Divorce and the wedding rings as sacramentals

Since our wedding rings are sacramentals, what sort of care should we take with them when my husband and I divorce? Can they be sold? Can they be melted down? What is appropriate?

So they are no longer two but one flesh.** What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.”** 7 They said to him, “Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce, and to put her away?” 8 He said to them, “For your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.” (Mt 19:6-8)

If your marriage is valid in God’s eyes, then divorce is just a legalistic, civil, administrative action. i would keep the rings because marriage is a life-long commitment “for better or worse!”

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, Ora Pro Nobis Peccatoribus!


Do you have a safety deposit box?
It is true that marriage is indissoluble.The Church’s stance regarding civil divorce is that it is simply a division of property. I don’t know your personal situation, and moreover I think it is best to keep that part of this painful time confidential.
What I do know is that we are called to reconcile with “the brother who has a grievance.” This of course applies to spouses. Unfortunately, one spouse may be unwilling to respond to the invitation to reconsider divorce.
You may have already felt the release that comes from letting the other person go, of removing your ring. Most of us are familiar with “Let go and let God.” We know “If you love something let it go.” The next step, whether or not accepted is to extend the invitation to start over, to rekindle the flame that brought you together in the first place, to become reacquainted.
If you sell the rings or have them melted down, you deny their significance, the covenant relationship between man and woman.
Marriage Encounter is for strong marriages, to make them stronger. There is also a program (the name slips my mind at the moment) for marriages that are struggling, for spouses who may even be estranged. Invite your spouse to one of these weekends.

My prayer petition when invited to add to the Prayers of Petition at Mass is “for healing within families, especially for reconciliation between estranged husbands and wives that they may once more reflect the Love of Christ through the Sacrament of Matrimony.”


Thanks. That is exactly what I thinking of. When a person has a heart attack, we rush him to the hospital where doctors work to bring him/her back from the brink of death. Unfortunately in our society, we do not give the same care to marital relationships in the same type of danger. I read that 80% of divorces go uncontested. Imagine how many marriages could be saved if this percentage were reversed, if one spouse simply said, "Let’s try again."
Keeping the rings readily accessible and in sight can keep a person’s focus on the pain. Nobody needs that. Placing the rings in a safety deposit box on the other hand places them out of sight while still recognizing their value, not simply materially but as a sign of the covenant.

Let me begin by saying my heart goes out to you during this time. My divorce was “easy” compared to most, but it still ripped my heart out. (And before you all jump on me and say divorce is not allowed in the Church, let me just point out that I wasn’t in the Church when I married, and easily received an annulment when I returned to the Church.)

OK, so I would recommend what another poster said about keeping the ring(s) in a safety deposit box if possible. Pray and pray for your soon-to-be-ex and for your own soul. You never know what God is wanting to do in any given situation. Depending on your circumstances, you may also want to immediately consider something like Retrovaille; or that may not be for you.

God bless you, and know that you are in my prayers.


I am definitely not going to jump on you. Yes, Church teaching regarding marriage has already been mentioned, but divorce is not always a mutual choice. None of us is responsible for the actions of another person, regardless of how much we love him/her.
Scripture says God is close to the brokenhearted.
Church teaching focuses less on divorce itself and more on the teaching that remarriage is adultery (for a sacramental marriage).

My question was more a curious one than a plea for advice. I should have worded the question differently.

As for my personal circumstances, I spoke with my parish priest today and he told me I’ve done more than could be expected, and that there is no hope unless my husband gets professional help and changes his ways.

I’m probably going to need money in the very near future. I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past three and a half years, and I only just started looking for work yesterday (my husband left us Wednesday, however he filed for divorce more than a month ago). So I’d like to be able to sell the rings, but I don’t know what would be best considering they’re blessed.

I appreciate any prayers, please direct them towards the softening of my husband’s heart, as well as his mental and spiritual health. I’ve been asking for St. Maximilian Kolbe’s intercession.

Keep the rings in the safety deposit box.
I understand very well how difficult things are at the moment. Each of us is limited in what we can do. We can not change another person. We can only change ourselves.
Saint Dymphna is the Patroness of the Mentally Afflicted.
With God all things are possible.

I know there are a lot of ads on TV and elsewhere promising “Cash for Gold.” I think you have the answer. Although selling or pawning the rings may bring quick cash, their value is greater than what you would receive. Selling would also demean what they stand for.
You might even attach a prayer to the rings as you lock them away, a prayer of trust in God to heal your husband and to guide him to the help he needs.
As you pray, you can say what you have already stated here. “Lord, I know that maybe I could get enough money to provide for my family for a few days if I sell these rings. I am placing my trust in you to provide for the financial needs of my family. I place these rings here as a sign of that trust.”

When you pray the rosary, bind your husband along with your children to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Maximilian Kolbe had a great devotion to Our Lady.

Hmmmm…I know of Catholic friends who were forced through divorce by spouses that abandoned them for new relationships. My friends have melted their rings down and transformed them into symbols of their renewed and stronger faith in God (a rosary ring for one, and a gold cross for the other). There is nothing wrong with that.

I tossed both my ring and the ring of my ex-husband into the fireplace last year, but they only charred and stained but did not melt. That was an appropriate symbol for me of a marriage that ended under hellish conditions at the end.:rolleyes::shrug:

I suspect the sacramental aspect was lacking in our marriage, and so does the Tribunal, although they are still working on the petition and haven’t officially handed down a judgement yet.

If you need the cash the rings will bring, taking them to a pawn shop might not be the best idea because you won’t get much. Can you get them appraised by a jeweller who buys and sells gold and gems? Then you can decide what to do with them.

