I vividly remember the physical pain I felt seeing my husband’s wedding ring gone from his finger the day after our separation. The nakedness of his hand was evidence of the chilling reality that commitment could be over from one day to the next. Despite what was happening to us, I still felt very much married, at least in the eyes of society. It would be several more weeks before I felt that I could take my rings off.
Once I did remove my wedding band and 10 year anniversary ring, I was constantly touching my ring finger with my thumb, feeling the strange sensation of nothing but skin there. It became a nervous habit the way a child’s tongue regularly pokes itself into the hole in its mouth after losing a tooth. I moved my diamond anniversary band to my right hand for a few months, still wanting to be able to wear my beautiful ring while mourning the fact that the “past, present, and future” represented by my center stone and two smaller side stones no longer existed.
At some point during those months, I accidentally hit my ring against something hard, and one of the supporting prongs became damaged. I had to take it off or risk losing one of the diamonds. It was a sign that it was time to stop wearing that ring, too.
I was curious about what other women had done with their wedding rings and read about it online. Selling the ring is a great option for some. I was intrigued by the concept of a divorce ring that some had mentioned. I saw images of solid bands interrupted by broken, open spaces, to represent the finite-ness of those marriages. To me that didn’t put a positive spin on divorce but rather emphasized the breaking up of a relationship, a family, and a life. I wouldn’t have wanted that on my finger as a daily reminder.
Having jewelry that would accompany me into my divorcehood and new life seemed an appropriate way to turn something unfortunate into something positive. The jewelry, like my life, didn’t have to be over, but it could take on new significance. Rather than focus on the brokenness of my marriage, I wanted a ring that would symbolize the best part of my marital union that would never end: our two children. I was no longer married to their father, but I was committed to my children forever.
The two small diamonds on my anniversary band that had previously represented the past and the future would now represent my son and my daughter. I found an antique white gold setting that was just my style and had the diamonds re-set. The day I went to pick up my divorce ring, I had a breathless moment when I saw how pretty it was.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” the jeweler said as I slipped it on my right ring finger. It was no bling, but it was elegant, tasteful, and best of all, it embodied something precious to me. Yes, even divorce can be beautiful, I realized.
When it came to my wedding band, I ended up deciding to keep it. It is the outward symbol of a lifetime commitment that I did not choose to break, and a part of me wants to always remember this fact by keeping that little gold band intact. My wedding ring is a souvenir, and my divorce ring is a part of who I am now today.
What you do with your wedding jewelry has to feel right to you, regardless of your decisions. If you’re considering a divorce ring, think about what has personal significance for you. What can divorce represent – positively – in your life? How might the pain of the past be transformed into something that can make you smile every time you see it on your hand?
How did you commemorate your divorce?
photo credit: Watson Engagement 2011 via photopin (license)