I Had To Hock My Wedding Rings

The wise words a jeweler taught me about value.

man and woman getting married Andrey Sayfutdinov / Shutterstock

I stood at the counter fighting back the tears. My husband was withholding grocery and school supply money. 

He would hurt our children to hurt me. He had warned of this day. He said if I ever left him he would make sure there was no money and I would work for the rest of my life.

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The man who owned the jewelry store walked from behind the counter. He met me face to face. His compassion was one of a family member rather than a business owner.


“Any man who would put you in this position,” he said. “Is a man you are better off without.”

His kindness released a few tears.

I will paraphrase the words that followed.

“Jewelry is valuable. It’s filled with lots of love and memories and we attach ourselves to it. But sometimes we need to release a piece to make room for something new and valuable. There will be other special gems in your future.”

He uttered the right words at the right time.

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God has a way of placing people in your path when you need them.

Those rings meant something to me. I believed my vows. The woman in the jewelry store that day was the twenty-four-year-old girl who first held them.


Despite the years that masked her age.

When I accepted the ring I thought I knew the man who asked the question.

The wise words of a business owner reminded me I did not. The caring jeweler wasn’t staring into the face of a familiar community member. He consoled and counseled me as if I were one of his own daughters.

He took the time to remind me of my own value — not only baubles laced with gold.

He freed me from attachment. 

Gold circles that morphed from love to sadness to desperation. The need to feed my children by releasing them meant they would never represent anything but cruelty.

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They weren’t worth my tears.

The value of our trinkets is found in those who gift them — only then does metal become priceless.

Divorce alone doesn’t render them worthless. 

The majority of people do not choose divorce.


It’s the unfortunate result of exhausting all of our options. We can love a person lost to us. We can love someone despite knowing how bad they are for us. We can love them and still let them go. It's a beautiful thing when you finally choose yourself.

We can hold onto that in the form of bands no longer worn if we surrender to our truth.

And not justify ‘moving on’ as an excuse to treat one another badly.

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Colleen Sheehy Orme is a national relationship columnist, journalist, and former business columnist. She covers love, life, and relationships.