Article written by Marcia Watts Relationship Counsellor/psychotherapist PACFA reg. (clinical), Mental Health Counsellor. Marcia is a psychotherapist on the southside of Brisbane, Queensland.

She works with individuals, couples and families to enrich their relationships, helping them step through life’s challenges and into their strengths and possibilities. Marcia has a special interest in working with people going through divorce recovery, remarriage and stepfamilies, as well as grief and loss. Marcia can be contacted through her website.

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A bit over a decade or so ago I went through the rigours of divorce. If you’re a single mum via divorce I don’t need to tell you what that’s like.

One person described their divorce experience to me as like going through open heart surgery without the aesthetic. Yep, I think that pretty much sums it up for most of us who’ve been there and done that.

As a relationship counsellor, I often am privileged to come along-side other people wanting to heal and recover from the rigours of divorce.  A part of that journey for them, and it was for me too, was to figure out what to do with my old engagement and wedding rings.

For me, I really liked my rings.  They weren’t big, ornate or terribly expensive, but they had been on my hand for almost 15 years and I felt rather attached to them.  Not having them there, was important on one hand as I navigated my journey as a newly single woman/mother, but it also felt a bit bare and naked.

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I sat on this question of what to do about my old rings for quite a while and then I came up with an option that brought me fresh energy and hope. Something that I was really ready to receive and open up to.  I decided to get my old rings remoulded into one new ring and that contained symbolic significance to my past, present and future.

I kept the diamonds out of my old rings and then added in the middle of the setting my birth stone, which happens to be a garnet as I’m born in January.  I then added some filigree design to it as well as I have Scottish and Irish heritage. I had previously had a clawed setting as that was all the rage at the time I got married. However, I found with lots of nappy changing and handwashing over the years my clawed setting would often get caught on things. So I decided to go with a design that was a smooth and polished and felt more comfortable.

Once I got my ring back from the jewellers I wondered what finger to wear my new ring on?

I decided to go with the ‘tall’ finger on my right hand.  This could be interpreted as an ‘up yours’ kind of concept.  For me, by the time I had my new ring made I was well past all of those angry, resentful emotions and instead the tall finger on my right hand was symbolic of my strength and new identity as I am right handed.

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This re-made old ring became a symbol of my new life. It was a reminder of where I had come from. It was my past heritage, identity as a wife and mother, struggles and challenges, but also how I found a way to stay true to myself, thrive and step into a new identity as a single again woman and mother with greater self-knowledge and wisdom.

A friend said to me at the time, that an outward ritual helped her consolidate internal change. This deeply resonated with me. So in that 1-2 years post-divorce I engaged in a number of symbolic rituals that allowed me to actively grieve the ending of my first marriage and step into my new identity as a single woman and mother, and then as a remarried woman.

I still wear this ring on my tall finger of my right hand. Because, while I’m petite at 5’3, I’m a tall woman on the inside.

I encourage you to think about how you could also allow your old rings to bring you new life.

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