My Wedding Ring And Lessons Learned

by Sherry Riter in Marriage,Marriage series

wedding engagement ring

Yeah, that was my ring full of big and sparkly diamonds. It was a gold ring that had a pretty “S” and hearts on the side with little diamonds set inside of the band. There were also words inscribed between the tiny diamonds. Mostly the ring was full of promise, hopes and dreams like other wedding bands and engagement rings.

It all started when they saw me and then I was caught up in the whirl of their charm. We went on the first date, kept dating, fell in love, got married and then what happened…twice?

“Love must be as much a light,
as it is a flame.”
~ Henry David Thoreau ~

Usually I don’t write about my marriages, ex husbands or boyfriends because re-suffering my regrets or bashing them wouldn’t really serve any purpose. It takes two to tango, so I’m not going through the he did this, so I did that and then try to justify any of it. I look back with the attitude that we both made mistakes one way or the other. We failed each other and we failed our relationship. Don’t you think that is a healthier attitude?

I can’t go back and change anything I’ve done in my past and so I have to forgive myself and them for the parts we played in the demise of our relationships and/or marriages. This attitude of mine did not come easily and is a direct result of the PTSD trauma and the intensive therapy/counseling that followed.

It was rather a drag that I had to heal my soul of the pain caused by my marriages and subsequent divorces in order for my PTSD to go away. I mean, really, who wants to go back and mull them over again and again in their mind. Remembering the bad times always made me remember the good times which then brought pain.

The process proved to be salt in the wound over and over again as my heart refused to let my intellect teach it a few things. One word was not only tattooed all over my soul, but it sang the same tune and spoke the same words continuously.

“You failed.”

“You failed.”

“You failed.”

“You failed.”

It was like a horrible broken record!

I have this big issue with failing. Accomplishment, determination and persistence are engrained into every one of the cells in my body. Being satisfied at mediocre or average isn’t good enough for me. If I’m going to do something, I definitely don’t want it to be mediocre. Going beyond and excelling is the only way that I am happy with my accomplishments. Sometimes I know that I go overboard and expect perfection from myself. That makes me my own worst critic and I rarely give myself a break. I’m not saying this is good, but it is the truth.

“I do the very best I know how,
the very best I can,
and I mean to keep on doing so
until the end.”
~ Abraham Lincoln ~

Because of this attitude of excellence, I often naively believe that other people live with the same self-expectations. That sets me up for disappointment constantly. I don’t expect other people to be perfect, but I forget that some people are just satisfied and don’t want to learn more or do more. Differences in personalities don’t make one right or the other wrong.

I remember when Alyssa started school, I didn’t feel the urge to demand straight A’s from her at all. Instead I told her, “Do your best and we will be so proud of you.”

The key thought to that whole sentence is that I wanted my daughter to do HER BEST. If she put forth the effort to do HER BEST, then I couldn’t expect more. It is the same with everyone else and especially with those we love. Expecting them to give their best is the only standard we can really hold them to and is only fair.

In a marriage, letting down the walls of protection that guard our heart is one of the hardest things we need to do. Without that vulnerability, the “oneness” and “partnership” isn’t going to bloom. When the couple is one, they are one in marital purpose. Being vulnerable is NOT easy. Opening up the heart is a scary activity because we fear that some kind of rejection could follow. If we find the courage to share all our deepest emotions, then we get rejected, it cuts right to the soul and the essence of our being. Hurt? Oh my goodness! THAT is why we have walls for protection because rejection at that level is devastating!

When I divorced the first time, moved across the country, started a job in the hotel industry and became a single mother, I still felt youthful. By the time I experienced the ending of the second marriage, I felt worn out, used and old. Ashley Monroe totally described me in her song called “Used” found on the album “Satisfied”.


