There are a thousand different opinions on rings which 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 which put so much emphasis on the ring and its correlation to love. While I agree 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 follow 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 10 things you should do.
Here are 10 things you should do to get the best engagement ring.
The foundation of your marriage 1 of 11
Don’t move in together 2 of 11
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.
Go through pre-marital counseling 3 of 11
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.
Men: Get her father’s blessing 4 of 11
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.
Ladies: Meet his mother 5 of 11
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).
Open up your (financial) books 6 of 11
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.
A "pre-nuptial" agreement 7 of 11
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.
Marriage dos and donts 8 of 11
In addition to our "prenup" I mentioned in the previous slide, 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, they are still safe with one another, even in disagreement.
Talk about kids 9 of 11
Not everyone wants kids. And not everyone agrees on how to raise kids. These are important conversations which can help later in your marriage when you decide to have kids, or kids "just happen." During these conversations you can determine your parenting styles, and what you agree will be most effective in being great parents.
Agree to leave and cleave"" 10 of 11
One big challenge in marriage is past relationships and past ideals. When you get married, your spouse is your new number one. And the way you used to do things doesn't have to be the way you do things now. This could be as simple as the brand of products you use, to holiday traditions, to whether being in communication with an ex is in play or not. No matter what your past life was like, agree to do things in the future based on what you both agree upon.
Choose your values, choose "who you will serve" 11 of 11
A powerful passage from the Bible comes from the book of Joshua. Joshua basically tells everyone else "I don't know about you, but me and my house will follow the principles of God." You have to do the same. My wife and I base our marriage on the biblical principles of marriage we have learned through counseling, bible study, and others who follow the same principles. It has been the true foundation and rock for our marriage, and I believe it will be for your marriage too when you choose this path.
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