What does the Bible say about Wedding Rings?
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Question: What does the Bible say about wedding rings? What do they symbolize?
Answer: Various societies, throughout history, have their own customs regarding marriage and the symbols they use to represent the union between two people. The giving of a ring to mark a betrothal is an old Roman custom that predates Christianity. At a time when arranged marriages were quite common, the ring was likely pledging the fulfilling of the marriage contract. Christians, under the Roman Empire, tolerated rings given in a betrothal ceremony. There is not much evidence, if any, that suggests they had any religious significance. The Bible is also silent about them.
Why place a ring on the left hand? Because ancient Romans believed the left hand’s fourth finger (the 'ring finger') contained a special vein connected directly to the heart. According to Jewish tradition, the placing of the ring, without stone or inscription, is on the first finger of the bride's right hand. In early times, it often bore the portraits of the bridal pair.
The ring itself represented a never-ending circle that symbolized eternal love. A European tradition encourages the engraving of the name of one's intended spouse and the date of one's intended marriage on the ring's inside surface.
Why do brides generally stand to the left of the groom when both face the person who officiates the ceremony? Tradition states that since grooms often had to defend their brides during the ceremony that standing in such a way freed his right hand to grab his sword.
Although the Bible does not mention wedding rings, it does give couples a clear admonition on how to treat each other: "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. (Ephesians 5:22-25, 28, NKJV)