Build Your Marriage By Asking These 5 Questions

After 16 years of marriage and six children, my husband and I thought it timely to park some couple time aside this year and signed up for a marriage retreat. It was obvious to us, that after a season of coping with parenting young children in our twenties and thirties, along with career and family transitions, our marriage had lost some of its initial shine with the daily wear and tear of life. 

Marriage too is subject to seasons. The early years of marriage, while sweet, felt akin to walking a tightrope in order to balance each other’s expectations. Midway, in trying to establish financial stability, the demands of work and hopeful ambition ate into our attempts at real connection.

After children came on the scene, marriage became not just about “us”. Our time was mostly consumed in taking care of their needs first, leaving us with barely enough energy and time to address each other’s. Our moments were no longer exclusive but shared – our children would tag along with us to celebrate our wedding anniversaries.

To be fair, all marriages go through change. After all, some of our initial conceptions of our spouse and ideas of what marriage would be like will evolve. Adding to that, our personal experiences and emotional growth may shape us into different people from the original two starry-eyed individuals who had vowed to stick together for better or worse.

It was a timely weekend; Covenant Marriage Retreat 2019 in Singapore taught us some practical handles on how to iron out the kinks and rev the engines of love that would sustain our marriage in the decades to come.

If you can identify with what we have experienced, here are five specific questions that will help our marriages go the distance:

1. How can I focus on the good in our marriage? 

As the years go by and we see the person we married for who he or she really is, it may be easier to magnify their weaknesses and flaws than recognise the good. Focusing on the good means accepting your partner for who he is and where he’s at. It is also about choosing to acknowledge your partner’s efforts and strengths.

My husband is not a natural romantic who plans surprises or buys me flowers. However, I’ve learnt to appreciate him for the practical hands-on husband that he is, rather than focusing on what he is not. I appreciate his quiet ways of expressing love: Allowing me to take a bath first after a long day, swapping dishes with me when his order looks better than mine, doing the dishes without being asked and changing nappies. These are the many sweet ways he makes me feel special and loved! 

I’ve learnt to appreciate him for the practical hands-on husband that he is, rather than focusing on what he is not.

2. How can I fill my spouse’s emotional fuel tank?

Craig Hill, founder of Family Foundations International and author of Two Fleas & No Dog: Transform Your Marriage from Fleadom to Freedom, reveals that men and women perceive value totally differently. “Every person has an emotional fuel tank and Value is the fuel.” Men perceive value through respect and women perceive value through love.

For a woman, practical love means ensuring she is given high priority, that attention is given to address her feelings, and responsibility is taken when her spouse hurts her. For a man, practical respect translates to acceptance, admiration and appreciation of his work and efforts for the family.

Understanding this difference helps us do what matters most to our spouse and fills their emotional tanks. We need to consciously and intentionally fill our spouse’s emotional tank so that marriage becomes a safe harbour for them to rest and refuel instead of a battleground.

3. How can I better communicate to my spouse his or her value?

Most of the communication failures in a marriage arise from the things we say and…the things we don’t. While words can be used to accuse, tear down and manipulate emotions, sincere, affirming words have the power to build up our marriage relationship regardless of how we feel.

For every gripe we have about our spouse, think of three things we can thank and honour him for. Choosing to speak life-giving words will feed the heart and soul of our marriage. At the same time, “Only 7% of a communicated message is contained in the words spoken. Another 38% is in voice intonation and 55%, body language,” says Hill. That means a whopping 93% of all our communicated messages are non-verbal! We must be mindful that our tone and bodily gestures, such as touch and eye contact, have a direct impact on our relationship too. 

Sincere, affirming words have the power to build up our marriage relationship regardless of how we feel.

4. How can I put his or her needs first? 

Our marriage can run the risk of becoming transactional if we choose to prioritise our individual happiness above our spouse’s. The world has conditioned us to think that every relationship should offer some kind of payback.

“What’s in it for me?” “Can my spouse provide me with enough money?” “Will we be able to afford yearly holidays?” reflect attitudes that can prove toxic to a marriage.

Instead, we can shift gears by asking questions like, “How can I serve my spouse?”, “How can I make his or her day special?” and “How can I prioritise my spouse’s needs first?” The adage, “It is better to give than to receive” is definitely applicable to how we treat the one closest to us. 

5. How can I prioritise my marriage more?

Are there any hobbies, people, activities that might be competing with our desire to spend time with our spouse? The year-end holiday season is a good time for couples to reconnect and spend time together. Go on a short vacation or just take time out away from work or the kids.

