W4TC had the pleasure of chatting with Toni-Ann Craft, the Founder of Friends with Rings and the interaction was transformational! You may ask “What is Friends with Rings?” Well, we are so glad you did. It is a network that is multicultural and inclusive; it recognizes that healthy marriages need a strong community to survive.
After Craft and her husband married, they moved from D.C. to New York. Soon after the move Covid hit, and things started to close in on them. They were stuck in their apartment, secluded and driving each other nuts! They had no friends close by. Her parents were nearby, but due to Covid they weren’t visiting them. Toni-Ann has spent years building networks for others, so she took that experience and created something that she wanted, support and a community of like-minded married people. Thus, “Friends with Rings” was birthed. Her goal is to create a hub and provide support outside of coaching and counseling for all couples no matter how long they have been married.
Studies show that in speaking to singles that they want to get married, it is difficult to stay married with so many distractions and lack of support from family and friends. This network is there to provide a safe space and an environment of support for couples to stay married. Her motto is “it takes a village to build a healthy marriage.” It is so important to find a mutual party that is married, wants to genuinely see your marriage succeed, and will give advice that will build and not tear down.
“Friends with Rings” creates a supportive atmosphere in a variety of different platforms for married and engaged couples. They host monthly events, which include workshops and marriage-related issues. They also have a network of coaches and counselors that have partnered with “Friends with Rings,” and provide discounted rates to members for private and confidential services. They have recently rolled out “Village Groups,” which are small groups of no more than six-to-eight members that connect to get together and talk on a regular basis. Due to Covid, most events are virtual for now; but once it is safe, they will hold more in-person events.
Membership doors open two times a year. Currently, membership is closed; however, a waitlist is available, and every so often will have a flash opening. They have three different payment plans: $35 monthly, $175 semi-annual, and $300 annually. Currently, there are three chapters: New York, D.C., and virtual. As the virtual chapter grows, they will be able to open a new chapter.
Craft encourages single women that want to get married to get a married friend that will be able to give advice from a married woman’s perspective.
For the newlywed, keep growing and have a mission for your marriage. This marriage mission will be helpful so that anytime you alleviate or get sidetracked, you can get back on track and hold one another accountable. Also, surround yourself with other healthy, married couples.
For those that have been married for some time, she has been told that “married for a long time does not always equal happy.” Find happiness, create quality, and find ways to keep it spicy and each other engaged. Don’t get too comfortable that you don’t make the years enjoyable.
Friends with Rings has phenomenal upcoming events; two of which in spearheaded by Board Members: Lance Gross and Charreah Jackson. Later this month, Friends with Rings will present Lance Gross’ new television series with a premiere. There will be gifts and giveaways. In October they roll out “Wifetoberfest,” a three-day event series catered to wives. In December, Charreah Jackson (who is an advocate for healthy relationships), will host an event of encouragement for both married and non-married women.