I don’t have my own ring. As already stated, I understand the release that came from removing it. I took it to my pastor who already had my husband’s. I put mine inside his and took it back home. I did not take either of them when I moved out. I have no idea what has become of them. There has been much moving around by both of us over the years. Everything I ever owned has been destroyed or stolen.
This post is not meant to lament my past. It is merely meant to show that I understand full well the pain of being the faithful spouse.
That is also why you do not want to keep the rings in the house.
"Like a maiden married in youth and then cast out, the Lord your God your maker shall become your husband."
Remaining faithful to the covenant in no way means not moving on in life and following the path to which we have been called.
Keeping the rings in a safety deposit box is a way of keeping the door open a crack for the reconciliation to which we are all called. It does not mean “holding your breath” for that which may never happen.
I might understand melting them down, but not until an annulment has been granted. That has not happened in my own case. I have been called to remain faithful.

It is expensive to start a new life as a single parent. There is a temptation to sell the rings which will not provide as much as needed. There is a stigma attached to welfare, but it was originally developed to help widowed women and their children. An archaic term for the abandoned divorcee is grass widow. Your taxes have already paid for what you would receive if you take this step. Food stamps will help put food on the table. The medical needs of your children can be met. If the program hasn’t been canceled due to the economy, vouchers help provide childcare when you begin working, These vouchers have the effect of helping both the single parent just starting out and provide work for the childcare provider. Both are therefore able to stimulate the economy while providing for their families’ needs.

Divorce has a way of bringing out the worst in people. I do not discuss the nightmare that was our last four months together.

To answer your question, one may sell a sacramental or item that has been blessed. When the item is sold, the blessing does not transfer to the new owner.

Think about having your house blessed. When you sell the house, the new owners will need to have it blessed.

Prayers for you during this difficult time.

This is a succinct answer that directly answers your question.
As each respondent has emphasized, we do understand that this is a very difficult time.
Do not rush any decision that you make, especially one that is irreversible.
Your parish priest can direct you toward any resources that will help you with spiritual as well as emotional and even financial needs.
If you attend a separated and divorced support group, make sure that there is a professional acting as facilitator. What you do not need is “support” from a group focused on self-pity.

It sounds as if the issue is primarily econcomic, and the question is, based on econcomic needs and the issue of the ring being a sacramental, can it be sold.

As far as I know and understand, in terms of it being a sacramental, it may be sold; you are not selling it as and for the purpose of it being a sacramental.

Right now is a chaotic emotional time as well as an economic time. The first thing you need to do is get a lawyer and establish temporary support. That does not mean the divorce will go through; but it takes care of the economic issue to the extent possible.

If there is any possibility, keep the rings, at least until the emotional upheaval has had a chance to calm down; don’t do anything you might later regret, particularly anything that might be done in haste and later seen as unnecessary.

My husband left me 12 years ago, when my child was only four months old. I haven’t dated or became involved with anyone since. We’ve been legally divorced for seven years, and I still wear my rings. Never take them off. I still refer to him as my husband in conversation. I have grounds for an annulment (I spoke to a Priest). But I have no plans on remarrying so I don’t feel the need to obtain it right now. And this has nothing to do with devotion to him. It only has to do with devotion to God and our child who came from the marriage.

When I went on retreat, I was given the Book of Hosea to read. God is faithful even if His people are not. Hosea married a prostitute in order to understand this reality.
It is possible to leave the door open, if only a crack while understanding that emotionally counseling may be necessary before the marital relationship is restored.

Thank you DeusCaritasEst for bringing this topic up.
I got my 23 year church marriage annulled last June. It is a long story which I will not
go into but I would like to thank you all for your replies, etc which have set my mind
at rest.
I got into a relationship in 2005, which lasted 3 years and thought I would marry this
new guy once my annulment came through but I do not want to marry this new guy,
even though I have a child from him.
I have not even opened the envelop I received from the marriage tribunal.
I am stilling using my former husbands name. Is it right to use the name of your husband
even though your marriage has already been annulled?
About my wedding ring, I took it off when I started the annulment process and my
elder son said he would keep it.
Your answer’s would be appreciated,
Thank you and God bless:confused:

Hi, Jossy. Just curious, but if you haven’t even opened the envelope you received from the tribunal, how do you know they annulled your first marriage? They don’t always do that, you know. Sometimes after reviewing all the testimonies they decide that the marriage was actually sacramental, and therefore unable to be ended by anything other than death. You might want to open that envelope :shrug:

Thanks be to God and His grace that you chose LIFE and had this child. Of course you know as a Catholic that we are to remain celibate outside of marriage, and chaste in all states of life. Believe me, I’m not pointing fingers here (my past is faaaaaarrrr too sinful for that), but making every effort to follow God’s law and His plan makes life so much simpler and more beautiful.

I received an annulment in 2006 (and yes, I did open the envelope to check ;)), but I still use my former husband’s last name so that my son and I will have the same last name. There is nothing wrong with that. Personally, if I ever do marry, I will change my last name.

If you want more answers to your questions, you might even want to start your own thread. :slight_smile:

God bless you.

Dear Gertabelle,
Thank you for your honest reply.
You gave me the courage to open the envelop, which I did just now and yes
it is a letter saying my marriage is now annulled and I am free to re-marry.

I will continue to use my marriage name (Isoy) because all my children (5) use
this name.

I will now write to the nun who was assisting me with this case to inform her that I have
received the letter of confirmation.

I am glad to be part of this forum.
Thank you once again and God bless you,

I know it took courage to open that envelope – Good for you! :extrahappy:


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