It is easy to confuse building our families with building our marriages. They are complementary but not the same thing. In fact, spending time to intentionally improve our relationship with our spouse will ensure that our children and family relationships benefit as well. 

Think about:

  • Which marriage question will you mull over this week?

How to Date Your Spouse Again

Marriages go through different seasons and life stages, with some more hectic and challenging than others. Similarly, while dates with our spouse may at times feel
lacklustre (or frankly, non-existent), we can take small steps in reconnecting and learning to date our spouse again.

As you take the first step towards nurturing a healthy and strong marriage, this eGuide will provide you with tools and tips to keep the sparks flying! 

Suitable for newlyweds or couples married through the seasons. 

How to Overcome Personality Differences in Marriage?

I attended two weddings at the beginning of the year. As I witnessed these two lovely couples (both of the bridegrooms were my mentees) entering into holy matrimony, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own marriage and the years that my wife Donna and I had been married.

How did we survive those years?

How is it that I now love her more than when we first started?

Well, one thing is for sure. It is not enough to marry the one we love. We must love the one we marry. 26 years ago, I married the one I loved. Today, I am still loving the one I had married.

Meltdowns are not manipulative, and are usually not within the child’s control. 

‘A lot of give and take’

When I was asked at the second wedding to say a few words to the married couple, I looked into their eyes and offered this advice: “You must learn how to give and take.” I went on to say, “Kenny, you give and she takes.” Almost everyone in the room burst into laughter.

I explained, “When it comes to wardrobe space, you give her 70%, and you make do with 30%. As for shoe rack space? She 80 and you 20.”

I love books, so in our case, 80 to me, and 20 to my wife.

How did our marriage last 26 years? The answer: A lot of give and take.

We are so different, yet we managed to live under the same roof and sleep on the same bed, for all these years. Speaking about sleeping on the same bed, I didn’t know that the number of blankets is also an issue for discussion between married couples.

A few days after the first couple got married, I met with them and 3 other friends for lunch. When I asked the newlyweds how married life was, my mentee asked, “Do you use 1 blanket or 2 blankets?”

One immediate response was, “Why would you want to use 1 blanket? Having a good sleep is more important.”

We had a healthy discussion and managed to reach a conclusion before our food was served. The conclusion was this: As long as we sleep on the same bed, whether we use our own blanket or share a blanket is not so important.

All this while, I was listening with fascination. The reason is that my wife and I don’t use blankets. We use the quilt. I shared with them that my problem is not with blankets or quilts, but with the air-con. My wife can’t stand hot and I can’t stand cold. So this is what happens on some nights – my wife will switch on the aircon. When it gets too cold (for me), I’d get up half asleep and switch off the aircon and go back to sleep. A while later, my wife will get up and look for the remote control to switch on the aircon again. An hour or so later, I will get up to switch it off. I am fine with this except on those occasions when I can’t find the remote control in the dark!

Don’t sweat the small stuff

Donna and I are exact opposites in many aspects – she likes to throw things away, I like to keep stuff; her side of the table is neat and tidy, my side is usually messy; she is an extrovert, I an introvert; she can’t stand the sun, I enjoy the outdoors; she manages money well, I can’t even write a cheque.

Over the years, we have learned to work things out. For example, we have learnt to like what the other person likes. I didn’t like raw food when we first met. Now, I love sashimi.

Importantly, we don’t fuss over the small stuff.

Over the years, we have learned to work things out. Importantly, we don’t fuss over the small stuff.

Appreciating differences

My wife is a go-getter and is very task-oriented. Now she is more patient and does not see the need to be in control all the time.

What happened? Well, as the saying goes – “the two shall become one”. For Donna, my calm demeanour has helped her to be less stressed. I reckon I am also a better man now as her constant reminders has helped me to be less laid back and relaxed.

As for cleanliness, I have become neater, as my wife is a very neat person. On the other hand, she has also learnt to tolerate a bit of messiness by sharing the same room, cupboard space, study table, and shelves with a “not so tidy” man.

For Donna, my calm demeanour has helped her to be less stressed. I reckon I am also a better man now as her constant reminders has helped me to be less laid back and relaxed.

