Should You Take Off Your Wedding Ring?

When (or if) to take off your wedding ring is an interesting question. There are many different perspectives, for sure. Here’s mine:
 
I remember very well the words I said to my wife (and she to me) on our wedding: “Monica, take this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity.”
 
A wedding ring is a sacramental. It is a symbol of a sacrament — the Sacrament of Marriage. As far I understand, having a ring is not a requirement of the sacrament. It is simply a visible symbol that the sacrament took place. Whether the marriage is valid or not is up to the Tribunal of the Catholic Church, should an annulment be filed, but that’s another topic.

Here’s What the Church Teaches

In the eyes of the Church, you are married whether you wear a ring or not. The ring is given by your spouse as his/her sign of their love and fidelity. So, using that logic, if they are no longer demonstrating their love and fidelity, they have reneged on the promise that the ring represents. A personal decision would have to be made by the ring wearer if their spouse reneged and if it is permanent. If they believe the promise is no longer being honored, it would not be inappropriate to take the ring off. Certainly, a civil divorce would be a clear indication that the spouse is no longer standing behind the promise that the ring conveys.
 
It is very important to understand that just because one is not wearing a ring does not mean they are no longer married. Ring or no ring, they are required to honor that marriage until they receive an annulment.
 
I also want to add that it is quite possible for a spouse to recommit to the marriage before, during, or after a divorce. When this happens, it is perfectly appropriate to put the ring back on. After all, it is a sign of an existing reality. I personally know of a couple that was legally divorced for four years and then reconciled. They renewed their vows and started to wear their rings again.
 
I took my ring off when my divorce proceedings started.

Question: Have you taken your ring off? Why or why not?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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4 thoughts on “Should You Take Off Your Wedding Ring?

  1. Did everything humanly possible to save the marriage. On the day the divorce was final I stopped wearing the ring as it was given to me by someone who no longer believed in what it reprrsented.

  2. I had to buy my own ring, and his, too. He was supposed to pay me back when he returned from California to get married ( he was upset that he had to do that), but that didn’t happen. I also had to make all the arrangements for the wedding and reception; all he had to do was show up and feel good about not having to do any work. There had been no engagement or ring (he had one foot out the door and that foot was always mine); “Ya don’ like it?? LEAVE!”) was his mantra. This happened in lieu of any discussion. In the beginning, he couldn’t do enough for me and was very sweet. That was so new to me, since I had come from a very bad, loveless, dysfunctional family, and he acted as though he really cared for me, so I thought I could have a wonderful life at last. He really had me snookered, because after he got to know me, he began to mistreat me with constant criticisms, hostility and blame. He had some kind of pre-conceived idea about who and what I was, and when he saw that I didn’t fit his mold and/or reality would intrude on his fantasies, he would become upset, angry and hostile. He had me believing everything that wasn’t right in his view was my fault and there was always an undertone of hostility. This began about a year into the relationship and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I even thought of walking out the side door of the church when I arrived at the altar where he was waiting because I had misgivings. I knew he didn’t want children, so he lied when he said the vows (I didn’t know at that time that the marriage was null and void). That is the reason my Annulment came through in 1998.
    I finally took off the ring and transferred it to my right hand in 1995 after I had decided to divorce him, because I had had enough of his moodiness, narcissism, bad attitude and constantly blaming me for everything that wasn’t perfect in his own life. He wanted me to be perfect but he didn’t have to be.
    Well, that’s it in a nutshell (a pretty big one!); thirty years of my life down a black hole. If I didn’t have my son and daughter, I don’t know where I’d be. I thank God for them; they saved my sanity.
    Sorry it was such a long explanation (I felt it was necessary); I tend to write books.

    • Melanie,

      Thank you for sharing your experience. My guess is you learned a lot from this experience. I remember a quote from Benjamin Franklin that always stuck with me: “Pain instructs.” So true, isn’t it?!

      Live Abundantly,
      Vince