Sunday, November 11, 2007

What to do with the wedding ring?

Someone I know mostly from her blog is in the process of getting a divorce, which brings back memories of my own over 30 years ago – some sad, some funny, and for some, the returns are not in even now (!) For example, what do you do with your wedding ring when you get divorced? Someone else I know threw it into the sea, another flushed it down the toilet. There were certainly many angry times when those impulses felt appealing, but acting on them seemed wrong to me. Perhaps if we had not had children together, I would have felt entitled to act more childishly myself, but because they would be affected by every decision I made, I didn't. And I'm glad, because it would have meant not respecting the "mistake."

When I took art lessons many years later, I learned from my wonderful teachers that "mistakes" are not what I thought. Instead of dwelling on the mistake as a personal failure, I could try to look at it objectively, as an unintended outcome, a kind of surprise. I could spend my energies determining what to do with it. In art, I could either throw out the unfinished work, erase or overpaint the "mistake," or use the mistake to go in a different direction: software developers do it when they turn a bug into a feature. This approach demands more creativity than "yes/no," or "good/bad," but it's also more profitable interesting.

I certainly didn't expect to get divorced when I got married: who does? A family that experiences divorce has plenty of work to do to stay functional, and has to create many of its own transitions, such as the pickup and dropoff of childen with the other parent. Anyhow, in the end, I came up with a solution about my wedding ring that I am still happy with: after a suitable time had elapsed – I don't remember whether it was months or years – I took the thick gold wedding ring from my jewelry box to the jewelry district, where, ironically, my ex-father-in-law used to work, and traded it in for a gift to myself: a smaller gold ring that I still wear all the time on my left pinky.


Claude said...

I remember when my father died, my mother had me go to the hospital people and ask for his wedding ring. I cannot remember if she ever wore it after that.
And my uncle, whose wife died before him used to wear her ring on his little finger.
My husband and I never wore a wedding ring. So that's one thing I've never had to think of!
I think you did quite the right thing in buying something that would be your own!

Jo said...

That's a great idea, getting something for yourself. I think I'll look into that after the dust settles.

Lioness said...

I think that was a beautiful way of coping with it, you turned something that ultimately didn't work well and turned it into something that gives you joy daily. I don't think it could work better than that.

Savtadotty said...

Everyone: I just couldn't see the point in having it around, and I liked the idea that the jeweler would melt it down and use the gold for something else. Ecologically sound!

~quoting beth said...

It has been a year today since my divorce papers were filed. On occasion I still find myself playing with the empty spot on my finger. The ring itself resides in a drawer where it has been for quite some time. I still don't know what to do with it? They were a matching set. Should I offer to sell them together and give him half the money? Hmmmm?