A little over nine years ago, the love of my life asked me to marry him.
I loved him with all of my heart, and immediately affirmed his proposal. He’d saved up for the perfect ring, and in true Daniel fashion, he opted to pay in cash. I’ll be honest here: it wasn’t my dream ring, but I loved him too much to care.
I didn’t know much about jewelry at the time (and I still don’t, really). I just thought it was pretty, and so did he.
It was a pink sapphire, and not a traditional diamond engagement ring.
Like any newly-engaged woman, I was eager to show off my new ring and status to friends and family. I dreamed of “oohs” and “ahhs” over dinners and Christmas parties. I imagined pictures of the ring and congratulatory comments of how beautiful it was.
None of that came.
The first response I received was, “oh.” Not “oh, wow!” or “oh, that’s lovely.” Just “oh.”
In the first few months of my engagement, the “oh” comments continued. I even got, “Is that your ring?” and “Well, you can always upgrade.”
I became embarrassed. So embarrassed, actually, that I stopped showing off my ring, and avoided talking about the engagement altogether. I remember a group of ladies discussing their upcoming nuptials; I hid my left hand and didn’t even mention mine.
Despite my avoidance of the subject, our engagement continued on and we were married. Like many young couples, we had the occasional quarrel during our first year. I remember one dispute clearly: it was when I first let my secret out.
“I hate my engagement ring.”
Yes, I said it. I meant it, too. I hated it with every fiber and ounce of my being. I cried, I bawled, and I spent the next year of marriage begging my husband for another ring. It never came. It didn’t come the next year, or even the next.
“Why won’t you just get me a ring!?,” I screamed from the top of my lungs after one heated Christmas argument. Yelling, screaming and crying about the ring after every holiday had became the norm at that point.
Finally, he told me; his answer was astonishing.
“I hate consumerism.”
“What?,” I asked.
“I hate consumerism. I hate the social conception that says I have to spend money to prove my love for you. I hate conformity. My goal in life isn’t to give you a ring – it’s to give you the world.”
…to give you the world.
I finally got it; and I finally understood.
I had been a terrible, horrible person.
I Timothy 6:7 reads:
For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.
I don’t remember what I got for Christmas in 2007. I don’t remember what I received for my birthday that year, either. I do, however, remember our tiny apartment, our neighborhood bike rides, and our trip to New York.
My husband gives me the world every single day: working hard, being a good provider, and sustaining a full and adventurous life. Whether it’s jet-setting off to Europe, starting a record label, writing a book or even trying a new recipe – I absolutely guarantee life is never boring with Daniel Horton. Every single day is filled with purpose and wonder.
In 20 years, tangible items will be irrelevant, but the memories we’re making will never fade. The love we show one another will live on forever. I’ve separated from materialism from purpose, and gained a new perspective on a full and prosperous life.
I couldn’t imagine living life any other way.