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A few years ago my husband, Charlie, and I had some marital problems. Growing family responsibilities and financial worries took a toll on us, and we began arguing frequently, often late into the night. Even going out together for dinner was strained and full of forced conversation.

But neither of us could take the step that would end our 11-year marriage and bring heartbreak to our three young children. Deep down we knew we still loved each other, so we pledged to work it out.

The year that followed was hard. Charlie and I had grown neglectful about expressing ourselves, and for too long we had let small differences and disappointments build between us. We had stored up reserves of anger and resentment that pushed us apart. But through countless discussions and a lot of prayer, we began to close the gulf. Te more honest we were, the closer we became.

When I felt we were reaching solid ground, I asked my husband to give me an “eternity ring.” I had bought the advertising hype hook, line, and sinker: Show her you’d marry her all over again. It was not so much the ring I wanted; it was the reassurance I thought it would bring.

We went shopping on a beautiful summer day, my birthday. We left the kids with their grandparents and had a leisurely lunch before walking hand in hand along Jeweler’s Row in Philadelphia. Finally I found a ring I liked. While waiting for it to be adjusted, the jeweler took my left hand and peered at my engagement ring. “May I clean it for you?” he asked.

Charlie hunched over me and leaned on the glass case. “It really doesn’t sparkle like it used to,” he said. I slipped the ring off my finger.

A few minutes later the jeweler was back. The ring shown like new!

On the drive home, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I forgot all about the eternity ring. I just couldn’t believe how this old ring suddenly sparkled the way it had the day Charlie gave it to me. I had taken it for granted these past years, but with a little polish it could still make my heart beat fast.

And that’s the way it is with a marriage. You have to work at keeping it polished and new, or else the grime of the passing years will hide the joy. I put my hand on the seat between us and spread my fingers. Charlie covered my hand with his. As we pulled into the driveway, I said a prayer of thanks to God for helping me see the sparkle in something old when I thought I needed something new. (Anita M. Gogno, “Forever Yours,” in Guideposts, June 1994, p. 21)

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