Like an old piano played for generations
Slowly fading out of tune
Like the soles on the bottom of my favorite pair
Of dancing shoes
I know I’m not some bright and shiny
Polished up
Car that’s sparkling new
Right off the salesroom floor

Yeah I’ve got some dents and bruises
I’ve been dropped and there’s a scar
Where, my heart was broke before

No one emerges unscathed from a relationship that ends. When any relationship is over, the goal is to not only heal from the pain, but also to learn from the mistakes that were made during the relationship. Without taking the time to learn where we went wrong, the likelihood of repeating the same mistakes again and again is high. I don’t know about you, but I sure don’t want to repeat mistakes over and over. My heart can’t take that kind of pain too many times.

7 Lessons Learned

Marriage is a huge commitment. Regardless of popular belief, I do believe that if two people are unselfish and take the time to grow together through experiences, they can have a happy marriage that will last a lifetime. Since my marriages didn’t last a lifetime, what did I learn that will be useful to me and possibly you?

  • I subconsciously chose men that had a couple traits like my father because I was trying to heal the father-daughter relationship. Sounds kooky, but it makes total sense when you list a comparison of all the men in my life. Actually, it is a bit spooky that my subconscious brain ruled me so strongly. So I healed the relationship with my dad and that should help me not to repeat this subconscious attraction to the negative traits.
  • A marriage is give and take for BOTH people.
  • Communication, honesty and trust create a solid foundation. You can regain trust only if you are willing to communicate and remain honest at all times. Without honest communication and trust, a marriage will not endure. Actually, any loving relationship can’t last without these elements.
  • A couple that works and plays together stays together. As we age, we change. That is just a fact of life. If a couple makes a point to learn and grow through the experiences together, their relationship will become more solid and love will be continually strengthened.
  • Respect and patience for each other will keep the love in a safe and nurturing environment. Differences make the couple well rounded and interesting.
  • Two wrongs don’t make a right. I’ve heard that saying so many times, but it continues to ring true. Keeping score in a relationship is detrimental in so many ways. It is inevitable that there will be disagreements and hurt feelings, but retaliation doesn’t strengthen the relationship. Getting back or doing vengeful things will only tear the relationship apart.
  • Forgiveness is vital, but part of being truly sorry means that the hurtful act isn’t repeated. Doing something that you KNOW will hurt the other person is not only wrong, but also selfish, disrespectful, arrogant, and cruel. Of course, it also means that you aren’t really sorry.

Where Does That Leave Me Now?

I have to admit that I’m a bit bitter that when I go to bed at night and there isn’t a loving husband to cuddle. This isn’t the life I envisioned when I was a sixteen year old, innocent and a bright-eyed young woman. I would use the word “unfair” in this explanation, but life is NOT fair and I know that to be a fact. No one is ever promised a “fair” life.

The fact that both marriages ended AND because I’m no longer a spring chickie, my self-esteem is not high on the scale. I don’t believe I’m the greatest thing since sliced bread, but do know that I’m not the already chewed bubble gum found on the bottom of a shoe either. One of the wonderful things about having a great relationship is that THEY believe you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Not only do they treat you that way, but they make it easier for you to believe it too.

I have, however, made progress.

Believing in your own self-worth is important in being a healthy person and mate. Now that I’ve worked hard and eradicated PTSD from my life, I no longer believe I’m a wimp. This has been my lifelong belief to the point of feeling ashamed about it.

Not anymore. Nope. I’m not a wimp.

I’m a very strong woman who is better than I’ve ever been.

It is too late to be successful in my past two marriages and relationships, but that’s okay. I lived and learned. Hopefully I learned enough that I will make better choices in the future and not the same mistakes.

