The value of worth – or an ocean filled with rings

Value and worth‘I have something to tell you, but don’t get upset…’ Never what you want to hear from anyone, least of all your husband who is 5500 miles away, enjoying the last few days of his Hawaiian vacation. Oh my…a broken foot? A knocked-out tooth? A new tattoo? This could be anything.

‘I lost my wedding ring…in the ocean.’

Now, in order to understand the importance of this ring, let’s backtrack to our engagement. After 7+ years of dating, I decided either one of us was entitled to pop the question. So I did, one beautiful fall afternoon in Minneapolis. All weekend, I had been carrying around 3 rings – for myself, I had my great grandmother’s beautiful diamond wedding ring. For Mark, I had 2 silver’ish-looking rings, of varying sizes in hopes that one would fit, purchased from a vintage store in Chicago. Total cost of Mark’s rings – $16.

I figured we would get Mark a ‘real’ ring before the actual wedding. It wasn’t until we lost his ring for the first time that I realized what the $8 ring meant to him…

It was a few weeks before our wedding, and we had been taking engagement pictures at an old, abandoned gas station in small town Indiana. Our photog suggested we do a picture of just the rings and I agreed. What a great shot that would be to place our shiny rings in the prongs of the old, rusted gas pump! Great idea, that is, until the prong snapped and Mark’s ring fell into the rusted-shut abyss of the ancient pump.

I looked at Mark, mid-laugh, until I saw the stricken look on his face. Immediately I sensed we had different feelings about this ring. To me, this ring was a cheap placeholder that wouldn’t mean anything until it was worth something. To Mark, this ring was worth more than any ring could ever cost – this was the ring that I had proposed to him with.

Luckily that story ends happily with a pair of pliers, a saw, a flashlight, and a night raid. But after Mark told me his ring was lost for a second time, now in the ocean, I was worried this story would have a sadder ending.

Mark spent his last 2 days of vacation burning the backs of his legs while scuba-diving the coast of Maui, and even hired THIS GUY and his metal detector to help him search. (Can you imagine the stories this guy hears?!)

When all of these valiant attempts failed, Mark reluctantly called to break the news. Still not truly understanding the difference between value and worth, I assumed this meant we would just need to get Mark that ‘real’ ring he so clearly deserves.

Mark, however, had a different idea: ‘Why don’t we just buy another cheap, old ring that we can throw into the ocean the next time we have a beach vacation? And then we’ll buy another, and another…’ Brilliant not only because it means many beach vacations in our lifetime, but also because it’s so romantical! A sea full of worthy rings.

Thanks to my husband, I am slowly but surely learning the true value of worth.


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