One of the happiest day of my life was on my wedding day. It is every girl’s (well, almost every girl) dream to marry the man of her dreams – to share her life with one person that will be there with her through thick or thin, to hold her when things get rough and exchange stories until the wee hours of the night. Blame it to fairy tales but most women crave romance in their lives and hope to meet their prince charming. So weddings embody that romantic fantasies most women aspires.
My husband proposed to me over dinner the day before my birthday more than four years ago. We were already past our one year as a couple. We were then engaged and soon prepared for our wedding for roughly two years while I am in Singapore and he was back in the Philippines. We were extremely pleased with the outcome of all our preparations and hardwork over our wedding. It was everything we wanted it to be. And I am happy to report that we didn’t have a devastating major fight over wedding preparations unlike some of the stories I hear from other couples. Look at us here. So happy. So carefree. This is a candid shot of us after our creative first wedding dance during our reception.
Let me tell you. We love pouring over our wedding photos and repeatedly watching our wedding video but a successful wedding doesn’t necessarily mean a successful marriage.
I am sorry to burst all the bubbles for romantics and engaged couples out there but after the “i-do’s” are over, soon after real life starts. Here is the honest truth, marriage is hardwork. Marriage will not make you happy. It will not be the answer to all you problems nor will it be the only source for the love or romance you crave. But before you get disillusioned with marriage, let me tell you the good news. There is still a possibility for a “Happily Ever After” but what the fairy tales didn’t tell you is that you have to work for that “Happily Ever After”. If you don’t want to do anything to achieve that or you think you can rely on your euphoric (sadly temporary) state of love, I have to say don’t bother getting married because you will be living in a sad imprisoned life. You need both the husband and wife to make it as a goal to make their marriage work and not allow their love to wither a slow painful death. It should be a daily conscious effort of choosing each other (even if one of you is currently unlovable) everyday. It is learning that love is not only a feeling but a verb.
I don’t consider myself an expert of marriage considering I have only been married for 2 years. I have so many things to learn and in this short span of time as a wife, I think I even made more wrongs in the name of marriage compared to my rights.
I believe that marriage is important so I was excited when my husband and I were invited to attend the Back To I Do Launch Campaign.
Back To I Do Campaign is about strengthening marriages in Singapore in their first critical 5 years of marriage. Ministry of Social & Family Development conducted a longterm study from 1987 to 2012 showed that couples are not making any effort in making their marriages last which resulted in divorces in one to four marriages. This campaign is created by Ms. Phoebe Yew, Ms. Shermaine Lau, Ms. Chaim Ningrong and Ms. Justine Koh from Wee Kim Wee School Communication and Information as their final year project. A study shows that those who tied the knot in 2008, 6.6 % did not make it to their 5th anniversary. This is very relevant to our times where there is a growing epidemic of divorce. The organizers likened divorce as a cancer. We don’t foresee the obstacles of life, daily stresses and different belief systems & backgrounds that can create a havoc in marriage. A survey conducted showed that most couples have unrealistic approach to marriage in the initial stages of the union without realising the unforeseen threats in marriages.
The launch was held at Jurong Safra. One of the conference room where decorated beautifully with love notes, photos of couples staring lovingly at each others and the tables were aptly clad in the color of love: red.
We met the four sweet and enthusiastic organizers of Back To I Do and the other couples invited to the launch. The organizers introduced us to the three pillars of strengthening marriage: Intimacy, Commitment and Conflict Resolution. We were invited to hang our tips/advice in the trees to share with other couples and see it grow in time as the campaign continues. Organisers also shared what the CEO of Focus on the Family Singapore, Mrs. Joanna Koh-Hoe advised couples to improve their communication and conflict resolution skills. Couples should continue to regularly date even after the wedding. Writing love letter are also great ways to reignite the marital fire.
Here are some of the advice we hang in the three pillars of strengthening marriage:
We also had a fun game of “How Well Do You Know Your Partner“. We were asked a series of questions pertaining to our partners like “What is favorite color ?” or “Who is her celebrity crush?” and the most number of correct answers will win a pair of ginger bread cookies. And guess who won? Me and my hubby!
We enjoyed the rest of the chatting with organisers and other couples about marriage and love while enjoying the food prepared for us using the Food Panda services.
We also went home with a good bag with a box from Sample Store and beautiful love cards to write hand-written letters for our partners.
Back To I Do will be holding several roadshows in certain malls near you.
- United Square – 9 & 10 January 2016
- One KM Mall – 16 January 2016
- Safra Jurong 23 January 2016
- Parkway Parade 10 to 14 February 2016
Back To I do is also holding a “Revisit Your Dating Days” contest from 9 January to 28 February 2016 where couples revisit their dating spots and share their heartfelt moments. To join:
1. Like Back To I Do Facebook Page
2. Follow @backtoido on Instagram
3. Share a photo of you and your spouse at an old dating spot. Use the hashtag #BacktoIdo, #SAFRAJurong and #marriagegoals
Winners stand a chance win a personal film of themselves with Carrieu (worth $1,200) and more. There will also be a Couple Retreat which is the final event on the 28th of February 2016 to be held at Safra Jurong.
Investing in your marriage is the best gift you can give to your partner, to your kids and to yourself. Anything that you work hard for, fight for, invest your time for, you pray for, you sacrifice for will always reap wonderful fruits that will be worth it in the end. But always remember, marriage is a two-way street and one partner working on it may not have a successful outcome as compared to two persons who are willing to learn to dance the tango into the exciting, complicated beautiful world of married life.