Why I don't wear a wedding ring

ST ILLUSTRATION: MIEL

"Where is it? Where has it gone?" my friend asked me, frantically peering beneath tables at the hawker centre.

Soon, he was on all fours groping the grimy ground.

As I was paying for some chicken wings, my wedding ring had accidentally fallen out of my half zipped-up coin pouch.

After about 10 minutes, he spotted the thin band underneath the heel of a customer who was scarfing down a plate of Hokkien Mee.

"Got it!" he yelled in victory, chiding me for being so careless. "Heng ah. Heng ah. You are so lucky."

"Can you imagine how your husband would feel?" he asked.

I heaved an audible sigh of relief. But honestly, I was faking it a little: I wasn't half as concerned as he was.

Don't get me wrong.


ST ILLUSTRATION: MIEL

My husband and I have a wonderful seven-year-long relationship. We have a 11/2- year-old, another on the way and we tell each other we love each other every day and mean it.

Yet, we do something that really confuses most couples in love: We don't wear our wedding rings and don't care much for them.

I had mine custom-made, but didn't quite like how it turned out. Losing it would give me an excuse to get a new one (if I can be bothered to).

My husband got his for slightly more than $100 from some online store selling titanium rings. He could easily get a replacement.

And the decision to go without a band? I am afraid it wasn't based on something deep - like the unwillingness to be publicly defined by our marital status or a comment on the breakdown of social mores.

The reason is much simpler: We're just not that into jewellery.

My husband works out regularly. His exercise regime involves pull-ups, weight-lifting and swinging kettlebells. The ring gets in the way.

As for me, I became strangely allergic to both my engagement and wedding bands during my first pregnancy and just never thought to put them back on.

That makes sense, right? Apparently not.

My group of girlfriends seem to think that this, especially the fact that I let my Canadian husband run loose without a ring, is atrocious.

When the topic came up in a conversation recently, they gasped in horror as if I had given him a hall-pass.

One friend even told me to "call a spade, a spade". The main reason men go ringless, she said, is so they can flirt with women.

Another commented, concerned: "There are many Sarong Party Girls around, you better be careful."

Viewing one's naked ring finger as a sign of one's relationship status and fidelity or, should I say, infidelity, seems to be a common viewpoint.

In July, tongues started wagging when United States President Barack Obama appeared in public minus his gold wedding ring. Could the blissful presidential marriage be on the rocks? Rumours fizzled out after it was spotted back on his finger after several days.

In 2011, when Prince William announced that he would not be wearing a wedding band as he "isn't one for jewellery", his refusal was met with ire from women worldwide. Many inferred an underhanded motive while others joked that it was so that he could pick girls up at bars anonymously.

And to help straying husbands curb the temptation of removing their rings before they go on a date with someone other than their wives, a company called The Cheeky invented the Anti-Cheating Ring.

It has a negative engraving on the inside and when the ring is taken off, the words "I'm married" are imprinted on the skin to helpfully remind the man and his now informed female companion of his marital status.

In Nigeria, there is even a church which fines its married male members for not wearing their matrimonial bands.

I'm not wholly opposed to wedding rings. In fact, I think wearing one can be a romantic and sentimental gesture.

After all, it is symbolic of a couple's commitment to each other. Wearing rings was popularised by soldiers fighting the war overseas during World War II - it served as a reminder of their wives whom they had left back home.

The practice wormed its way into popular culture as a symbol of attachment or slavery, depending on who you ask.

I would be lying if I said I wouldn't be touched if my husband insisted on wearing his ring day in and day out as an outward gesture of his undying and eternal love for me.

But here's the bottom line: It should not be necessary.

If my husband needed the presence of a wedding band to be reminded of me (really, isn't my daily nagging enough?) - and if that is what I think is stopping him from cheating on me or vice versa - then I have a bigger issue on my plate than gold rings.

I trust my husband. The love and respect we have for each other has got nothing to do with the band of metal around his finger.

Though a ball and chain might work.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 06, 2015, with the headline 'Why I don't wear a wedding ring'. Print Edition | Subscribe