N’Digo Articles (July 2012)

Unfortunately, we live in a society where the sanctity of marriage and the concept of monogamy seem almost obsolete.

For those in the African-American community who are reared in single-parent households and those who grow up with both parents in the home, individuals search for role models whose loving and supportive relationships mirror what they aspire for themselves. But, where do you turn when you don’t see those examples within your family, circle of friends or other social networks where you spend a great deal of time?

When Timothy and Carla Jones became engaged, the couple admits they faced the same issue, which inspired them to create The Ring Club, whose mission is to show a new generation of married couples raised by God to change the view of marriage in popular culture. When they both searched for other married and engaged couples to fellowship with, the couple says they realized their lists were short. Timothy says the organization’s focus is to change the perspective of what’s possible for marriage by connecting like-minded married couples who share the same values for marriage.

“We want to be around like-minded people, who like us, desire to make their marriages work,” Carla adds.

Launched in October 2011, couples get a chance to connect on The Ring Club’s weekly Ring Club prayer line and at the organization’s social and book club events. Timothy says they want to change people’s perspective of what’s possible for marriage in today’s culture, and the organization shows the African-American culture values marriage.

“The Ring Club is needed because we see the opposite so much in our culture, with respect to relationships, broken relationships, settling and unfaithfulness,” he says. “You can reach that ‘happily ever after’.”

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Timothy’s parents separated when he was 10 years old and he recalls living on a block full of homes, but only two of this childhood friends lived in a two-parent household. On the contrast, Carla was reared with her mom and dad in their Georgia home, and her parents have been married for 33 years. Both Timothy and Carla admit their upbringings helped to shape their views on relationships and marriage.

“I learned from the pitfalls of what my parents experienced while dating and married,” he comments. Their mistakes shaped my perspective on marriage and parenting in a good way.”

A few years after Carla moved to Chicago, the vastly different upbringings collided when she met the Chicago native at their church in 2006. Drawn to his ability to pray and that he was a man of God, Carla said their friendship blossomed into a courtship, which turned into a relationship and created a marriage.

“We’re married for a reason and greater purpose,” Carla adds. “We’re here to encourage couples to discover what their goals are and why the Lord brought them together. I wish there was an organization like this [The Ring Club] when we were engaged because having those role models and mentors are so important for the development of your marriage.”

In less than a year, the couple developed a network of 17 married couples and five engaged couples. Timothy says the couples continue to participate in various activities and fellowship with others during dance lessons, book clubs, athletic events and barbecues. Next year, Timothy says The Ring Club will bring 20 of the smartest women and men in Chicago, put them in a room to experience each other and experience the thought of becoming ONE during Father’s Day Weekend.

Timothy says The Ring Club is more than an organization. It’s a community, network and a movement the couple plans to expand to other areas such as South Carolina, Dallas and Memphis.

“We will continue to organize and network with couples who share the same vision, values and virtues that we share for marriage, and develop a lasting relationship among them,” Timothy adds.

For more information on The Ring Club, visit www.theringclubmmc.com.

Follow The Ring Club on Twitter at @TheRingClub