Walking the middle ground in parenting

Our children, Sarah and Samuel, are now 23 and 18 years old. Right at the start, Donna and I agreed that we should give them these three things:

  1. Values to live right
  2. Music to worship
  3. Language to communicate with different cultures

We did the first two reasonably well. However, their Chinese is just as bad as ours. I guess the lesson here is that we do not just need common goals when raising children, we also need to be realistic. (We don’t even speak Chinese at home so how can we expect them to do so?)

There will be disagreements when raising children, especially when it comes to academics, tuition, and time for studies vs other things in life.

My wife places a much heavier emphasis on academics than I do. Because of my background as a prison officer, I know that there are some very smart people locked up in the prisons too. So to me, good values are more important than excellent grades.

My wife is protective of our children, and does not like to see them experience failure. As for me, I believe in giving my children permission to fail, and to learn from failure as it builds resilience.

Over the years, we have come to a middle ground and my wife has learned to let go. I have also learned to provide the emotional support to enable her to do this.

Negotiating our differences and coming to a compromise isn’t an easy task. But it helps that we share our thoughts with each other in respectful ways, and give grace when we falter.

It is not enough to marry the one we love. We must love the one we marry.

I asked this question at the beginning. “How is it that I now love her more than when we first started?”

The answer to that is perhaps my biggest lesson of all: It is not enough to marry the one we love. We must love the one we marry.

Also, having two aircon controllers help.

This article was written by Jason Wong.

What Happens When We Truly Listen To Our Spouse

Thriving in your marriage is not a science, it’s an art.

Like all relationships, marriage ebbs and flows through time and personal challenges and growth.

Through all the changes, the art of listening can affect a marriage’s strength. Gaius and Herng Wei, married for over 8 years and parents to two children aged 4 and 6, share with us their own insights and tips into this art.

1. Turn towards, not against

When the couple discovered their firstborn would be born with a congenital heart issue, they were thrown into a period of distress.

“When we received the diagnosis during the pregnancy, Gaius supported me in very practical ways like making sure I have my meals. I remember days when I said, ‘I don’t even feel functional today,’ and he would come back to make sure I have my lunch,” shared Herng Wei.

Gaius said, “That was a challenging time but thankfully, we chose to walk closer and not apart. It was a subconscious decision but looking back, thank God, we decided we could express our vulnerabilities and fears to each other.”

The fact that they had each other to turn to and communicate with was the reason this difficult season somehow got transformed into – in Herng Wei’s words – “a bonding time” instead.

When going through periods of stress and fear, do you turn towards your spouse or turn against them by shutting down or taking out your emotional turmoil on them?

Learning to express our emotional needs in a way that helps our spouse understand and support us will enhance the love in our marriage.

2. Expressing yourself authentically

The art of listening and communicating functions much like a mirror. If one is willing to listen but the other is not committed to share their feelings on a deeper level, the connection will still be lacking. But when one spouse chooses to communicate vulnerably, it can spark a desire in the other to do the same. This can form the beginning of healthy emotional connection that strengthens the foundation of your relationship.

Expressing yourself in your marriage should go beyond talking about routine matters, like what’s for dinner, who’s picking up kids, or what did the kids do in school.

Learning to express our emotional needs in a way that helps our spouse understand and support us will enhance the love in our marriage.

As Gaius shared, “There have been multiple occasions when she would say, ‘Hey, we are not connecting.’ The fact that it crops up so many times means I have not got it yet. Whenever she tells me we need to connect or I need you to listen to me, I would try to find the time to listen to her. I think of it as a cry to listen to her thoughts. If the other spouse can’t listen, then we have to ask questions to find out if there are other reasons like emotional or physical needs not being met.”

“When someone listens to me, I feel loved. It tells me that what I’m feeling is valid,” explained Herng Wei.

It is also important that no one takes these requests personally or as an accusation that one is not working hard at the relationship.

“We have to respond in a manner that’s appropriate and respectful to consciously create a safe place for the other person to talk,” added Gaius.

The magic phrase, “We will talk about this later” helps them fix a time to discuss the issue again while giving each other space to calm down.

3. Carving out quality time

But of course, expressing yourself at the wrong times can be unhelpful. Like talking about an issue during the early morning rush to get out the door, or when one spouse is obviously tired and you “won’t have them 100 percent”.

Gaius and Herng Wei shared how they have adapted their communication style after marriage and kids.

“When we were still dating, we coined this term, ‘RTC’ or real time communication. Maybe because we were still dating and we had more time to address any issues immediately because we hoped to see the whole picture and get to know each other,” said Herng Wei.

“Now, there’s some delay,” laughed Gaius.

