Singaporebrides | Weddings 101

May 2011

I Do… Have a Few Questions for You, Darling

Boy meets girl, they fall in love, date, get married, have kids and live happily ever after. Is Life ever that simple?

Unfortunately, in real life, keeping a marriage strong demands a huge and continuous effort from both parties. How, then, do you know that you have chosen “The One”? Are you getting married for the right reasons? What are the right reasons anyway?

We speak to Theresa Bung, Principal Therapist from Family Life Society, to discuss the top issues a couple should thrash out before saying “I do”.

We’re getting married because….

What’s the real reason you’re tying the knot? A couple should feel pulled together in love, enough to want to spend their lives together, instead of feeling pushed into marriage. Is there a pressure of similar-aged friends getting married? Are you hearing the ticking of your biological clock?

Some may feel marriage is a form of escape from their families, and long for a place of their own, while others feel that it is simply the next logical step after having dated for so long. Sometimes, couples choose to wed after having dated for many years despite signs that their relationship is headed south, merely to “save face” as their family and friends assume a marriage is already on the cards.

Theresa encourages couples to reflect on their relationship and do a stocktake of each other’s strengths and their differences in character and upbringing. People’s expectations change as they grow and are affected by their encounters and experiences with different people and circumstances, and you want to be sure the person you fell in love with is the same person you’re going to marry.

What’s mine is yours, honey

As a marriage joins two individuals into a union, their bank accounts may also opt for the similar two-become-one approach.

Theresa recommends that couples discuss money issues such as bank accounts, contributions to the household fund, and generally “who pays for what” before marriage to avoid conflicts and possible resentments. She proposes that couples open a joint account to which each contributes a fixed percentage of their salaries. Household expenses like home and car loan installments and holidays should be taken from this account; both should have access to it and be accountable for their spendings from it. The pair should also have his and her own personal accounts and spend from it howsoever he or she deems fit.

How many naughty monkeys jumping on the bed?

While most people are dizzy from the excitement of a wedding, few actually sit down and discuss the future of a family. Even fewer will think about who the child or children’s caregiver would be.

Would one of them choose to work from home or give up work to care for the kids? Is a grandparent available to help? Would the couple be comfortable putting the young ones in an Infant Care facility?

It is not necessary to have all the right answers to these questions, but discussing about them will allow the pair to have an idea of what the other perceives of their lives together with kids will be and plan for better budgeting accordingly.

Will err… your mum come stay with us?

When parents age and become prone to age-related illnesses, that’s the time to answer the question of “Is three really a crowd?”.

You may like a spare room for Mum to stay over anytime she wishes but your spouse may not share the same enthusiasm. Some may baulk at the idea of sending their parents to a nursing home but others may believe that having professional care is the best option.

Having this discussion early allows for couples to get in touch with reality and plan for a realistic future that includes their immediate families.

How do we deal with anger?

Arguments are inevitable, and some issues are bigger than the position of the toilet seat. Everyone has his or her own style of dealing with anger; find out what the best time is to talk to your partner. Some are in their best moods in the morning while others prefer to have talks only after winding down after work.

Not talking for several days may work when you don’t live under the same roof but if you share the same address, it’s harder to avoid each other. Ladies, if you favour the Cold War style of argument, be reasonable and let your man know how much time you need to cool down so that he can approach you after you do, when the atmosphere is more peaceful.

If this article has triggered off some thoughts but you’re not sure where to start, check out pre marriage programmes such as the Couple Builders Programme run by the Family Life Society. It functions on the belief that marriage is a joyous partnership, and that every marriage can have a happy ending through learning and sharing. Find out more here.