You know how in the movies when a couple falls in love, it’s all about that “happily ever after”? The thing is, saying “I do” is the easiest part. It’s what comes after that’s the real headache 一 uh, I mean challenge. According to the Singapore Department of Statistics, a total of 7,623 marriages ended up in divorce or annulment in 2019, which was a 3.8% increase from the previous year! So I asked around and got these 9 best tried-and-tested marriage tips from fellow Singaporeans who have walked the fiery coals of love to (hopefully) make your marriage last long long.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
“Every couple will quarrel at some point. It's quite normal and not the end of the marriage. Think of the quarrels as a sandpaper that will smoothen out the rough edges. It's also a must to find time to talk after the quarrel to find out what were each other’s concerns and what made your spouse upset. This will show him/her that you still care and will make an effort to improve things.”
— Alvin Lim, 54, father of 2, married for 27 years
“Many marriages break down because of broken characters. Before marriage, couples will put their best foot forward. After marriage, one’s character might change. There are many reasons behind this: job loss, job pressures, gambling habits or excessive drinking and more. That’s why the ability to analyse situations and problems so that you can understand the reasons behind the behaviour of your partner is very important.”
— Charlie Tan, 61 years old, father of 3, married for 36 years
“Marriage is about making the effort and taking time to do things for each other. Life can feel like a routine, or a habit. If we can notice the things that create little moments of happiness for our partner and do them from time to time, we’ll be able to touch their hearts and make them smile, because that’s how we would love to be treated too.”
— Amy Cheng, 41 years old, mother of 2, married for 11 years
“The element of surprise. It's not surprising if either party puts in the effort to do, for instance, household chores. But if you do something that you know your partner likes but has no particular interest to you, that's when the effort transforms into something surprising and considerably bigger. This also makes it easier for either party to understand each other from a more intimate perspective simply by partaking in the activity and is what I feel makes a marriage continue to be exciting forever!”
— Max Wong, 34 years old, married for 7 years
“Always respect your partner's beliefs and boundaries, even if they may not be the same as yours. By listening and understanding each other's perspective, you’ll cultivate mutual respect in the relationship.”
— Calvin Leong, 42 years old, married for 6 years
“Praise your husband every now and then to show that you are paying some attention. For instance, I’ll always show my appreciation when my husband helps me with tasks like emptying the bins and washing the dishes, and avoid mentioning other tasks that he could have helped me with like sweeping or ironing. Focus on what your partner has done for you and not what he or she has not done.”
— Elise Cheng, 35 years old, mother of 1, married for 5 years
“At the “going stead” stage, things are of course rosy. After each date, you leave for your respective homes, so you don’t see how the other half lives. When you live in your matrimonial home together, that’s when things get “exciting”! Who would have thought a lady needs so many beauty products? There are many annoying habits that you “inherit” when you marry. But to be fair, she’s not the only one with quirks. The way to tackle it? Acceptance. So for you youngsters out there, resistance and change is futile. If you love that person, love that person wholeheartedly, warts and all!”
— Wilson Li, 58 years old, father of 2, married for 30 years
“I personally feel communication is important. This can be in the form of a daily update of what’s going on at work, what you’ve seen or even just something funny you can share. Especially as parents, we will always prioritise our kids or be so busy with work that we forget to spend quality time with our partners. So communication, and an occasional staycation or dinner date for some couple time is important to maintain the relationship.”
— Diana Goh, 36 years old, mother of 1, married for 6 years
“Some people who have separated generally give reasons such as they’ve fallen out of love. I personally feel that love translates differently at every different stage. At times, it evolves into other values like commitment, cooperation and tolerance. If you expect to feel the same as you did during the honeymoon stages of love after sometime, you’ll be disappointed. So it’s important to manage your expectations and understand that love is more than just romance and passion. Supporting each other's personal growth and growing together is the key to a lasting marriage!”
— Serene Chew, 41 years old, mother of 2, married for 10 years
“Love is a choice you make every day,” as Dr. Gary Chapman, a well-known marriage counsellor and author of the best-selling book The 5 Love Languages, said. I hope that you feel encouraged and inspired by these 9 happily married Singaporeans, and wish you a long and lasting happy marriage!