But on the flip side, this also works to help each other become calm to ensure a conversation is gainful.

“Gaius once shared that he realised after marriage, his highs are higher and his lows are lower,” said Herng Wei, adding that the magic phrase, “We will talk about this later” helps them find a time to discuss the issue again while giving each other space to calm down.

Gaius pointed out a universal challenge that every modern-day couple probably faces – time. He shared, “The challenge has always been to carve out a window of time. People don’t ask you ‘are you available to listen’? They just say, ‘Papa, this or that’ or ‘darling, this or that’, and I need to prioritise them.”

He manages his priorities by recognising that work and other demands will always be there, but we still have to carve out time for our marriage.

What has really helped Gaius and Herng Wei is fixing a time daily where they can connect.

“We try to do evening walks every day. That’s our undistracted time to talk. It’s about 45 minutes each time and we don’t have our phones with us,” said Gaius.

This omits distractions that can affect quality time together and is a key to keeping the marriage growing.

Said Gaius, “We tend to think what’s before marriage is the same as what’s after marriage but it’s not. We need to set aside time to communicate sometime, someplace, somewhere.”

Food for thought for couples shared by Gaius and Herng Wei indeed. Would you too set aside time today to communicate and connect with your spouse heart-to-heart?

© 2023 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

Are You A Controlling Spouse?

  • Do you find yourself constantly trying to control what your partner does and how they do go about their tasks?
  • Do you get upset or angry if things are not done specifically how you want them to be done?
  • Do you often criticise or are judgemental towards your spouse?
  • Does your spouse complain that you are controlling?
  • Do you get your way by using the silent treatment or threats?
  • Do you often make decisions for your spouse without consulting them?

If your answers are mostly “yes”, there is a high chance that you are controlling the relationship.

1. What’s behind controlling behaviours?

No one likes to admit that they are the “controller” in their marriage.

We get defensive when our spouse says that we are controlling. We may even believe that our controlling behaviours come from a good place because we care about the well-being of our spouse and the relationship.

While our intentions may be well-meaning and our concerns valid, it is important to realise that being overly controlling can do more harm than good to the relationship. No one likes to be micromanaged, especially not our spouse. If left unchecked, controlling behaviour can erode trust and gradually push the person closest to us away.

Controlling behaviours often stem from trust issues and are exacerbated by fear and anxiety. The causes can range from deep-seated personal issues, unhealthy habits, unresolved emotional wounds, negative family modelling, and insecure attachments, to irrational beliefs about others, self, and life.

Perhaps you grew up in a family where you experienced rejection instead of unconditional acceptance. This could have resulted in dysfunctional relationship models that you unconsciously picked up and replicated in your own behaviour.

If you want to maintain a healthy and thriving relationship, you can start by attending to your personal growth.

You may hold irrational beliefs or fall into thinking traps that increase your fear or anxiety to unhealthy levels. For example, you might think that when your spouse disagrees with you on an important matter, it signifies rejection, and damages your self-esteem. So, you may give your spouse the silent treatment or demand that he/she aligns with you instead of embracing the value of differing viewpoints.

Or perhaps your personality is such that you expect compliance from your family. You feel secure and comfortable only when you are in charge.

There can be a variety of reasons why a person exhibits controlling behaviours.

Understanding the root causes of one’s controlling tendencies is not about inducing guilt or punishing oneself, but rather gaining insights into how to address them. It’s crucial to recognise and understand our need for control. Without this recognition, it becomes difficult to engage in the process of change and growth.

If you think you need help to uncover the causes of your controlling behaviour and to make changes to strengthen your marriage, consider seeing a relationship coach or a counsellor.

Instead of trying to control your spouse, learn to accept, respect, and love him/her with all his/her shortcomings and failings.

2. Practical steps to take

There are also practical steps you can take to help you loosen the reins and improve your relationship:

1. Work on yourself first

Being controlling is usually a coping mechanism for anxiety. It is not uncommon that we project our undesirable attitudes onto our spouse when we feel lousy about ourselves. If you want to maintain a healthy and thriving relationship, you can start by attending to your personal growth.

2. Accept your spouse unconditionally

Instead of trying to control your spouse, learn to accept, respect, and love him/her with all his/her shortcomings and failings.

3. Learn to manage stress well

When we feel overwhelmed by life events and situations, we can become controlling towards others as a way of coping with our insecurities. So, if anxiety is fuelling your controlling behaviours, you can alleviate it by working on your stress management skills.

