Featured Fridays / Lust and Love / Real Talk, No Kevin Hart

Ring Obsession

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’.

gollum went to jared

He went to Jared?

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:

  1. What does marriage mean to me?
  2. Do my partner and I share a common mindset about the institution of marriage?
  3. Am I the woman or man that I’ve envisioned myself to be?
  4. After our union, will the things I bring enhance or hinder the life of my partner?
  5. Are all of our desires and dreams in alignment or allow room for each another?
  6. 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.



10 thoughts on “Ring Obsession

  1. As for me. I am very very afraid of marriage. Or maybe the word “marriage” frightens me. Lol, What I am trying to say is I agree with you Joy that women get so caught in the thought of marriage and often times forget what a union really means, or what it takes to stay married. I do however have the desire to be committed. More than ever I have wanted to be in a relationship but somehow I seem to contradict myself with knowing that a serious committed relationship should eventually lead to marriage sooner or later! I HAVE TO SAY THAT I ENJOYED READING THIS BLOG, ESPECIALLY THE “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.” part. This sentence alone brings harmony to the kind of man that I am seeking. The only thing is I don’t think Love. Real Love will ever find me!? So as of right now. I am making my way to Claire’s to purchase my own bling bling because I will be married to myself for a little while longer!!

    • Jacqueline~

      With the statistics on divorce and many of the “issues” that we often see in marriages, it is understandable that marriage can appear scary. It is such a beautiful thing…a gift from God, but that doesn’t mean it won’t require effort.

      Love and the possibility of marriage is not something you should give up on. It is something you should prepare yourself for. Work on yourself. Think of your values, dreams, and desires. Be honest about yourself as it relates to your weaknesses and needed areas of growth.

      I have seen on more than one occasion that when you least expect it, God hits you with what you’ve been waiting for.

      E. Joy Coker

    • I’d have to disagree Brownlee. Perhaps its arguable that marriage without preparation is the leading cause of divorce because it can be the beginning of a downward spiral. Think about it, how many people either skip or do EXTREMELY abbreviated marital counseling? For some it is a requirement, but regardless of religious background, marital counseling can be extremely beneficial. That is where many of the leading causes of divorce can be addressed like issues of communication, money management, trust/cheating, wrong expectations, sex, and many of the other things we forget to discuss in the heat of love. Just had a quick thought about ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ (that’s my show…lol) and one of the couples experiencing marital problems due to an abortion. The wife, a resident, does not want kids because she wants to focus on her career as a surgeon. The husband, Chief of Surgery with an already established career does want children. This is something they did not discuss before marriage and may be the cause of a divorce.

      Its all about preparation. Preparation that can allow individuals to make an informed decision about the person they are considering spending the rest of their lives with. I believe a lot of divorces can be avoided this way.

  2. I read an article that said people look at marriage at being the end of something. a goal that says you’re done with things. Because thats the end of so many stories. Plays and movies end when the couple gets married. But in actuality, things are still ongoing. It’s just a mark of time in your life. You still have to try and work at it. things just don’t come together. I think lots of people are so unrealistic about marriage expectations and don’t clearly state them beforehand. And then they think “I’ll just get a divorce and try again”. You’re already setting yourself up for failure with that mentality.

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us! In a day where more than half of marriages end in divorce and where Hollywood is asking us why we got married, it’s refreshing to get the perspective from a couple who’s committed to making it work. Much love and I wish you and your family the best 🙂

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