Ahhhh, yes. The future.

wedding engagement ring inscription future diamond

But in the end
I’ll be worth a whole lot more
and I can give like I couldn’t give before,
In the end I can love a whole lot more


This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 lisa simmons November 4, 2013 at 3:19 am

Good morning Sunshine, I’m so glad you are doing better. Having been through a tough yr. You have written a fantastic post that I soooooo needed today…. This yr has been challenging for us. walked away from a house… that I grew up in, moving in feb. looking for a house. finding one being disappointed that we couldn’t get the financing cause my husband had no credit, Which is good (don’t owe) but bad no payment history… we found another house and submitted the paperwork again and now we are playing the waiting game hope to hear something this week. Either way if we do/not get it we will be moving again Dec 1. The lady that has been so gracious to allow us to live rent free in her home. will be needing it then. It has allowed us to really bank some extra. Which will come in handy with repairs, changes that will need to be made. I really enjoy your posts. and look forward to many more and wish you lots of happiness…..:)


2 Sherry Riter November 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

Thank you so much Lisa. It sounds like you have been having quite a time too. I’ll be praying that you get this new house. 😀 Have a fantastic day! {{{hugsss}}}}


3 Joan November 4, 2013 at 11:49 am

Those lessons you learned I call, “Hard won wisdom.” They are the hardest lessons to learn, but If you learned the lessons well, you won’t be destined to repeat the past. 🙂


4 Sherry Riter November 5, 2013 at 7:51 am

Thank you Joan. 😀


5 Kathleen Lupole November 6, 2013 at 12:31 pm

I never took the time to analyze my 2 failed marriages. But one thing I know for certain is that my divorces made me a much stronger woman. Now I am married, but if anything ever happened to my husband and I was alone again, I know for a fact, I’d never remarry or even opt for a romantic relationship. Independence would be worth it to me.


6 Sherry Riter November 11, 2013 at 5:56 am

I’m glad that you found love with your third marriage. Independence isn’t all that it is cracked up to be…I miss having a companion to share my life. {{{hugsss}}}


7 Katherines Corner November 6, 2013 at 10:57 pm

you have had one heck of a year and these lessons learned speak volumes. Thank you for sharing at the Thursday Favorite Things blog hop. You help to make it so much fun.?


8 Sherry Riter November 11, 2013 at 5:50 am

Thanks Katherine. {{{hugsss}}}


9 Rebekah November 7, 2013 at 3:40 am

Stopping by from Katherine’s Corner blog hop :). It was a pleasant surprise to see you here. I remember finding your blog once years ago before I even knew what a blog was! And here I am again by chance (now being a blogger myself..funny how life works). Such bravery here to be open and vulnerable. We all learn in different ways and have different paths we walk down. I am getting married for the first time within the coming year. I have learned so much in dating the same guy for so long. We met very young, and while some people think we are nuts for waiting this long to get married, I am glad looking back now. When we were teens or early 20 somethings, we thought we had it all figured out , but we didn’t. Real relationships take so much work and I can see now that we didn’t have the best partnership when we were super young in comparison to what we have now as matured adults. It is so easy to get caught up in the thrill of love , but as you pointed out in this excellent post, there is so much more to it than that. I would say instead of used, you are new. In my perspective, now that you are working through all of this and learning what went wrong before, etc. you are becoming new!


10 Sherry Riter November 11, 2013 at 5:51 am

Thank you very much Rebekah. {{{hugsss}}}


11 Rebecca Ishibashi November 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

So much of what you’ve shared resonated with me. I went through the range of these negative feelings and self-doubt for a long time due to my upbringing. You’ve recognized what you don’t want in a relationship – that’s half the battle. Things changed for me once I recognized the lessons I needed to learn. I’m predicting a happy ending for you too!


12 Sherry Riter November 11, 2013 at 5:49 am

Thank you Rebecca. {{{hugsss}}}


13 Sandie Ward May 27, 2015 at 11:19 pm

You took time to have your little fingers dance across the keyboard to share intimate parts of your life with us. We are grateful as we all learn from one another. On second marriage now and have the best husband, friend, lover on the planet. Having been a single Mom for six years on my own, I too had many wounds to heal and needed to nurture my heart. We may all feel a little “used” at some point in our lives, but that is where the real treasure lies…the true beauty…at least in my eyes. Keep shining and keep the good stuff coming our way. With appreciation…Fellow Blogger, The Food Stalker.


14 Sherry Riter May 28, 2015 at 6:46 am

Thank you so much Sandie! {{{hugsss}}}


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