The history of the wedding ring is an interesting one – this piece of jewelry was not always a symbol of romance and devotion. But it’s certainly taken on a different connotation in our times.
When Jenny and I wed six years ago, our pastor mentioned two particular symbols of the wedding band – ideas that I’d heard during wedding sermons before. First, the gold represents purity. And secondly, the loop represents an eternal love.
While no ring has yet been presented, the ideas of purity and a whole love are certainly demonstrated by Sword Art Online‘s protagonists, Kirito and Asuna.
A Pure Love
Asuna and Kirito share a pure love – and I’m not speaking in terms of a sexual relationship, though they’ve (apparently?) remained chaste (certainly Kirito finds this easier to do than Asuna!). The purity I’m speaking of has to do with how they love each other. Our heroine and hero love each other with a selfless love. I immediately thought of I Corinthians 13:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
– I Corinthians 13:4-8a
Kirito and Asuna have the purest of motives in their relationship – they want to care for and protect the other person. And this leads to the next symbol.
A Complete Love
After Kirito loses his hand (at first I thought it was a permanent loss!), Asuna comes to him tearfully, regretting the harm he’s encountered because of her. Kirito could have said, “You’re dang right! Because of you, I’ve had to endure suffering.” He could have decided to keep his distance or push her away, relationship-wise if not physically. But he doesn’t do that. Instead, he kisses her. Here is their ensuing conversation:
Kirito: My life belongs to you, Asuna, so I’ll use it for you. Let’s stay together until the end.
Asuna: And I…and I’ll protect you, too. I’ll protect you forever.
For Kirito, it is worth it. It’s worth the pain he’s going through and it’s worth the pain that might occur in the future. Remember, he still feels the sting of losing Sachi and he knows that one day he might also lose Asuna – after all, if this episode confirms anything, it’s that SAO is a dangerous game. But still, he finds that he needs Asuna. His life belongs to her. His life it far more valuable when it is her’s than when it is his alone.
This is a picture of Christian marriage. The Bible declares that the two come together as one. Adam became complete with Eve; and now, Kirito will become complete with Asuna.
And note Asuna’s words; she will protect Kirito “forever.” The completeness of marriage is not only in two becoming one; it is also in the contract that is born – one that is meant to last. Kirito will stay with Asuna “until the end.” Asuna will stay with Kirito “forever.” They will create a whole and complete marriage.
Now as they actually wed and become husband and wife, I’m sure they’ll face challenges. Whole, pure, and complete doesn’t mean perfect, easy, and happily-ever-after. Hardships will come into the marriage – but as with a gold ring, fire will mold it and make it strong.
And the end result will be something wholly beautiful.