Better Relationship Podcast Episode #032
The 7 Rings of Marriage w/ Jackie & Stephana Bledsoe
Show Notes: (by R. Pumphrey)
Jackie Bledsoe returns to our show today with his wife, Stephana, to chat with Susie about his new book for couples, The 7 Rings of Marriage. Jackie and Stephana share candidly about how trials can strengthen a marriage, how shifting our mindset can change your outcome, and unpack The 7 Rings of Marriage. Jackie and Stephana are a true power couple-they are united through the good and the bad, in their faith in God, and in their mission to support and inspire other couples to a lasting, happy marriage.
Jackie and Stephana’s Bios
- Jackie is first and foremost a husband and father, who encourages men to lead and love their families through his blog.
- Jackie is a professional blogger, author and speaker.
- Jackie authored the book, ‘The 7 Rings of Marriage’ and together they co-host The ‘7 Rings of Marriage’ web show.
- Jackie is a contributor to All-Pro Dad, Disney’s Babble, the Good Men Project, Huffington Post and many more.
- Jackie and Stephana have been friends since they were teenagers, have been married since June 2001, and are the parents to 3 beautiful children.
The Book : The 7 Rings of Marriage: A Model for a Lasting and Fulfilling Marriage
- Jackie wrote The 7 Rings of Marriage to provide a guide and model for couples who want to live out a marriage that endures the test of time and inspires others
- Jackie and Stephana’s marriage has thrived through homelessness TWICE, job loss and financial despair, loneliness, in-law and intimacy issues.
- The book originated as the story of their own marriage. In talking with other couples, they realized so many people could relate to thier story.
- The 7 Rings of Marriage is their model to an everlasting and fulfilling marriage.
- They hosted the 7 Rings of Marriage Summit, discussing the seven rings with couples. Susie & husband John had the privilege of being included with other power couples like, Michael & Gail Hyatt, Dan & Joanne Miller, Tony & Alisa DiLorenzo, Susan & Mark Merrill, Clarence & Brenda Shuler, Casey & Megan Caston and more
Stephana Goes ‘All-In’ Committing to Her Marriage
- During their first financial hardship, Stephana had considered going home with her children while Jackie tried to get back on his feet.
- A mentor from church helped convince Stephana that it was vitally important for them to stay together through this difficult time.
- Stephana knew she had to go the distance with Jackie early on in their first season of homelessness.
Navigating Homelessness-The Setbacks and Successes
- Jackie and Stephana grew closer because they had to learn on one another.
- Their relationship became a lot closer because of physical closeness.
- Through that experience, God really dealt with Stephana on her relationship with Him.
- It was an experience that made it clear to Stephana that she had areas to grow.
The 7 Rings Of Marriage
- Engagement: where the foundation for your relationship will be set.
- Wedding: you have now committed to each other, in front of family and God. This is the exciting part!
- Discovery: you learn things about yourself and your spouse that you may have not known. This is important for the rest of your marriage.
- Persevering: dealing with the challenges, setbacks and roadblocks that are part of life. This is the phase where people choose to stay or the marriage breaks down.
- Restoring: Putting back together the broken pieces in a way that you grow closer and not apart.
- Prospering: seeing challenges differently, with more positivity and purpose.
- Mentoring: Jackie and Stephana believe that it’s almost a duty to share experiences to help others be encouraged and inspired.
Persevering and Restoring-The 2 Critical Phases
- These 2 phases are where most marriages can potentially break down.
- Jackie and Stephana made a conscious choice to go through their difficulties together.
- Jackie and Stephana were at a point in their own marriage where they struggled even for basic necessities.
- Jackie and Stephana purposely named it ‘Persevering’ and not ‘struggling’ even though many days were difficult.
- ‘Persevering’ implies it’s a temporary situation that you will go through, to get to the other side.
- Jackie and Stephana came to realize that God was not allowing things to happen that had no purpose. For example, they learned things about themselves, i.e. they were not good at managing money.
- Throughout this time, God brought people into their lives when they most needed it and least expected it.
Keeping Sight of God through Tribulations
- Stephana considers Galatians 6:9* a guiding scripture in her life.
- She posted it to the dashboard, to the refrigerator, anywhere she could see it every day.
- It allowed their mindset to shift from ‘this is happening to us’ to ‘there is a purpose for this’.
- They didn’t handle it perfectly every day-there were many times that were very hard.
- The experience of homelessness and financial hardship was incredibly humbling.
- Prospering doesn’t necessarily mean you become financially well-off.
- Instead, it is the result of persevering and becoming ‘rich’ in your marriage.
- For Jackie, it was the beginning of him starting to write and become transparent about their experiences.
- That wasn’t necessarily easy-Jackie and Stephana felt that they had to come through it completely before sharing any testimony about it.
- Stephana has watched Jackie grow in that regard, being authentic and humble about their story.
- They didn’t make a conscious decision to ‘start’ mentoring one specific day.
- It was more the result of God using their story in conversation with other couples.
- You don’t have to be years ahead, just one step ahead.
- You don’t have to know everything or have every experience to be able to help someone else.
- Sometimes, people just need another couple to speak with who will be in their corner.
Should Children See the ‘Hard’ Parts of Marriage?
- Jackie and Stephana ask themselves, “Would our kids desire to get married based on what they see in our everyday home?”
- Children need to see the difficult days in a marriage.
- If they don’t, they think marriages are easy and don’t involve struggle or setbacks.
- Children need to learn the valuable skill of dealing with conflicts in a healthy manner.
- Children need to see their parents make mistakes and what it means to be transparent about them.
Jackie and Stephana’s One Piece of Advice
Jackie: Don’t give up hope. Do the practical things that you can and don’t lose hope that God is working through you.
Stephana: Surround yourself with others that believe in God, believe in you, and will encourage you to continue being hopeful.
*Galatians 6:9-Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up
Where You Can Find Jackie and Stephana
You can preorder the book now-publication date is February 1st, 2016.
Susie’s website: www.susiemiller.com
Susie’s book: www.listenlearnlovebook.com