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Miss Manners: His new ring leaves wife feeling left out

DEAR MISS MANNERS: My husband and I have been married 12 years. He once lost his original wedding band, and we got another one. (Maybe 10-plus years ago – a while back.)

Today, he “surprised” me with his Father’s Day gift of a new wedding band. His replaced one had gotten too small and needed to be re-sized.

Truth is, I love it – it’s just perfect – but I feel like I should have been a part of it. The kids (we have three) had been telling me there was a surprise for me at home. That’s what the surprise was. He bought himself a new wedding band. For Father’s Day, no less.

I feel awful for being upset with him. He says, “Why are you upset? This is the ring I wear and shows that I love you.”

GENTLE READER: Funny, Miss Manners is wondering the same thing. Why are you upset?

Is it possible that a third enactment of the ritual of giving him a ring is more important to you than his feelings?

He has now told you plainly what this act symbolized to him. Anyway, you should have been able to deduce that from his planning it was a holiday surprise, a demonstration of his pride in the family. He actually used a day when appreciation would be ordinarily be directed to himself.

And you have told him – and the children, who were in on the plan – that loving intentions don’t count; that you get to decide how things should be done. Miss Manners would think that you would want to cancel that ungracious lesson as best you can.

This is a case in which explaining your own feelings would make things worse. The implication would be that your husband should have known them. Rather, it should be an apology, combined with a show of appreciation and it should be made in front of the children, as they were in on the surprise.

But now that Miss Manners has scolded you, she will attend to those feelings of yours. To compensate for your not having participated in buying the ring, she suggests you say: “It’s so beautiful. Will you let me take it to be engraved with our initials and our wedding date?”

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