Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Masonic Rings Versus Wedding Rings?

My good friend and Brother Robert Johnson, Managing Editor over at the Midnight Freemasons wrote an interesting piece this week called More Important Than A Wedding Ring?  You should read that article, because this is my answer to the questions he raised.

I wear my Masonic ring daily, and I have ever since I became a Master Mason in 2005.  I wear it because I like it, and also because it is a constant reminder to me about how I should act and behave on a daily basis--that doesn't always work, but it certainly doesn't hurt either.

On the other hand (literally) I'd never worn a wedding ring.  To be honest, I never thought much about how my wife feels about me wearing a Masonic ring every day to remind me of my obligations as a Freemason, and not wearing a wedding ring to remind me of my obligations as a husband.  Most women know that most men are oblivious to deep thoughts like that except on rare occasions. 

In 2011, I received the 33rd Degree.  On the last day of the festivities in Chicago, I went off to a big theater to received the Last Degree, and that remarkable ring.  When I got back, Valerie and I went to a dinner hosted by the Scottish Rite of Illinois, and she got her first look at the new ring.  It was on the ring finger of my left hand.  She looked at it and said, "nice wedding ring."

The meaning was obvious.  She was suggesting I was married to the Fraternity.  It never bothered her, but that idea bothered me for some time, because in a way, she was right.  Over the years of my involvement in Freemasonry, it was pretty obvious I had gotten my priorities screwed up.  My priorities should have gone God first, then family, then work, then Fraternity . . . But I'm not sure that's the order I'd been putting them in.

Over the last few years, I've shuffled my priorities around so that they are in the correct order again, and I found a simple solution to the ring issue.  I bought a wedding ring, and I wear that wedding ring every day now.  I bought a simple 3mm gold band that never comes off.  When I wear my 33rd Degree ring it goes on second right over the top of it (and I must admit, it looks pretty awesome with the four bands).
There is no obligation or oath I've taken that comes before those I made to my wife on our wedding day, which is why I wear that ring as a symbol of that promise, and that ring is the one that is always worn closest to my heart.

Another question came up in Robert Johnson's piece--what if she asked you to quit Freemasonry?  My answer would be that I would demit the very next day, because I put nothing ahead of my marriage.  However, that's easy to say because I know she'd never ask me to do that, and in truth, she gets something out of Freemasonry as well.  Thanks to the Craft, Valerie has wound up with a lot better husband than the one she originally married.


P.S. Speaking of Bro. Robert Johnson, you might check out an article that posted recently on the Midnight Freemasons Blog that Robert and I wrote together called What Brings Men To Freemasonry Generation After Generation?

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