What’s marriage without the ring?

We’ve been married for almost 3 years. When our rings came in, we realized my husband’s own had a problem. It was smaller and the quality wasn’t what we wanted. Our supplier agreed to replace it and he did. Again, it wasn’t really what we wanted so we decided not to bother about it again.

Hubby was supposed to manage and wear it like that while we get ready to buy a ring that’s fit for his desires. He didn’t fancy wearing the ring on the fourth finger as all married men do. He’ll wear it on the index finger today and tomorrow he’ll wear it on the middle finger. Whenever I asked him why, he’ll give some funny answers and laugh it off.

He’ll say something like; “It’s a new fashion I’m creating.” Or something like, “It’s nothing just trying something new.” He’s a good man and I have no reason to doubt him or think he’s cheating. At least, I don’t have any proof against him. For all these three years of marriage, my husband has not worn his ring for twenty-four hours straight. He’ll flip it on his various fingers for some hours and some hours later, you wouldn’t see him wearing the ring. “The ring isn’t quality and it’s also not catchy enough,” he’ll complain.

I told him, “Dear, this is temporary. We’ll get a new one soon so there’s nothing to be embarrassed about.” One day, he took the ring off his finger and put it in flaming fire from the cooker. I asked, “Why are you doing this?” He answered, “I’m testing it to see if it’s an original ring.” He stood there watching until the ring got burnt. Can you imagine that? Clearly, he can’t go about wearing a burnt ring and that means he’ll have to walk around with a naked finger. For what it worth, I can’t tell.

Last year, after a series of heated arguments and sober discussions, I gave him up to January of this year to get himself a new ring. We are in July and there’s no ring on his finger. He said, “I’m still saving money because the kind of ring I want to buy is quite expensive.” I literally had to drag him to see another dealer the other day but he keeps insisting on waiting till he gets enough money to buy that expensive ring he’s craving.

I’m tired of talking and I’ve resolved not to talk about it again. I’ve started removing my ring too thinking it will get him to act but he said, “Marriage isn’t in the ring and I don’t mind if we both don’t wear it.”

I don’t wear my ring these days. After all, he doesn’t care? But the problem with me now is I can’t walk around everywhere not wearing my ring. It’s beginning to draw stares and friends have started casting quizzical looks at me. They haven’t said it aloud but I know they’ve been drawing conspiracy theories about my marriage. That’s what worries me—people thinking my marriage is in shambles just because I’m not wearing a ring but my husband doesn’t care. So I’m no longer wearing a ring until he wears his.

— Candy, Ghana

I stayed a virgin until I was twenty-two years and in the second year of university. I wanted to keep it pure until I meet the man who will take me to the altar. When I met Kobby, sparks flew and love for him made me weak at the base. He said, “It’s good you are keeping it for the man you’ll marry but the man you’ll marry is standing right in front of you so why don’t you give it to him?”

He said it jovially but my naive mind believed him so one day when we were alone, he tried it and I didn’t resist. I gave it all away, believing he was my present and my future. He was at level four hundred while I was at level two hundred. Some months later, he completed school and left campus. Not too long afterward, he came back to campus as a teaching assistant for his faculty. We kept it going, believing and trusting in our stars to carry us to the end of the line.

Just when I was about to complete school, Kobby had a scholarship to study abroad so he left me again. I was happy for him. He was building a solid future for the two of us and that gladdened my heart. While abroad, it became very difficult for him to stay in touch. He was working four different shifts to be able to pay for rent and his general upkeep. He had to also attend class and study most times. It was hard getting him on the phone for five minutes. He was always busy with something or life in general.

We thought we were strong enough to last the mile but the distance between us was long and stronger. Two years later, we had slowly drifted apart. I didn’t have his contact and I couldn’t see him on social media because he deactivated all his accounts. Time heals and time consoles. With time I healed and moved on from the wreck of a relationship that never could withstand the test of time. I was single again and walking through the sea of singlehood, fearing what might come my way.

I had dated for five years but I wasn’t an experienced dater because I had dated only one person. I was scared of starting all over again and not knowing where that would lead me to. Then I saw Josh one day. A polished human who had recently returned from abroad. I loved his politeness and how refined he was when it came to treating a woman. After a few months together, he proposed and I said yes. I fell in love with him but most importantly, I fell in love with his future plans for us.

He said, “I had come back to Ghana to make a living. I’ll try my best, if things go according to plan, I’ll stay here forever. If not, both of us will leave and settle permanently abroad.

A little over a year later, we got married. I was proud of myself. Yes, I couldn’t bring virginity to the table but I was happy I could do it in only two jumps—from Kobby to Josh. That was all it took for me to get married.

I was working in a government institution and life was ok for me. Josh had started his own business and things were going just ok for him. He expected more but what he was getting was just enough for him to keep on trying. A year and a half after marriage, he said, “This place is not good for the kind of business I want to run. I will like to go back abroad.”

I thought we were going together. I believed “two to become one” meant the two of us have to go places together but when the time came for him to go, he left alone, promising; “Don’t worry, I’ll come back for you before you know it.”

Two…three years later, he was still there without me—living life as though I didn’t exist.

In my distress and confusion, I walked into the arms of Kobby again. Our meeting was sheer coincidence. He was surprised to see my ring but I told him it was nothing serious because the one who put it on my finger couldn’t keep a simple promise. Good old Kobby, he still had a thing for me so, after several nights of talking and exchanging memories, I traveled to his place and spent the night with him.

“You should have been mine,” he said. “I should have been wearing your ring,” I responded.

He looked down on my finger and saw that I was wearing no ring. He asked, “What happened to your ring?” I answered, “It doesn’t deserve to be on my finger while with you so I removed it.” I didn’t for once believed Kobby was going to ask me to leave Josh and marry him. But if I had to cheat, it was easier cheating with someone who had already known my nakedness. Kobby—Josh—Kobby doesn’t make it three. It still makes it two and that’s alright.

And from that day on, I didn’t wear my ring again. My husband heard it through gossips that I’d removed my ring. He was angry and started using that as an escape to call off our marriage. I was ready for him. “I’ll send my family to your family to end the marriage. Clearly you don’t want the marriage again,” he screamed. True to his words, he sent his family over, and soon the traditional rites were performed to end the marriage. The court issues tarried for so long but eventually, that also ended. I was free again.

Kobby—I didn’t think he would marry me but I kept staying with him. It felt safer until one day, he too was gone. He traveled abroad again and never looked back. I’m still single. No, I’m not waiting for a man. I’m living life as though I’m going to remain single forever. If a miracle happens along the way, we’ll give marriage another try.

— Annette, Ghana