4. Examine irrational beliefs

When you notice that you’re starting to exhibit controlling behaviours, ask yourself: What about this situation is making me scared or worried? What am I afraid of? When you are able to press “pause” and become more self-aware, it will help you to let go.

It takes courage to admit that we are the controller in the marriage, especially if it is feedback from our spouse.

If left unchecked, controlling behaviours often do more harm than good to your marriage. It is thus important to first acknowledge the behaviour is unhelpful, and then identify the causes behind it so that you can work towards positive and sustainable change.

© 2023 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved. 

Celebrating Marriage

Keys to intimacy and happiness

Celebrating Marriage

Do you find it hard to express your innermost hopes to your spouse?  

Learn how you can overcome the hindrances and hesitation in articulating your innermost hopes for your marital relationships. And discover the secrets to a thriving marriage as we unlock the keys to greater marital satisfaction!  

Participants will be equipped with skills to:
1.
Understand the emotional and sexual needs of their spouse
2.
Gain practical tips to meeting your spouse’s needs (and work towards having your own relationship needs met!)
3.
Learn effective ways of communication and conflict resolution

Details

Duration:  1 – 1.5 hrs 

Delivery Format: Talks can be conducted either onsite or online via Zoom 

Have questions:
Reach out for more information on this programme!

Connect2 is an initiative by Focus on the Family Singapore to help married couples nurture and grow their relationship.

Intimate Marriage

Cultivating sexual intimacy and marital passion

Intimate Marriage

Do you find it hard to express your innermost thoughts to your spouse?

Learn how you can overcome the hindrances to connection and begin to express your authentic self to your spouses. You will discover the secrets to a thriving marriage as we unlock the keys to greater marital satisfaction!  

Participants will be equipped with skills to:
1.
Understand the emotional and sexual needs of their spouse
2.
Gain practical tips to meeting your spouse’s needs (and work towards having your own relationship needs met!)
3.
Learn effective ways of communication and conflict resolution

Details

Duration: 1 – 1.5 hrs 

Delivery Format: Talks can be conducted either onsite or online via Zoom 

Find out more:
Reach out to learn how you can bring this programme to your community!

Connect2 is an initiative by Focus on the Family Singapore to help married couples nurture and grow their relationship.

How to Declutter Your Marriage & Travel Light

Tidying up

“The best way to find out what we really need is to get rid of what we don’t.” 

Japanese organisational guru Marie Kondo took the world by storm with her philosophy of tidying up. Instead of going from room to room to declutter your home, Marie suggests tidying up systematically by category, keeping only the things that speak to your heart and discarding those that no longer spark joy. Advocates of the Marie Kondo method have described her ideas as revolutionary, and report feeling more empowered to make clearer decisions based on whether or not an item sparks joy. 

In a similar manner, our marriages also need decluttering. And the longer you are married, the more your marriage needs to be decluttered.

When you say I do

Let’s travel back in time to the day you got married. You gaze dreamily into the eyes of your beloved; and everything around you seems to fade. You hardly even remember your wedding vows; all you can remember is that somewhere down the line you uttered the simple two words, “I do.” 

At that point in time, everything about your relationship seems to radiate joy — the newness of the marital relationship, the marital home, planning for children.  

But years later, you realise that your marriage has become cluttered with too many things. After all, life is not a fairytale, and there is no such thing as a fairytale marriage. So the grudges, the hurts, the grievances, the resentment all build up and clutter up the marital space. As husband and wife, you do try to tidy up. You try to work on your issues one at a time, but it’s not as easy it you’d hoped it would be.  

Perhaps we can take a leaf from Marie Kondo, and apply some of her tidying rules to our marriage: 

  1. Commit yourself to tidying up 
  2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle
  3. Finish discarding first
  4. Tidy by category not by location
  5. Follow the right order
  6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

1. Commit yourself to tidying up

If we want our marriages to work, we need to commit to them. My wife and I have been married for more than 15 years, and we have had our fair share of quarrels. But one thing both of us decided early in our marriage is for it to be our first priority, and that no matter what happens, we will stand together for our marriage. If couples commit to making their marriage work, they may be more likely to overcome the challenges that life throws at them.

2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle

What is your ideal marriage? While there is no perfect marriage, there are ideals we can aim for and work towards. Every year, my wife and I ask each other “What is one thing I can do in order to be a better spouse?” We have learnt that if we are able to articulate what we want from our spouse, and if we know what our spouse wants from us, we would then be better prepared to work on our issues and become a better person.

