Rings and Dresses Do Not Make a Marriage

BY: - 7 Aug '14 | Marriage

Share this article!


by Marla Satterfield

Once when I was driving into work, Tom Joyner and his morning show crew were discussing the importance of a woman receiving the “right” engagement ring.  It was not surprising that the women were arguing how important it was because they have to wear the ring “every day of their lives!”  While Tom and J. Anthony Brown commented that at some point a woman should just be appreciative that the man she loves has asked to spend his life with her.

I’m sure many of you have participated in such an argument before and I know I have argued the importance of the ring being a reflection of his love for his woman.  However, my question today is, “Who cares what the ring looks like if your marriage doesn’t last?”

As we have seen on reality television and possibly with friends or even in your own marriage, far too much time and importance is placed on the dress, the rings, the colors, the right food, etc.  I have known people to get married and file for divorce before they had even finished paying for the wedding.

For those that are married or engaged, how much time did you spend preparing for your marriage versus your wedding day?  Did you have any premarital counseling?  If so, did you have activities or assignments to complete with your future spouse between counseling sessions?

How many of you skipped the homework or even a counseling session or two so that you could meet with the florist or caterer?  I like a great party as much as the next person, but there is nothing in planning “the day” that will prepare you for a lasting marriage.  My wedding was beautiful, and although we did complete a workbook to help with marriage preparation and attended several pre-marital counseling sessions, I was not prepared for the amount of patience, work, and frankly prayer that would be needed to not only be married, but stay married.

Marriages, both Christian marriages and non-Christian marriages, are under attack. Our society promotes quick living and instant gratification and that is not always going to be found in your marriage. There will be times in your marriage that you are unhappy, there will be times that you may wish you were on your own, there will be times when your spouse stomps on your very last nerve.

I assure you at some point you are going to be displeased or unsatisfied with something, but that doesn’t mean you married the wrong person or that you have the worst spouse on the planet.   It may just mean that you have some more growing to do. It may mean that you need to take the focus off of you and place it on God.  It may mean that you are placing too much responsibility on your spouse to fulfill you instead of asking God to fill your life.  Only God can truly fulfill all your needs. Philippians 4:19 reads, “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”  Your spouse cannot do what God is clearly promising for you.

I am still a person that believes that anything God puts together is worth saving and can be saved.  Despite the train wreck shown in the media of marriages lasting less than a few months, you must realize that marriage requires patience, compromise, hard work, and prayer.  If couples are willing to do some of those things, they can grow stronger together.

In marriage we must work on becoming a team and being unified in our household goals and purpose.   Scripture teaches us that “man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).  Taking two successful individuals with their own thoughts, values, goals, and desires, and making them into one is a difficult task. It is not something that is done overnight and I don’t believe that it is something that can be done without God.

If you want to better prepare for marriage (I say better because you are never fully prepared), I recommended you get in-depth pre-marital counseling from a trained pastor or licensed therapist or counselor.  I would also recommend that you and your future spouse spend time focusing on life after the wedding (household responsibilities, expectations, finances, roles, etc.) and not just focusing on the rings and cake.

In other words, you should begin investing in your marriage even before the wedding.   That means spending time praying, being in the word, and reading materials that will strengthen your relationship.  My husband and I enjoyed Gary Chapman’s books such as 5 Love Languages, Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married, and The Marriage You’ve Always Wanted.  Also during our engagement we completed Preparing for Marriage by David Boehi.  It helped us begin the discussion of our family histories, role expectations, building better communication skills, and more.

Lastly, continue to read and seek information from websites like BMWK and www.crosswalk.com.  It may lead to discussions that you did not think were important.

So if you are serious about a lasting marriage and not just a beautiful wedding, then it is time to put in the work!  A beautiful wedding day guarantees nothing, but great pictures.

Marla Satterfield received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  After working in various fields, she returned to school to earn her Master of Arts in Clinical-Counseling Psychology at La Salle University in Philadelphia.  Since completing her graduate education and moving to North Carolina, Marla has worked as an Intensive In-Home Therapist, Multisystemic Therapist, as well as Outpatient Therapy in a private setting.  Marla has extensive experience working with couples, families, and adolescents with behavioral disorders and depression.  In 2007, she became a Licensed Professional Counselor and also a National Certified Counselor.  Currently, she lives and works in Charlotte, NC. 

About the author

BMWK Staff wrote 1260 articles on this blog.

Content and articles from the staff and guest contributors of BlackandMarriedWithKids.com


like what you're reading?

Start Shopping!


Facebook Wordpress

3 WordPress comments on “Rings and Dresses Do Not Make a Marriage

  1. WILADEAN Thomas

    Marla I am so excited that your article was published but not surprised. I think that you are not only a gifted writer, but a woman who understands and knows God word. Keep the faith! Wiladean

  2. Tracey Joseph

    What a powerful article! If more people did focus on the marriage rather than the wedding, our marriages would last a lot longer. Marriage is an easy thing to do, but very hard to maintain. I wish I knew more before I got married.

  3. Dr Tammie Moore

    Excellent article Marla! I’m so proud of you… I agree with you about the need for pre-marriage preparation. I recently conducted a seminar called “How to have and maintain a healthy marriage” for a local church in Cary. I stressed the importance of 2 “individuals” who feel good about who they are and where they are going in life and having a strong desire to share their life’s journey. Together, they can enhance each other’s joy! I’ve been married for nearly 30 years and I believe your spouse has to be your friend. Congratulations again! Best wishes on your writing and your clinical work.

Leave a Reply

All Articles Delivered To Your Inbox Daily! Sign up below!

4 Ways You Can Avoid Hurting Your Husband With Your Words

BY: - 8 Aug '14 | Communication

Share this article!


I’ve been married seventeen years and there have been times that I used my tongue as a two edged sword. Whenever I felt like my feelings were hurt, I would respond by saying the most hurtful things to my husband.

I didn’t care what I said, I just felt that I had the right to say what I wanted. Yes men say things too, but for my situation, I was the one using my tongue to hurt. I had to learn to shut up so I want to share some things to help all the wives who may use their words to hurt their husbands.

  1. When your find yourself in a heated argument, leave the room or the house if you need to. Come back when you can have a conversation. Having a conversation means listening as well as talking.
  2. Think about what you are going to say and if you would want those words spoken to you from someone you love.
  3. Talk to your husband about your feelings and be honest. No one can read minds; if you don’t tell him, he won’t know.
  4. Go to counseling if you feel you need to talk to a professional or hear an outside opinion. You may want to discover why you feel the need to hurt with your words.

I learned to watch what I say during disagreements with my husband. I try to not let the disagreements escalate out of control by listening to what he is saying and taking his feelings into consideration. Doing that forces me to think about my response.

I don’t want to hurt my husband and after the last time I said something very hurtful to him, he told me how bad that made him feel. I was so ashamed all I could do was ask for forgiveness. I had to realize how hurtful and yes abusive I was. Even though he forgave me I know he will always remember what I said and that just makes me think about my words even more.

Hopefully my experience will help some wife use her words to encourage, love and uplift her husband instead of purposely tearing down, degrading and cutting him.

BMWK ladies, do you find yourself hurting your husband with your words?

About the author

Latoya Irving wrote 99 articles on this blog.

Latoya Irving is a former Air Force brat who loves writing about relationships, and family. She believes God should be the center of both. She is married with two kids and currently live in Texas.


like what you're reading?

Start Shopping!


Facebook Wordpress