, says that ring is, “just a symbol that keeps activating a person’s memory that he or she is married; it also alerts members of the society that someone is married.
“It shows the society that there is someone else who is wearing the other counterpart of the ring,’’ he adds.
He emphasises that the reasons why some people attach so much meaning to wedding rings is because, “as human beings, we always like to have something to look up to.’’
Nwachukwu says that the notion behind wearing of rings simply defines the philosophy that “seeing is believing’’.
He argues that a wedding ring is a reminder and a representation of a marital commitment which has no spiritual connotations.
In addition, Mrs a businesswoman, Obiageli Titus, says that the wearing of a wedding ring tends to confer some kind of respect on the person wearing it in the society.
She, nonetheless, concedes that while many spouses have high regard for wedding rings, several others “don’t give a damn about the ornament.
“Wedding rings do not guard against cheating in a marriage; adultery is conceived in the mind.
“It is the fear of God that helps a man or woman to keep away from such illicit acts,’’ Titus adds.
On his part, an Abuja-based cleric, Pastor Peter Igomu, insists that a wedding ring is a sign of love.
He notes that even though the trend was a foreign tradition, it has been adopted by the church.
Igomu stresses that the exchange of rings is a sacred thing before God, as it is meant to remind married couples of their marital vows.
“The wearing of wedding rings is a good tradition which should be encouraged,’’ he adds.
However, a journalist, Alhaji Biola Lawal, argues that in Islam, the ring is not recognised as a symbol of marriage.
He said that if some Muslims are seen wearing rings, they are simply doing that because of its “bandwagon effect.
“We just live the way we do. This is because one culture or religion is bound to influence the other in a harmonious way,’’ he says.
Lawal, nonetheless, insists that the most important thing about marriage in Islam is the payment of dowry.
He also says that the physical appearance of a married Muslim woman is what differentiates her from a single lady.
“The manner in which a married woman dresses is different from the dressing patterns of others,’’ he says, adding: “Her dressing is modified because she is carrying somebody’s label; as her husband’s honour and dignity go with her.’’
The divergent sentiments on the significance of wedding rings notwithstanding, one point is, however, clear: Married couples should strive to uphold their nuptial commitments and do away with the superficiality of wearing rings that have no connotation whatsoever.
Sharang writes for News Agency of Nigeria.