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Good Question: Why Do We Wear Wedding Rings?

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(credit: CBS) Jason DeRusha
Jason DeRusha filed his first report for WCCO-TV on April Fool's D...
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By Jason DeRusha, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — When most people get married, part of that commitment is the ring. “With this ring, I thee wed,” so it goes.

But when England’s Prince William decided that he will not wear a ring after he gets married to Kate Middleton, it got us thinking about the symbol. Why do we wear wedding rings?

“It is such a powerful symbol. It says, ‘I will love you forever, back on into itself,’ just like the ring,” said Carol Bruess, Director of the Family Studies program at University of St. Thomas and author of the book “What Happy Couples Do.”

According to Bruess, the tradition started 5000 years ago in ancient Egypt when women wore rings to symbolize eternal love. It wasn’t until the 1800s that men started wearing rings as well, she said.

On wcco.com/jasonblog, Pam wrote: “It speaks of our bond to each other and our love for each other.”

BML added, ” I feel like if I didn’t wear my ring it would be disrespect to my husband. After all, I’m proud to be his wife”

“Because it’s so common to wear a ring, choosing not to requires some thought and it might require some explanation,” laughed Bruess.

The original rings weren’t gold. Instead they were made of hemp, grass or reeds and had to be replaced every year or two. Like today, they were worn on the third finger of the left hand.

Why?

“Many believe that there’s a vein in this third finger that goes directly to the heart,” said Bruess.

But, like most symbols, the only real meaning in the wedding ring is the meaning we as a society assign to it, she noted.

“As humans, we create these symbols to imbue our lives with meaning. And really, it’s no more than that, but that’s quite a bit,” said Bruess.

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