Heinous or Harmless – marital possessions

This stems from an interesting discussion I had with the KoD last night. We started off talking about my numerous crystal serving platters that I unearthed during yesterday’s marathon declutterfication. Most of them I probably received as wedding presents first time around, and have never really been used or seen the light of day. We were discussing whether I needed to bring them with me when we move, or if they should be passed on to someone who will use them. (I said bring, he said pass. (OK I actually mentioned I should hold onto them because please God soon in a few years we will be making Sheva Brachot for the kids….)).

So this got us thinking. When folks get divorced, do most throw out or get rid off EVERYTHING that they shared together, do they buy all new stuff, do they keep some things and not others. What worked for you?

My point was, that generally, the wife / mother gets to stay in the marital home with the children (even if, like me, they eventually have to move). In order for the kids to have some familiarity and comfort at a tough time, I am of the opinion that the mother should more or less keep everything – at least dishes and stuff like that. The one that leaves is the one that usually has to buy everything new.

I immediately got rid of our beds and the linens and everything like that that I associated with the togetherness of being married. But that’s where I stopped. I still have the dishes we used, the candlesticks I got as a wedding present (I don’t use them any more), the challah board, the dining room set and the sofas etc. My Shabbat dishes are gorgeous, but I used them during my first marriage – is it cruel and unusual punishment to use them in my new marriage? (Do you know how much one pays for a Noritake place setting these days??!!)

Is it heinous to hold onto this stuff, especially going into a new marriage, or is it harmless, and ridiculous to expect someone to make a totally clean slate and get rid of everything they owned during their marriage?

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16 responses to “Heinous or Harmless – marital possessions

  1. lady lock and load

    Mothers of the boys make sheva brachos? I don’t see that too much over here. But I would still keep the unused wedding gifts to pass on to the newly married couple, IY”H. I have boxes of unused stuff that I am planning to give to my girls.

    • Firstly, if I want to make sheva brachot for my boys, you know I sure will.

      Secondly, we DO have two girls to marry off too, you know….

      Thirdly – Cannot wait to come to your girls’ sheva brachot, may it be soon!!

  2. lady lock and load


  3. After my parents split, we continued using some things until like you, we moved from our house. My mother remarried in 2000, and a lot of the marital dishes, linens and other bits were boxed away for my brother and I.

    When I got married, we inherited some beautiful crystal, a formal dinner set, candlesticks and a special silver kiddush cup from Israel. I love both my step-father and step-mother, but it’s nice to have something that my parents had as a married couple. It’s special to me because I come from their marriage. I’d box it away for the boys – it might be meaningful to your sons one day, even though it might not hold meaning for you and the KoD as you start your new life together.

  4. My opinion, and I think my wife will second me on this, harmless… or even beneficial.

    First you typically don’t get gifted as well at the second marriage.

    Secondly, at least part of either your support or hard earned money (as was my case) went into purchasing those things.

    Maybe I’m just a little too mechanical on some of these things, but I had no intention of ditching my all-clad cook wear, my silver, or my pacific down comforter, just because my ex didn’t have the good sense to stay monogamous.

    If things were wedding gifts from her side of the family, I let her keep them(or they went to the city dump when she didn’t come to retrieve them and I needed to have the apartment empty).

    If on the other hand they came from my side of the family, typically I kept them. My reasoning was that your wedding(especially your first) isn’t just about your union, it is also about your family essentially seeing you off on your own and wishing you well in life. Thus I have always percieved those gifts as things my family was giving me to help me strike out on my own. So I saw(and still don’t) no need to get rid of them.

    My wife for her part was happy to get lots of high quality stuff, that didn’t have to go onto our own registry.

  5. I have put alot of thought into this issue. I came into this marriage with all the kitchen junk. I worry that when we decide to split, he will be cruel and decide to take the kitchenaide mixmaster his friend gave us as a wedding gift. Imagine that?? I adore that appliance!! I cannot part with our shabbat setting (bone china, but nonetheless i happen to really love it), and would beable to use it without looking back. The things like photos of the kids, books, cds, movies, etc also make me nervous. Yeah, and the shabbat cutlery (but it was my friend who supplied it. If you own the dishes and you do not have a nice shabbat setting, just use them, go on. They were not haggled over, and all that. Make shabbat shine.

  6. For practical reasons, and because I loved my dishes etc., I continued to use everything and still do. My ex-husband and I split our possesions including dishes and flatware sets. This was fine as we had no children and for a party I have no problem mixing and matching for a fun look. Five days into marriage today, and we have no plans for new anything other than dishtowels!

  7. Some utilitarian stuff I kept.

    The only thing important to get rid of were a number of kippot my first wife had made over the years for me. I like a very large kippah srugah. I just wore them out of habit. Soon as my wife found out where they actually came from (maybe three or four weeks into our marriage), she got very upset. I threw them straight into the trash. Glad I did. She didn’t need to feel pain from some material thing.

    Of course, I’ve never found a good source for large kippot srugot. 😉

  8. If you look at a possession and ex trickles into brain ditch it.

    That’s what we did.

    Worked well.

  9. Well, how do you feel about his keeping the various gifts he got from assorted feminine friends over the years? Would it creep you out to know that his favorite desk toy was a gift from a previous relationship?

    Just apply the same logic to your own stuff!
    (BTW, if you can keep quiet about where it came from…..)

  10. We split it and I got the fleishic dishes that I liked and he got the milchik that I was oh so tired of (15 years of their use –the meat were newer).
    I got the obvious behests of my family ( the living room furniture and he kept the dining room set that was from his inheritance from his bubbe.
    I took most of what I wanted ( the Seder plate but not the fleishic Pesach, I got the milchik), for the most part we each got what we wanted. I got the children (for most of time).
    ‘Nuff said.

  11. I am a very practical person, so unless myself or my spouse has attached some sentimental meaning to the “thing” I wouldn’t have a problem using it.
    My Hubby invested in a large silver menorah with his ex, and I proudly showcase the piece in our home.

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