Terry and Donna Claver have been married for nearly four decades, but a symbol of their love has been missing for 36 years. The Montana couple has found their long-lost engagement ring in an unlikely place, the toilet.

After three dates in 1973, the pair decided to get married and picked out a sapphire engagement ring with a gold band. The young couple wanted a symbol to represent their love, but could not afford a more expensive ring. They were soon married and one year later Donna was pregnant with a child.

In 1974, a very pregnant Donna took off her ring and put it on the lid of the toilet.

I remember putting it on the back of the toilet to put lotion on, Donna Claver told The Billings Gazette. I saw it slip toward the toilet bowl, and I went to grab it, but I missed and it fell in. It went right down into the little hole at the bottom of the toilet. I could put my finger in that hole and feel it with the tip of my finger, but it was wedged in tight.

Although the couple tried to retrieve the ring by draining the toilet bowl, removing the toilet, shaking, poking and prodding it, nothing worked.

We had only been married a year and a half and were expecting our first child, Donna Claver told The Gazette. We didn't have a lot of extra cash for a new toilet, so we just put it back.

A few years later the Clavers sold their home and ownership of the house switched a number of times in the next few years. Although the couple stayed in Stanford, the house was eventually sold as a hunting cabin for a group from Florida.

It always irritated me that we lost it, Terry told the paper. I always wanted to get it back. About five years ago the hunters asked me to go in the house and fix a bathroom faucet. I saw the toilet over there and I thought, 'I ought to just take that toilet up to see if that ring is still down there.' But I didn't have time and it was somebody else's house, so I didn't.

In November 2011, the Clavers had a unique chance to reclaim the ring.  When Terry and his son were working on a house across the street, they saw the hunters carrying the toilet out of the house. The toilet tank was broken and they were throwing out the toilet. Terry asked if he could remove the toilet for them.

I put it in the back of my pickup and drove it into the shop, he told the paper. I got a sledgehammer, and I whacked it. The base of the toilet fell down on the truck's end gate, and right in the center where the little hole would have been was the ring.

When Terry found the ring he excitedly called his wife down to his shop. Holding it out to her, Terry asked his wife, Honey - will you marry me?

The excited couple laughed and cried, reminiscing on their young love.

If we would have got the ring back six weeks after we lost it, we probably wouldn't have remembered it, Terry told the newspaper. Every marriage goes through its seasons. Sometimes you think everything the other person does is cute, and other times you can't stand to be around them. Finding the ring brought back the same original feelings we had when we were kids. It was a gift from God that made those feelings strong again.