Today we are blessed to feature a post from E. Joy Coker. Joy is Chi-Town native working on the front line in her community for her community. As a writer, future author, and speaker, she has a passion for encouraging, motivating, and transforming the lives of young girls and women. She is a strong woman, beautiful wife, caring mother, and a graduate of Morgan Park High Schools 7th and 8th Grade program for Gifted Students (Joy also has a Masters in Social Work from Univ. of Illinois – Urbana-Champaign). Let’s welcome her to The Block for Featured Friday!
Like so many young and adolescent females, one of my favorite past times was fantasizing about my wedding day. My imagination went wild as I imagined my future husband, my gown, the colors, music (Big Luther), the cake (mmm…), and THE RING of course. This fantasy doesn’t just plague the minds of young ladies, but follows many of us well into adulthood. For some, it becomes an obsession. Something like a mission, really. We’re not happy until we get ‘The Precious’.
Just last Thursday, I found myself in the bed watching ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ Valentine’s Day episode. There were a few subplots that illustrated different phases of love from budding, renewed, lost, and everything in between. Two characters in particular pulled my heartstrings and had me in tears by the end of the episode. A man was rushed into the emergency room after having an accident. As he lay on the stretcher there was a woman screaming at the top of her lungs that their relationship was over. After being identified as the man’s girlfriend, she vented about having eight years of Valentine Day’s with no marriage proposals and she could no longer be in the relationship. Despite his life threatening physical condition, his only desire was to get his girlfriend to listen to something he had to say. Due to the urgency of the situation, he was unable to do so before being prepped and going into the operating room. While waiting, the girlfriend learned of his plan to propose. Unfortunately, he died in surgery.
I’m a hopeless romantic and a sap, so of course I cried. I was sad for the woman, but thought of so many people, men and women alike, who want to be married so bad that the focus becomes getting married instead of enjoying life and the person they are with. Whether it’s the need for companionship, pressure from family, the church, justifying a live in relationship, or Beyonce’ Knowles, many people rush into marriage without a true sense of the journey ahead.
I remember reading a funny quote that said, “Marriage is not a word. It’s a sentence.” This leaves plenty of room for interpretation and experience has surely influenced mine from then to now. Often times, we get caught up in the high of marriage-the ring, proposal, engagement party, wedding, and honeymoon, forgetting that marriage is a verb. It is not just a milestone to reach or something to obtain. It takes continuous work and effort to maintain. Although you may truly never be “ready”, there should be a mutual understanding of marriage and a commitment to love your spouse in spite of whatever life brings.
It isn’t about the ring. Even though it can be beautiful, forget about the cut, weight, and metal. Ask yourself some important questions:
- What does marriage mean to me?
- Do my partner and I share a common mindset about the institution of marriage?
- Am I the woman or man that I’ve envisioned myself to be?
- After our union, will the things I bring enhance or hinder the life of my partner?
- Are all of our desires and dreams in alignment or allow room for each another?
- Am I ready to do the work without divorce being an easy alternative?
If you answer no to many of these, then you may have to head to Claire’s and get a ten dolla holla on a ring for yourself. Don’t settle. Don’t chase the ring for the high. Don’t force it before being ready. If you answered yes, then grab your bling, saddle up, and get ready for one hell of a ride.