Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Ring of Power

“Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” From “How to Marry a Millionaire”

As the April 29th wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton draws near, royal watchers are getting royal wedding fever. Last week, the debate was over whether William would wear a wedding ring. He will not. This week, the stir is over the wedding guest list.

William’s father, Prince Charles, wore a wedding ring. It did neither Charles nor Diana much good. Most men do not wear wedding bands on their fingers; they claim it’s the invisible ring through their nose that keeps them in line.

For women, the ring is a status symbol. We gals ooh and aah over the silver and gold baubles, the ultimate sign that she will not be an old maid. The ring is put on the left finger, which palmistry tells us holds the vein that leads to the heart. Usually, it’s made of gold, the most precious element on earth.

The ring can be of service, if the heart is true. Women tend to be less inclined to stray than men do and they’re the ones who always wear the ring. But is the ring, in fact, on the wrong finger, if it’s the man who strays and needs to ward off temptation (it didn’t work for Prince Charles)?

We know we put far too much value on earthly things. Gold is a pretty heavy, expensive metal and presumably that knowledge of its value will help the couple remain faithful to one another. They’d do better to put on the biblical suit of armor from Ephesians, the suit of armor Glenn Beck was talking about.

Being single, it’s hard to understand married couples sometimes. Why can’t they be nicer to each other? Why do they have to snipe at each other, as though they had beak instead of noses? Why do women nag? Why do men leave their clothes all over the floor and refuse to make their beds?

Is it the fact of close, day-to-day proximity that wears away at the relationship until both are wondering whether the happily everafter went? Do married couples just drive each crazy? Or is it the kids?

Why must parents compete (between themselves) over who’s the better parent? I see it all the time. One partner is always running down the other’s parenting skills. My parents did. They also competed over who was the better photographer. Apparently, it has something to do with sex and getting the furnace heated up. Gold is the only metal that won’t melt in such a fire, they say.

Money is another favorite fight fuel. There’s the real third party in a marriage. It seems a universal inevitable – men earn and women spend. Well, women earn now, too, but they still spend. Couples buy bigger and bigger houses without considering future consequences, such as whether they’ll always be able to afford to pay the mortgage, or the heating and electric bills, to say nothing of the kids.

It’s sad to see all the divorces, and the havoc they wreak on society. There are a small percentage of marriages that really are doomed, since people aren’t perfect and we live in a perfect world. But when the divorce rate reaches 50 percent, it means we’re doing something wrong. It’s somewhat like a politician who wins 100 percent of the vote, but reversed.

You mean to say out of all those millions of people who marry, half of them can’t manage to get along? And there are said to be more who stay married, but also stay miserable? There’s something wrong when that many people have a problem with marriage. Either the institution of marriage has a fatal flaw, or people aren’t approaching it the right way.

I suspect that once the ring of power is on the finger, love is left trailing at the altar. And why shouldn’t it be, if what you value is a gold ring, power, legal security. Not that I have problem with legal security. It’s just that all those things – gold rings, marriage certificates, big houses with tons of gadgets, plasma televisions, tropical vacations, and shared assets – are worthless without love and kindness.

Still, Kate Middleton doesn’t seem to be a Diana, naïve and yet cunning, sweet and yet manipulative. Kate’s older and appears to be sensible. She comes from a middle class background, where Diana was from nobility (Kate doesn’t have a title).

Let’s hope that William and Kate don’t leave love standing at the altar.

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