When divorce is so common place, maybe we need to rethink the meaning of rings.

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These are the rings I am wearing right now.

I didn't used to wear shiny rings but actually, I'm 50, if not now then when?

These rings tell a stories, as all rings do.

The three gold bands are made out of the gold of my marriage, which ended in divorce.

I re-created them as family rings, one for each boy and one for me and I wear them all.  When the boys are big enough for the rings to fit, they will get their rings and so we will all be connected through the rings.  These rings carry the stories of our family.

The diamond ring came from my great aunt to my mum.  This ring carries the story of strong women.  My aunt looked after my mum during the wartime evacuation and my mum brought us up as a single parent at a time where divorce felt shameful and single-parenting was even more lonely and difficult than it is today.

You might think that rings can't tell stories and yet once I handed a ring to a woman I had not met before who told me things she could not have known about my life.  She said the ring told her.  Who knows what is true.

The garnet ring used to have seed pearls in it, but they fell out so I replaced them with cubic zircon.  One of the garnets is missing.  This was the ring my dad brought my mum as an eternity ring.  They divorced after 11 years.  Not so eternal.  This ring carries the stories of their marriage and my childhood.

I won't marry again.

The legal process of divorce focuses on the financial situation.  'Marriage', said my barrister when I asked her what she tells her children about marriage when she worked with divorce, 'is a purely financial contract.  Never go into marriage with someone you wouldn't go into business with'. 

Wedding rings and eternity rings are aspirations.  We marry hoping for the happy ever after and we hope it will last for all eternity.

But then, eternity is such a long time.

Maybe far better to buy rings in celebration of what has been.  Retrospective ringing and celebration of what has been overcome, shared, grown and created.

Maybe if we spent more time appreciating what we have and what has been shared there would be fewer divorces.  Who knows.

When my partner and I met we made a commitment right at the start; within the first few days of meeting.  We committed to being faithful and to telling the truth.  It is all we have ever committed to and yet it is enough.  I can't commit to a future with him as I don't know what the future holds, and he feels the same way.

Does that make it a failure?  A doomed relationship?  No more so than any other I would argue, maybe just honest.

Yet there is much to appreciate and celebrate from our time together.  Much that has grown and is flourishing with the four of us.

In this time where divorce rates are high, maybe the ring story needs to change.

Maybe rings need to be bought to celebrate what has been.  Retrospective ringing; kind of long service awards for lives lived together, with all their ups and downs.

Maybe we need to teach our youngsters, and ourselves, the importance of appreciation and reflection. Maybe the focus needs to be less on the wedding day and more on the anniversary.  Sometimes we spend too much time wanting what we hope  and long for that we don't notice what we have.

Maybe our rings need to tell a different story of gratitude and shared history rather than promises and dreams.

Julie Leoni

Writer, Listener, Teacher, Dr

I am a stress and well-being coach who supports women to ask for what they want and look after their own needs so that they can hear their heart's call and live a more empowered and meaningful life. I draw on experience and training in bereavement, domestic abuse, mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Transactional Analysis and other therapeutic approaches to get you loving you. I have 2 sons who I love loads (and who sometimes drive me crazy). I'm a Barefoot Trained coach and I got a distinction for my post-grad cert in 2011. I have a PhD which led me to look at Emotional Intelligence in schools and I have a number of academic and professional qualifications in various types of therapy. I have practiced meditation since I went to India over 25 years ago and I'm currently training to be a yoga teacher. I have written a couple of books, I teach psychology and work with a large variety of coaching clients.


Go to the profile of Sam Frewen
Sam Frewen over 2 years ago

Those are such wise words and very insightful.  These are things that you never appreciate, unless you have been there.  I like your meaning of the rings 

Go to the profile of Julie Leoni
Julie Leoni over 2 years ago

Thank you Sam

Go to the profile of Janet Hill
Janet Hill over 2 years ago

I like the idea of rings representing history. I don't wear a beautiful ring since the break up of my relationship as is signified our future together. If I wear it now, it can represent our time together jx

Go to the profile of Julie Leoni
Julie Leoni over 2 years ago

I'm glad it gives you some peace and pleasure with the ring again :)

Go to the profile of Julie Leoni
Julie Leoni over 2 years ago

I'm glad it gives you some peace and pleasure with the ring again :)

Go to the profile of Janet Hill
Janet Hill over 2 years ago

Thank you Julie