My husband and I recently celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary. We had a delicious dinner at a restaurant in town, one that we’d never been to but wanted to try. Conversation and seafood kept on flowing as we sat next to the window on a warm summer night, and people-watched.

He surprised me with a wedding band. Traditionally put on a bride’s finger on the altar, we didn’t go that route. My engagement ring was just that, and served as a wedding band. I gave it back to him the day before the wedding for the pomp of puttin’ a ring on it in front of our family and friends.

It’s an heirloom from his mom’s side, uniquely shape. With three diamonds set in a gold shield, it reminds me of Wonder Woman’s belt. Seven years ago we didn’t have the money to get a custom wedding band to fit. Shit, Dave sold his 1978 Mercedes Benz so we could afford booze for the wedding!

Over the years, I’ve mention that someday I’d like a wedding band. Just like the day he got down on one knee and proposed, I wasn’t expecting it *now*. We’ve never browsed rings together. And while Dave is pretty good in the Gift Giving Department, a few Christmas packages have arrived two weeks late, and don’t even ask about the Carnations-and-Cold-Cinnamon-Bun Mother’s Day.

I was supremely surprised by my 7th-anniversary wedding band. His face lit up when I opened the small box and gasped. It was gold, it had diamonds, it was really pretty. I liked it, but it was big on my finger, and we agreed to go look at rings together.


The night before our wedding, seven years ago.

A week later, we popped into the jewelry store, and for the first time ever, I tried on wedding rings. I don’t have much bling; my mom commented on my lack of it recently. Something effervescent bubbles up around all these pretty little things, but I also had an eye on the price tag. We looked at new rings, then moseyed to the Estate Jewelry section, where previously loved jewels sit shiny as new, at a fraction the price.

This store has been on top of my customer service list for years. As a broke college kid home on break, I walked in to have the clasp fixed on an antique silver chain. They greeted me warmly, despite my college-aged clothes, hair, and bank account, and treated me as though I was buying a diamond ring. I always knew that when I grew up and had money for jewelry, I would go there first. They treated us with the same respect this time, even as we edged from the new to the used merchandise. I found an Estate ring I loved, one that complements my engagement ring, and they are sizing it for me now.

In some ways, it’s funny that a wedding ring means so much to me. It’s a traditional symbol, and I’m not particularly traditional. But the whole event – the seven-year wait, the surprise, the used ring – are perfectly appropriate for me and Dave. Beyond being proud to wear my new ring, I’m proud of our marriage. It takes work, but I know for sure that I married the right person.