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“The Seven Rings of Marriage” Couple Talks Weathering Life’s Storms

JACKIE AND STEPHANA

Jackie and Stephana met in high school through a mutual friend. Over several years they became very good friends. After college, they began dating seriously. Soon, Stephana found out she was pregnant. They had both grown up in church, but after they had their daughter, they recommitted to Christ and began to follow Him more seriously. They joined a church and became proactive in reading their Bible, finding Christian mentorship and becoming active in church activities.



They have now been happily married for 14 years, but their marriage wasn’t without hardships. There have been issues with communication and in-laws. When their once-prosperous business failed, they were even homeless for several months. They stayed with friends and family, and during those difficult times, became closer than ever.  They prayed and leaned on God more than ever before. One of their  most important family traditions is eating dinner together every night, a habit that developed during that difficult time. They are now a loving family of five with lots to share about how God can help a family through difficult times, and how a couple can use those difficulties to become more mature.

 

THE SEVEN “RINGS” OF MARRIAGE


Jackie says each marriage goes through seven stages, which he calls “rings.” By navigating each stage well, you gain strength to enter the next stage, and eventually build a strong and long lasting union. The “rings” are:

Engagement Ring (Stage 1): The engagement phase of marriage is when love is in the air! To navigate this stage, you must focus on the foundation of your marriage, which is Jesus Christ. Having a relationship with Him is crucial to laying a foundation, prior to saying, “I do.”



Wedding Ring (Stage 2): This stage is when the commitment is made, and the two become one. In this stage, the couple must focus in viewing their new connection as a covenant relationship rather than a contractual one. In a contract, each party focuses on their duties and obligations. If it doesn’t work out, the contract can be terminated. In a covenant, the focus is on Christ like principles such as service, sacrifice, and it is seen as more permanent than a contract.

DiscoveRing (Stage 3): Discovering occurs during the early years of marriage when a couple is living together and learning about each other in a deeper way. Each person is learning new things about themselves as well. To successfully navigate this stage, the couple must focus on getting rid of selfishness. Learning to handle conflict in a positive way will help each person becomes a lifetime “student” of his or her spouse.

PerserveRing (Stage 4): Challenges present themselves in every marriage. They can appear in several ways- kids are born, infidelity, health issues, etc.  In this stage, the couple should focus on making the choice of going through the challenges together. Commitment is the most important aspect of this stage.

RestoRing (Stage 5): Inevitably, some broken pieces will be left from the challenges that occurred in stage 4. For instance, broken hearts, broken trust, and a broken sense of stability could really hurt a relationship. In the restoring stage, broken pieces are put back together. The focus during this stage is forgiveness.  A couple learns the true meaning of forgiving one another as Christ forgave us.

ProspeRing (Stage 6): This stage occurs when everything is finally going well, and the couple has learned how to handle conflict constructively and are both more mature in the relationship. Reaching this stage doesn’t necessarily mean that everything is perfect from here on out. It only means that a couple has learned how to handle problems in a mature way. Hopefully, each spouse has developed something good through the previous trials.

MentoRing (Stage 7): In the mentoring stage, the couple has matured, gone through ups and downs, and now has years of wisdom concerning marriage. In this stage, a couple can share some of that wisdom with others. This can happen in many ways. Mentorship can happen one on one, through speaking, through books, or just through being a good model for a newer couple.

Mentioned in the Video

 

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Guest Info

Credits

Jackie:

Author: The Seven Rings of Marriage (Broadman & Holman, 2016) 

Blogger: jackiebledsoe.com.

Stephana:

Former director of her homeschooling community in Indianapolis. She now travels with Jackie to speak while homeschooling thier three children.

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