I have to tell you, I nearly stopped reading in the second paragraph. I’m glad I didn’t. But it made me pause.
“…her left ring finger is a reflection of me. It’s a public display of my love for her. In daily interactions people will think of me, whether they know me or not, when they’re blinded by the shiny rock between her knuckles.”
This made me want to scream! I kept reading because I wanted to see what else you would say that would indicate your need to posess your bride; your need to make her one of your belongings. And there was nothing else. Why? Because men are raised to think this way and not think ABOUT thinking this way.
I can see that what I’ve read is a love story. But let me tell you about that shiny rock between her knuckles. Your description is not about your bride. It is very clearly and thoroughly a description about you and your ego. Seeing a wedding band as the marker your wife will wear that will tell others to back off, one that will tell them what kind of a “man” you are is to think of yourself as “marking” your wife by marrying her. It tells others that you’d just as soon pee on her to mark her, but humans don’t have good senses of smell.
Having read the rest of the piece, I realized you are not expressing a need for ownership. But rather that you are, like all of us, a member of a society that marks women at all times. As such, even in a moment of love and hope for a union with a partner, your brain brings forth the images that our social ideology has created: ownership, marking, stones as signs of the worth of the man, stones as markers of possession.
I’m not asking you to remove this from your story, and I hope others can read through it. But I wanted you to know that this one thing just gut-punched me. It screams of all that’s wrong with us as humans as the intro to a story that tells many of the things that are right about us: our willing partnering, our trusting enough to love, our belief in the future, our hope for ourselves and others.