Updated: Jan 14
Laying the groundwork for a long-lasting marriage is extremely important even before you start any full-fledged wedding planning. The wedding might be a one-day event; however, a marriage is forever. A good marriage needs a firm foundation of commitment, effort and skill. Marriage preparation courses are a simplified way to help establish that by bringing difficult topics out into the open and by setting right expectations.
Are marriage preparation courses effective? When couples are in love, we may easily allow ourselves to overlook certain areas. When the couple is not yet living together, it's easy to just look the other way and conveniently forget the flaws and bad habits of the other party until the next date, but once you are living with each other 24/7, the dirty socks continually appearing on the bedroom floor or the sweat-stained tees tossed on the living room sofa aren't that easy to overlook anymore.
Having someone else, especially a professional third party to help highlight and address some of the difficult topics like finances, healthcare, children, religion and even marital affairs is invaluable. These are not everyday topics that are easily discussed over dinner, and a big, common mistake is to wait for the issues to arise before tackling them. When crucial issues crop up, neither of you may have the presence of mind to logically resolve the situation, ultimately relying mainly on your emotions to handle the situation.
What about seeking advice from family and friends? While your friends and family are the closest to you and though they may want the best for you, they may not be the right people to talk you through your distressed train of thought during that trying period.
Going through a marriage preparation course allows you to understand each other's differences and personalities, to see how each responds to life circumstances such as miscarriage, infertility, bankruptcy or sudden loss of employment or even a difficult extended family dispute. There are many different courses to choose from, with different course durations, but most average from one to three days. An important point is that both of you should agree to go to the course together and with an open mind. If one is disgruntled and unwilling, this defeats the purpose, and you’ll end up wasting time and money. Even our government is supportive of couples taking marriage preparation courses, with a S$70 rebate to be given upon completion of marriage preparation programmes supported by the Ministry of Social and Family Development. For details, you may refer here: http://app.msf.gov.sg/Policies/Marriages/Preparing-for-Marriage To be equipped and ready for the lifelong adventure ahead, what could be better than to begin checking out marriage preparation courses? In Singapore, there are plenty of options available, regardless whether you prefer a religious association or a non-religious organisation. Below are some links for you to explore: CareCorner: http://carecorner.org.sg/programmes.html EMCC: http://emcc.org.sg/marriage-journey/marriage-preparation-programme/
Cornerstone Community Church: http://www.cscc.org.sg/ministries/family-life/
FaithActs: http://faithacts.org.sg/services/family/mpc.html The Catholic Archdiocese of Singapore: https://www.catholic.sg/ Shan You Counselling Centre: http://www.shanyou.org.sg/en/our-services/marriage-preparation-programme.html Hougang Sheng Hong Family Service Centre: http://www.shenghong.org.sg/family-services/
Written by Kally Tay Edited by Priscilla Lai
* Kally Tay is a writer who used to be a bride from Annabel Law Productions and a friendship blossomed with Bel after her wedding. She loves to share her knowledge of being a mum and her corporate experiences though her blog at Middle Me.