By ASHLEY THOMAS
A workshop and seminar for women who are ready for their significant others to – as Beyonce sings – “put a ring on it,” is being held next week at Hope Fellowship Church.
The free workshop titled “Marriage Material” is the first in a three-part series focused on women aged 21-45 who are not married but welcome the idea.
The sessions, which will be conducted quarterly, are to “equip, excite and encourage pre-marital women through a biblical message of chastity, beauty and virtue,” explains Jada Ford facilitator of the event.
The first workshop will be held April 20 from noon to 2 p.m. at Hope Fellowship Church, 869 Derbyshire Road.
“It will be an interactive seminar that will serve as a great ice-breaking experience. The topics of discussion will be, physical fitness and nutrition, skin care, makeup, hair and fashion.”
“There will also be a ‘Food For Thought’ segment that will ask the question “To Date or Not To Date?” where I will share insight from a book written by Joshua Harris,” added Ford. “Its gonna be fun!”
As she celebrates four years of marriage to her husband, Clinton, in July, Ford says they were friends first.
“We would both attribute the happiness and success of our marriage to our individual relationships with Christ. In fact, it was that very thing that sparked our friendship to begin with when we met in 2003. It’s funny because neither one of us was each other’s ‘type’ physically atthe time, but we could go in on some prayer!”
‘Choose every day’
Dr. Denise Avent is a pastor and social worker who alongside her husband, the Rev. Colonius Avent, has counseled over 200 couples who are seeking to get married, are already married or are on the brink of divorce.
“One of the things we tell couples at the premarital counsel session is that it (marriage) is something they have to choose every day. Just as they have chosen on their wedding day, with all the glitz and glamour, but each morning you have to choose that you want to be married,” she explained.
Marriage, Avent states, “relies on the role each partner plays in the relationship and for a happy and successful marriage, certain topics have to be discussed up front including finances, children, goals, education and in-laws.”
She also notes that having a strong relationship with God has an impact on the relationship of not only the marriage but also the entire household.
“The role that the church plays in a successful marriage depends on the person’s faith. It depends on how committed and dedicated they are to their marriage. The best way is making sure that Jesus is a part of your marriage, that it’s not just you and your spouse, that it’s you, your spouse and the Holy Spirit.”
Conditions determine success
A report prepared by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics interviewed nearly 11,000 women 15-44 years of age on “Cohabitation, Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage in the United States,” supports Avent.
The interviews, which focused not only on individual factors but also community conditions, found that marriages tend to last longer under certain conditions, including age, whether she was raised in a two-parent household and “whether religion plays an important role in her life.”
“One of the things a woman can do to prepare herself for marriage is making sure she’s the best she can be,” states Avent.
Ditch the drama
“When you enter into a relationship with someone else, it’s not that you are getting someone to fix you, to validate you or complete you, but that you have something to bring to the table; you have to think highly of yourself, you need to achieve some of the goals that you want,” she added.
“Don’t go into the marriage thinking that this is what’s going to make you into what you need to be, you need to already have that self-esteem, that pride set up.”
Avent continued, “If you are not prepared for a marriage or relationship, don’t go into a relationship causing someone else problems because so many times we bring so much old baggage with us, that the next person has to deal with all of this old baggage.
“Open up your luggage and take out the worn out, the outgrown. Air it out and then you are able to receive someone else.”
For more information on the workshop, contact Jada Ford at firstname.lastname@example.org.