04/11/2012 12:08 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Inked: Why I'm Keeping My Marriage Tattoo

The marriage didn't last, but the body art is here to stay.

Every time I get undressed, I think about my ex-husband. No, not like that. The man I married (and subsequently split from 25 months later) will forever be etched in my mind and my body, all because of the matching tattoos we got inked on our right hips a few weeks after exchanging "I Do's" in an idyllic ceremony on the shore of Kennebunkport, Maine in June 2009. And while the union didn't last the test of time, the small, black cursive letters, reading "mlmf" serve as a constant reminder of the happy, and not-so-happy, times we shared.

Ink-free until meeting me (I, on the other hand, entered the relationship with two pieces of body art) my former husband never planned on getting a tattoo -- mostly to avoid freaking out his conservative, Jewish mother. But plans changed after we got home from the honeymoon. Originally, we had planned to engrave our wedding bands with something meaningful but my all-diamond band wouldn't allow for that. So we decided our bodies would have to do. I didn't think twice about it -- it was just an addition to my growing collection. And I was proud of my less adventurous partner for his bravery, something I saw (happily) as an act of defiance. While I had cautiously avoided the disaster of branding myself with any of my previous ex's names or initials, this seemed different. Not only because he was my husband and at the time -- I couldn't have predicted that our love story would eventually come to a devastating end -- but because I knew, no matter what happened between us, I would always have a deep love for this person.

Just over two years after squirming on the table at a misplaced parlor in swanky Boca Raton, Florida (our home at the time), the marriage was over.

Sure, now that we have parted ways, it would be easy, albeit painful and expensive, to have the tattoo removed. And there were times when I thought about doing it. But divorce is painful enough, and the thought of removing all traces of the man I once vowed to spend the rest of life with feels wrong, like a form of betrayal. And we already endured enough of that during our brief, yet intense, marriage.

So I carry this inscription around proudly, as a bittersweet reminder of where I've been and what I've lost. No matter how short the marriage was, or how painful the split, they were most definitely some of my most memorable, enjoyable moments. Even though we didn't work as husband and wife, the four letters I have inscribed on my torso remind me how much this man once meant, and will always mean, to me. Our split certainly doesn't diminish the fond memories I have, and will always have, for him.

Just because we are no longer a couple doesn't mean that my ex doesn't still mean the world to me. In a way, it's very comforting to know he is still with me wherever I go -- 'til death do us part.

As for those four little letters? My love, my friend. And to me, that is what he will always be.