Wedding Ring Etiquette for a Widow

Whether a widow continues to wear her ring is ultimately up to her.
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Your wedding ring is a symbol of your love and commitment to your spouse. For people who have been married a number of years, it often becomes an inseparable part of you. When you lose your spouse, it may be difficult to part with that concrete reminder of your loved one.

1 Continuing to Wear Your Ring

There is no established etiquette for a single widow regarding whether she should keep wearing her wedding ring. For many widows, wearing their ring helps them feel that they still have a bond with their deceased husband. Some widows switch their ring to their right hand, so they are still wearing a reminder of their spouse but it doesn't signify a continued marriage bond. The best thing to do is follow your intuition in this matter.

2 Getting Remarried

One situation in which it is usually inappropriate to keep wearing a wedding ring, even on the right hand, is remarriage. When a widow decides to enter into a new marriage, she should be able to let go of this link to her past relationship. Holding on to such an emotion-filled piece of jewelry can cause unnecessary tension in a new marriage, where a new spouse needs to know that he now comes first.

3 Having Your Ring Remade

When it comes time to stop wearing your ring, one option is to have it remade into a different piece of jewelry you can continue wearing, like a pendant or a pin. Consult a jeweler experienced in remaking jewelry about how you can transform your wedding ring into a beautiful heirloom that will be a reminder of your marriage but allow you to move forward in your life.

4 Passing Your Ring On

There's no reason your ring needs to sit in a box forever after you stop wearing it. Pass your ring on to children or grandchildren when they marry, or offer to have it remade into a new wedding ring for them to use. As an heirloom, your ring will not only be the symbol of your own happy relationship, but will anchor many happy relationships through future generations.

Amy Wilde has worked as a grant developer, copy editor, writing tutor and writer. Based in Portland, Ore., she covers topics related to society, religion and culture. Wilde holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and classical civilization from the University of Toronto.