“Mary, I have a question to ask you. Will you be my wife?” Stephen said as he held out the diamond ring. (I had always wondered how the guy would say it: “Mary, will you marry me?” seemed too repetitive; Stephen did it just right!) My smile deepened as I said, “Yes, yes, YES!!!!” as he slipped the solitaire diamond on a simple white gold band onto my finger. The diamond shone in the light, but I focused more on my brand new fiancé. We laughed, cried, and prayed together before going back to the houseboat to share the amazing news. That day, August 13th, 2015, my hands now had three rings distributed between the ten fingers, and there are stories behind each one of them. This is the story of the Celtic knot ring I’ve had for seven years, a ring I wore for two weeks, and the engagement ring I’ll wear the rest of my life.
The engagement ring Stephen gave me that day fit the dream of the ring I would always have: Simple and elegant—similar to my Mom’s ring; however, a few minutes after we got engaged, Stephen told me, “I’m designing a band for you, but this is your diamond!” Later that day he showed me the design he figured out with a fine jeweler, and he had incorporated a trinity knot from my Celtic knot ring into the band.
My Celtic knot ring came into my life in summer of 2008 right after finishing college. I was not sure what I would be doing, but I made some friends who took me to new activities, like visiting a hot air balloon festival. I bought the ring of four interlocking Trinity knots at that festival to remind myself to stay connected with people. Trusting people and letting them closer has been challenging for me at times, so this ring of interconnected Celtic knots reminds me to stay connected. At first I wore the ring on my wedding ring finger; consequently, people started asking me if I was married, so I moved it to my right hand, where I still wear it.
Four and a half years later, I was still wearing that ring on that fateful January morning when I met Stephen. Choosing to trust people had opened me up more so then I could be more open to Stephen. A year and a half later as we came closer, I told Stephen about what the ring meant: staying open and interconnected with others. Since Stephen knew I valued this ring, when we started talking and dreaming about engagement rings last summer, Stephen mentioned having a Celtic knot be part of the design he was going to have made for my ring.
In August, I thought Stephen had not asked my Dad for his blessing to marry me or designed a ring, so I prepared myself to wait until the autumn or maybe Christmas before we would get engaged. Stephen had been covering his tracks by making me think he was helping out someone when he was really downtown Chicago designing the ring, and he asked my Dad’s blessing to marry me at a family gathering a week before we left on the houseboat trip where he popped the question. Stephen only had time to choose the diamond and have it placed on a simple band so that he would have a ring when he proposed. The detailed band had to come later.
I’m so thankful he had a ring when he asked because every girl wants a ring when the guy asks, right? I know sometimes it doesn’t happen, but I’m glad that Stephen indulged that desire. He had the perfect size, so I could even swim with the ring on after he gave it to me!
Showing the ring to people just multiplied our joy, but two weeks later I had to turn in my simple ring so they could move it over to the platinum intricately designed band Stephen had planned. A month later, when Stephen brought back the finished ring, the diamond and twenty other tiny diamonds flashed under the kitchen lights, and I just threw my arms around Stephen! He went beyond what I ever thought I would get: Twenty-one diamonds?!? Wow!!! I love the Trinity knot underneath, and the curving bands of diamonds that leads to the center diamond. When work is slow, I sometimes just stare at it.
I appreciate Stephen’s care and creativity shown through both of these rings, and I’m so proud to wear this ring designed for the rest of my life!
This journey encourages me to keep opening up to people, sharing life, taking risks. Choosing to let love in makes your life be able to sparkle brilliantly just like my ring under the kitchen lights. Choose to open up to love because you never know what will happen…
Copyright the above material 2015
Here’s a photo that Ryn Mandy, our wedding photographer, took during our engagement session: