Persons, places and things: It’s not about the ring


By Barb Arland-Fye


Twelve years ago, I lost my wedding ring but several weeks later, my husband Steve found it trapped inside the recesses of a cabinet in our main bathroom. He placed it in a heart-shaped box and gave it to me shortly before our wedding anniversary that year. A couple of months ago, the wedding ring disappeared again, perhaps permanently. I feel the loss daily, rubbing my left finger by habit engrained through 39 years of marriage.

Replacing the wedding ring is not on my wish list at this point. The original is irreplaceable, a symbol of a union that took place May 25, 1985 and served as a reminder of the lived experience of our marriage covenant. I pray for the wedding ring’s return. However, I have also reflected on whether God is asking me to consider my dependence on material possessions.

The closing paragraph from Bishop Robert Barron’s Word on Fire Gospel Reflection for June 10 seemed close to an answer. He reflected on Matthew 5:1-12, which focuses on the Beatitudes.  Bishop Barron wrote, “And so, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ We might say, ‘How lucky you are if you are not addicted to material things.’ Here Jesus is telling us to realize our deepest desire, which is the desire for God and not for passing things that only bring temporary comfort.”


Sacramental marriage is not about the wedding rings that Steve and I exchanged lovingly on that summerlike day 39 years ago but on how we’ve lived out the sacrament day in and day out, leaning on God’s grace. Like many married couples, Steve and I have experienced the joys and frustrations of marriage and parenthood, which have occasionally tested our patience to the limit.

Then I read the note that our younger son Patrick wrote in his anniversary card to us, which brought tears to my eyes. “I am proud and blessed to call you two my parents. I will love you always and happy to say (that) as a couple, for better or worse times that occur, you guys find a way to sort it out. That’s what true love is.” Our older son Colin, who has autism, also wrote a message on a note card for our anniversary — short, but from the heart: “Happy anniversary, Love Colin.”

Pope Francis said, “The sacrament of marriage is a great act of faith and love: a witness to the courage to believe in the beauty of the creative act of God and to live that love that is always urging us to go on, beyond ourselves and even beyond our own family” (5/6/15).

Steve sets the example for me on striving to go “beyond ourselves and even beyond our family.” He often jokes that I will need to extend my hand to him to make it out of purgatory. I told him it likely is the other way around!

St. John Paul II said that the sacrament of marriage gives couples “the grace and duty of putting into practice in the present, towards each other and their children, the demands of a love which forgives and redeems. As prophecy, it gives them the grace and duty of living and bearing witness to the hope of the future encounter with Christ” (“Familiaris Consortio,” On the Role of the Christian Family in the Modern World, Nov. 22, 1981).

It’s not about the ring; it’s about living a love that goes beyond ourselves and bears witness to the hope of the future encounter with Christ.

(Contact Editor Barb Arland-Fye at

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