I asked Ezra to write a document on the symbolism in my engagement ring. He’s posted it on his blog, but I wanted to put it on mine, too.
The first and most obvious symbolism in Kyleigh’s engagement ring is the precious stone in the middle, which is a diamond. The jewelry industry has a lot of symbolism which it likes to attribute to diamonds, with such cheesy slogans as, “diamonds are forever” or “eight diamonds together are symbolic of eternity”. I reject these meanings – if not outright, then I at least reject them for the ring that I gave Kyleigh. I reject them because marriage itself is not forever, despite what every jewelry store merchant and commercial wedding planner cries from the rooftops. Marriage is only until death, where it then gives way to a much greater glory. I reject them because diamonds are not actually forever, and will pass away with the old earth. And from what I can tell, these industry slogans are a materialistic attempt to fill the void which has been left in society by the removal of a biblical understanding of what marriage is.
I think that it would be possible for Kyleigh and I to take the idea that “diamonds are forever” and bend it into a godly symbolism for her ring. However, I would instead like to use the symbolism of a diamond as rare and valuable. Anyway, diamonds have been symbolic of value since long before our society lost its soul to materialism.
To be succinct, the diamond symbolizes Kyleigh’s value (Prov. 31:10). I could talk about how Kyleigh and I are so well matched in our tastes on so many things, or how many delightful inside jokes we have, or how similar our personalities are, or how beautiful she is. All of these things are precious gifts from God. However, her true value is in her love of God. It is rare to find a girl whose first desire is to glorify God in her life. But it is even more rare to find a girl whose life is disciplined, organized, and planned according godly wisdom, a deep understanding of theology, and a desire to live for His glory.
The ring is not simply an indicator of relationship status. What I mean is that while Kyleigh’s ring does indicate to others that she is engaged, it does this by implication rather than by direct meaning. It is not the relationship status bar on facebook. Rather, it is a symbol of the sacred covenant which is being formed between us. By implication of the covenant, we are engaged. However, the ring symbolizes the covenant, not the “relationship status”.
When a man gives a woman a ring in modern western culture, this is typically seen as “going to the next level of relationship”. But in giving Kyleigh her ring, we began our relationship as an unbreakable union (Matt 19:6), symbolized by the fact that the ring and the diamond form an unbroken circle.
Note: to be clear, the unbreakable covenant of marriage is not yet formed between Kyleigh and myself. However, in the interim, the ring symbolizes our promise to finalize the covenant on our wedding day.
I knew for a long time that I wanted to have a custom ring made for Kyleigh, but I was uncertain of what design elements I would want to use. After some conversations between us regarding the theology of marriage, I began to realize that I wanted elements which would represent the eternal significance of the one-flesh union (Eph 5:31-32) contrasted with its temporary nature (Matt 22:30). After some searching, I came upon the symbols of the morning glory and the vine.
The vine is a symbol of the unity between Christ and the members of His bride (John 15:4-5). Christ is the vine, and we are the branches. We abide in Him, and He in us, and thus we bear much fruit. Having a vine as the primary design element of Kyleigh’s ring symbolizes the eternal significance behind our temporal union: an earthly bride and groom are shadows of the heavenly bride (the church) and the heavenly groom (Christ). Our love is a shadow of His love, our faithfulness of His faithfulness, our perseverance of His perseverance, and our joy of the Joy that we will have with Him in eternity. And so, as we abide with each other in covenant love, we will be awaiting the completion of our union with Christ in heaven, of which our love will only ever be a shadow.
The Morning Glory
Unfortunately, due to the intricate design of a morning glory and the smallness of an engagement ring, I decided not to include any morning glories on Kyleigh’s ring. Likely, they would have been hard to see on a surface roughly three millimeters across. However, I was able to locate a custom ring box manufacturer, and thus had a ring box made with a morning glory design on the top.
The symbolism of the morning glory is five-fold:
1. It symbolizes the temporary nature of marriage. The morning glory flower derives its name from the fact that it lasts only one day. It has one morning of glory before it wilts. It may very well have been the plant that Jesus referred to in Matthew 6 (vs 28-30). In any case, it will serve to remind Kyleigh and me that “all flesh is like the grass” (Is 40:6), and that the significance of our marriage is found in its eternal value, not its temporal glory.
2. It symbolizes the beauty of marriage. God clothes the lilies of the field with more beauty than Solomon (Matt 6:29), and He likewise has clothed marriage with the beauty of His design for it, as well as the beauty that he gives to marriages between His children by His Spirit’s sanctifying power.
3. It symbolizes God’s care for the marriages of His children. If He cares enough to crown each wildflower with more glory than king Solomon possessed, how much more will he adorn the marriages of those who fear Him, for His name’s sake?
4. It symbolizes the toughness of a Godly marriage. Morning glories, often considered weeds by farmers, can be extremely difficult to get rid of. Cut them down, and they soon come back. A godly marriage is like this, too. No matter what the world and satan throw at it, it always returns to covenant love.
5. Finally, it symbolizes the way that a godly marriage receives its strength from Jesus. Many varieties of morning glory grow on vines. Similarly, our marriage must “grow on the vine” as we abide in the great vine, Jesus Christ (John 15:4-5).