What women grieve

While facilitating a woman’s healing group, it became apparent to me that I hit a universal sore spot with the group when I mentioned wedding rings and the pain associated with keeping yours on after you have received sexual addiction betrayal by your spouse. There are few subjects that can bring about such a resounding nodding of heads and immediate body language reaction. Taking a poll of the room not one woman was wearing her original wedding ring that day. Outside of wedding rings, the other topic that women seem to grieve are family photographs (more on that in Part II). I have always wondered why both subjects are so hard for women and decided to investigate and ask further to gain better understanding.

Tied to a memory

Many women feel very strongly about their wedding rings because they are not only symbols of their commitment to the marriage but because our culture places a lot of value on the receiving of the ring. When a woman becomes engaged, it’s the first symbolic gesture of the engagement experience to show everyone her ring. Her excitement about the commitment is tied to the experience of receiving the ring and her memory of the occasion will always be connected to that ring. It is the embodiment of her fiancée taking the time to select jewelry and invest in her. It is the symbol of transition, of two lives becoming one. If this sounds a bit over the top to you, chances are you are male. Though men do value the engagement experience, they don’t growing up in a culture that worships Disney princesses and happy endings. Ask any 20-something if they have envisioned the type of wedding ring they’d like to have one day, and I guarantee you that they have given it some thought. Even if you were not that type of 20-something, there is something about receiving that ring that goes deep.

From this day forward…

On her wedding day, when that same ring is placed on her left hand during the reading of vows, she symbolically seals the deal when that ring is set. From that day forward her life is different. If you are male, try to imagine what it would be like to wake up one morning and say some words before God and your family, slip a ring on and from that day on, you take on an entirely new last name. The identity and name you have been called, written on countless school papers, have identified with your whole life, that name which is tied to your family of origin is in existence no longer. Instead you are taking on the name of the person you have committed your whole life to, the person who you trust and love more than any other. Hopefully that helps put some perspective upon why the wedding day for the woman is so life-changing.

Time will tell

For those of you unable to ever slip that ring on again because of the tremendous brokenness that your marriage endured, you are not alone. If you are wearing it begrudgingly but faithfully, you too are not alone. If looking at it makes you feel sad and a deep sense of loss, you are most certainly not alone. You might need to put those sweet circles that once held so much excitement and happiness away for awhile and that’s ok. Whatever choice you make, you are entitled to grieve the loss of your wedding ring and what that symbol once meant to you. Give yourself time to sort through and process it all.

[Are you struggling with a sexual addiction? Or are you a partner of a person who struggles? Specialized sexual addiction counselors have training for not only sexual addiction but helping partners through the pain of this addiction. Search your area for counselors who have the acronyms of CSAT (Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist) or SRT (Sexual Recovery Therapist). S-Anon, COSA, and Pure Desire offer support groups for partners. Click on the link to find a meeting near you.]

Speak Your Mind


Windsor, CO


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