“With my two hands I give you my heart, and crown it with my love.”
One of the first gifts I gave my wife, Lorrain Croy, was an Irish Claddagh Ring. She appreciated the gift, and its story has served as the foundation for our marriage.
We dated for six years before getting married, and I just recently calculated I have now known my wife longer than I haven’t known her. The years have certainly gone by quickly, especially now with our four children. Fourteen years doesn’t seem like an incredible milestone in itself, but considering the average marriage in the United States only lasts eight years and approximately fifty percent of all marriages fail, I guess we are doing well. I don’t know the reasons behind those figures, however, I do know some couples go into their marriage with a Plan B. The Plan B resembles something like, “if things get too tough, or don’t work out, we’ll just quit and start over.” Lori and I did not go into our marriage with a Plan B, but if we had, it would more closely resemble a duel: ten paces, turn fire, winner take all. I’m joking of course. Please don’t enter into a relationship with a Plan B.
The Claddagh ring is a gold ring with a crown, and two hands holding a heart. I gave it to her when we were dating, and I wear a Claddagh as my wedding band. The crown represents Loyalty, the heart represents Love, and the hands represents Friendship; the three greatest qualities for a lasting marriage. My cousin Michael retold me the Irish legend behind the Claddagh as we visited with him on our honeymoon in Ireland:
A king near Galway Ireland had found the love of his life. He wanted to profess his love for her in a unique and powerful way. He summoned his wisest advisors and counselors and asked them what were the most important qualities for a long lasting marriage. He thought if he could learn this, then he would be with his wife for his entire life. After much thought and consideration, the king’s counselors returned with their answer: love, loyalty, and friendship were the three most important qualities to a marriage.
Without hesitation, the king summoned his most favored artisan and jeweler and asked that a golden ring be designed at once to represent these qualities. The jeweler created the first Claddagh ring and presented it to the king. He proposed and married his love at once. His wedding band served as a reminder to him for what he should strive for in his marriage. The design of the ring became popular and the ring of choice for all couples in his kingdon and eventually all of Ireland.
Lori is my best friend, and I love her with all my heart. While our marriage is not without disagreements and passionate discussions, we truly live by the qualities represented in the Claddagh and work with each other to always give our best to each other and our four children.
I am thankful to all of the wonderful marriages that have served as positive role models to me from my family to my friends. I continue to learn about being a better husband by observing some phenomenal couples working together through tough times.
I once heard someone say, “To have a great marriage you first must find the right person, and then be the right person.” My Claddagh helps me to work at being the right person; I know I have already found the right one.
Kelly is an inspirational speaker, author, and artist.
Kelly Croy is a chalk artist and professional speaker. His presentations have entertained and amazed audiences across the nation including corporations, schools, churches, conferences, and numerous other venues where people come together to be entertained and improve their lives. Please consider booking Kelly for your next event.
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