Why the Engagement Ring is the Foundation of Your MarriageThere are a thousand different opinions on rings that symbolize marriage. Some people put a lot of weight behind the meaning of a ring, while others think nothing of it at all. I recently read an article about the engagement ring titled, "Why Engagement Rings are a Joke."
The article, which you can read here, goes on to mock some of the marketing pitches that put so much emphasis on the ring and its correlation to love. While I agree that the marketing tactics can take an over-the-top approach to try and convince a person to buy the biggest, baddest diamond there is, I don't think they are a joke.
I actually think the engagement ring is the foundation of your marriage. Without a good engagement ring, the wedding ring and all else that follows may not even happen. Or if they do happen, it may not be what you expected.
Let me explain my take on rings. I believe there are 7 rings of marriage, but not everyone is familiar with them, and not everyone gets to wear all 7 marriage rings. The 7 rings of marriage are not actual, physical rings. They are different stages in marriage.
The stages (rings) start from engagement and go through a stage in marriage that only few reach. Here is the list of rings:
- Engagement RING
- Wedding RING
Whether you are engaged, a newlywed, or a marriage vet, your marriage is at one of those stages right now. And each ring, or stage, doesn't have a timetable.
But back to the engagement ring, and why I say it is the foundation of your marriage. There is a passage in the Bible which provides a great backdrop for foundations, which the engagement ring is.
The passage talks about a wise man and a foolish man who both build houses. The wise man builds his house on a rock (maybe a diamond *wink*), and the foolish man builds his house on sand. Of course when storms (tough times) came, the wise man's house stood, while the foolish man's house fell.
Much like the foundation each man built his house on, your engagement ring is the foundation you build your marriage on. You can build on a rock (so many diamond ring companies should be calling me for advertising right now), or sand.
When you build on a rock, you set your marriage up to experience all 7 rings of marriage. When you build on sand, you may never experience another marriage ring. To build on a rock, to have the best engagement ring, there are 7 things you should do.
Here are 7 things you should do to get the best engagement "ring."
1. Don't move in together
Many people debate this, but moving in together is bad for your marriage. Marriage is about commitment, and being selfless. Many couples state they move in to save on rent. Hmm, that has nothing to do with commitment or being selfless. It has to do with what benefits me right now. Taking that mentality into marriage is a recipe for disaster.
2. Go through pre-marital counseling
Don't leave your marriage to chance. Pre-marital counseling will dig deep into your relationship prior to marriage, and help you uncover potential challenges. We didn't know anything about pre-marital counseling before getting married, but were fortunate enough to go through marriage courses within a year of getting married, which served as our pre-marital counseling and saved our marriage. I encourage you to not wait, but get guidance, plan, and learn from those who have seen a lot more than you.
3. Men: Get her father's blessing
This is something I didn't do that I really wish I had. Her father approved, and we have a great relationship. But to have her father's blessing before marriage would mean a lot, and would also set an example to share with my kids later when they get married. I want to have a relationship with my future son-in-law and for him to ask for my blessing.
4. Ladies: Meet his mother
When you meet his mother you will have a very good idea of his view on women. And if his mother is married, you may also learn what he expects of you in your marriage. And depending upon the relationship you have with his mother, she may share some things about him which you may not have learned until later (while wearing the DiscoveRING).
5. Open up your (financial) books
Whether you like it or not, money will play a big part in your relationship. Don't be in denial. Your views on money and your spouse's views on money will come to light at some point. Before marriage is best. This is the time to share your financial history, credit reports, and personal financial goals. This will help you create family finance goals and discuss how you will achieve them. Hopefully this includes shared bank accounts.
6. A "pre-nuptial" agreement
Although it is not what you think, this "prenup" was one of the most important pieces of our foundation. We made an agreement, and I think any couple who cannot agree to this should not get married. We agreed to never talk about, joke about, mention, or consider divorce. No matter what! We backed ourselves in a corner, and the only way out was to make our marriage work. It is working, we are happy, and we have worn many of the 7 rings of marriage.
7. Marriage dos and don'ts
In addition to our "prenup," we also agreed to certain things we wouldn't do. Most involved our communication and how we would handle heated situations. No name calling, no leaving the home, no cursing, no yelling. Now, I am not going to lie, we have violated some of them before, but quickly reconciled. This creates a safe place where both people know, no matter how deep a matter gets, that they are still safe with one another, even in disagreement.
-By Jackie Bledsoe, Jr.
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