One of the most significant parts of the Jewish marriage is the “ring ceremony,” when the groom places a golden ring on the finger of his future wife and commits his soul to hers forever. But this is not the only ring of the marriage ceremony. There are another seven invisible rings symbolically formed by the bride, when she walks seven times around the groom and commits her soul to their marriage. Finally, there is the overarching ring that surrounds both the bride and the groom together—the ornate chupahWhy the obsession with rings? canopy. This ring represents the third partner in marriage—Almighty G‑d, who surrounds the couple and blesses their marriage.

Why the obsession with rings?

When a couple gets married, they create an exclusive ring—a circle of marriage, a personal covenant between themselves and G‑d. This circle of marriage delineates the borders of a sacred space for the husband and wife in which no trespassers may enter! The circle must never be breached. Both the husband and wife must ask themselves at all times if they are doing what it takes to protect this circle of marriage. This is not an easy task. Because of its delicate nature, it can easily be breached unwittingly or in a subtle manner.

I was once standing in line at the checkout counter of the local supermarket, when I noticed that the lady right in front of me was struggling to make her payment on the credit card reader. Every card she presented was rejected. Needless to say, she was very humiliated—especially because of the rabbi who standing right behind her (me). Instinctively, she rolled her eyes and blurted out to me, “Oh my! There goes my husband again. I can’t believe how he never manages to pay his credit card bills on time!”

IWas she protecting her circle of marriage? thought to myself at the time, what was really happening here? Here was this woman confessing her most private matters to an absolute stranger. In order to save face to me, she was prepared to belittle her husband in such a demeaning manner. Was she protecting her private and personal circle of marriage here?

It dawned on me there and then how careful we need to be in protecting that sacred space of marriage. What may seem to be an inconsequential, impulsive outburst can really be undermining the entire marriage.

We need to be vigilant in guarding our marriages by strengthening and supporting the impenetrable ring we placed around it!