Seven years ago, T gave me a ring on Valentine’s Day. No, it wasn’t an engagement ring. We were nineteen and in college, and although we knew by then that we wanted to marry each other, we also didn’t see any reason to rush into engagement or marriage until we were more self-sufficient. So instead we exchanged promise rings.
It seems like everyone I talk to has a different opinion on promise rings. Some people think it’s an adorable idea and a level of commitment above “just dating.” Some people don’t see the point of it at all (i.e. “why not just get engaged?”). I guess some people have no opinion whatsoever, so there’s that too. Obviously I was in the first camp when I was a sophomore in college, and while receiving this ring from T meant a lot to me back then, this particular ring means a lot more to me now.
In a way, the ring symbolizes a time in our relationship that was really special and that we’ll never be able to experience again. It was a time when we were young and naive enough not to be jaded by the struggles of real adult life. It was a time when neither of us had much responsibility beyond succeeding in college, since we were both fortunate to have our parents supporting us. It was a time when being together meant playing house and not worrying about bills or insurance or work troubles or trying to save money to buy a house in the fourth most expensive city in the U.S. It was the easiest and most blissful time in our relationship, and a time we look back on with a lot of fondness and nostalgia.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad T and I aren’t the same people we were seven years ago. We’re much more mature now, we have real jobs, we’re pursuing our dreams, we’re deeply plugged into a church where we always feel supported and surrounded by love. It’s just that if we hadn’t been the two college kids who privately promised their lives to each other back in 2007, we wouldn’t have become the two young adults who made that promise official and public in 2011, and we wouldn’t be the best friends, the team, the partnership that we are now.
Which brings us to, well, now.
Over time, my promise ring became bent out of shape, and one of the tiny diamonds fell out somewhere in our newlywed apartment. It sat in my jewelry box for two years or so, until T presented me with an anniversary card a week ago. Inside it was a thin yellow slip of paper, which he snatched away as soon as I opened the card. After I read his sweet little message inside and appropriately teared up, he gave me back the slip, which turned out to be a receipt from his family’s go-to jewelry store, where he had originally bought my promise ring and where we also got all of our wedding rings. He had taken my ring out of my jewelry box, unbeknownst to me, and was finally getting it fixed. Cue hugs, kisses, and squealing.
I picked it up yesterday and restored it to its proper place on my right ring finger. Now every time I look at the ring, I will remember those bright-eyed, innocent, carefree college kids who adored each other and even then were ready to commit to each other for life. Those were wonderful times. The best, though, is yet to come.