“While there is no perfect marriage, there are ideals we can aim for and work towards.”

3. Finish discarding first

As a counsellor, I know that each of us goes through many struggles. Many of our hurts stem from experiences in our childhood, our families-of-origin or are caused by incidents in school.

We sometimes need help to deal with our past hurts, be it through sharing with a trusted friend, a mentor or a therapist. This is one of the first steps to decluttering our marriage – dealing with the years of trash accumulated even before we got married.

4. Tidy by category not by location

There are so many different aspects of our lives that we could possibly work on. So, where do we begin?   

If finances are an issue, seek a money manager who can help in this area. If you need help with communication issues, perhaps an online class on marital communication would benefit you. As for deeper emotional hurts, seeing a counsellor might be the way forward for you to learn new skills and narratives to process past grievances and resentment.

5. Follow the right order

What is the right order? Marie Kondo states that there is an order in which you declutter your house – first declutter things that are less personal, working your way to the more personal items.  

Likewise, for your marriage, start with the issues that seem obvious to you and your spouse. In counselling terms, these are the “presenting problems”, or issues that appear to be causing the most strain to your marriage.   

As you tackle these problems, the more personal items or “root issues” will gradually surface. Sometimes, it helps to work through these difficult issues with a marital therapist. 

6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy

Do the day-to-day interactions with your spouse spark joy?

If the answer is no, then take time to refocus on other aspects of your relationship that spark joy. Contrary to popular opinion, there is always something new to be discovered in marriage. Ellyn Bader and Peter Pearson’s Developmental Model of Couples Therapy states that there are four stages in a marriage – the honeymoon, early marriage, middle marriage and long-term marriage periods.

Essentially this means that couples experience different challenges as they go through the different seasons of their marriage. It is important to understand what are the unique challenges that you may be facing right now in your marriage, and intentionally search for things that spark joy for the both of you.

For instance, during the years when your children are young, you could carve out date nights with your spouse. Or when your children are themselves getting married and moving out of the home, you could both learn a new hobby to rekindle the spark.

“It is only when we begin to deal with the past hurts in our lives that we can make space to rekindle joy in our marriage. “

Changing your habits 

“People cannot change their habits without first changing their way of thinking.” 

Old habits die hard. Many couples get trapped in negative ways of dealing with the issues in their marriage. It may be a difficult step to first commit to decluttering our marriage but it is a much-needed one. Perhaps it is only when we begin to deal with the past hurts in our lives that we can make space to rekindle joy in our marriage. 

© 2023 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.

Best Date Ever

Re-Connect & Re-Ignite the Romance

“We’re both caught up in our work and would spend the weekends only to recharge and laze at home. I wanted to… reignite our relationship and to create new experiences.”

When was the last time you and your spouse had a really great date?

One that didn’t just revolve around discussing the kids, or rushed through so you could fulfil errands afterwards?

Do you reminisce when love was first sparked, enjoying long, chill dates with time for deep connection and good conversations?

We’ve prepared Best Date Ever, a special event for couples married 10 years and under, so all you need to do is dress up, turn up and enjoy yourselves together.

Let us host you with a thoughtful programme, while reviving romance and relishing each other’s attention and company. Come and create wonderful memories to strengthen your family’s foundation.

Relax, re-connect and renew the intimacy in your marriage at the Best Date Ever.

Unplug from the day-to-day routine and focus on each other. The special dinner experience offers an opportunity for couples to:
1.
Spend special, one-on-one time over a dinner meal
2.
Bond over fun and meaningful couple activities
3.
Express affection and appreciation for each other  
4.
Deepen connections over intimate conversations
5.
Generate anticipation for the next date or couple time

Gary & Joanna Koh

Gary and Joanna present a dynamic approach in talking about love and life. Gary’s sense of humour vs. Joanna’s straight-talking approach are so different, yet both have the same passion of helping families and relationships thrive. Gary is a family counsellor and Joanna has served as CEO of local charity, Focus on the Family Singapore, for 21 years.

Missed the event? 

Join the Interest List to be notified when registration opens in 2024!

Share your experience!

How was your Best Date Ever? Share your experience with us! 

More information can be found on our FAQs. For further enquiries, please call 6336 1444 or email Xingqi.Lu@family.org.sg.

Connect2 is an initiative by Focus on the Family Singapore to help married couples nurture and grow their relationship.

Impact Stories

Here are what some participants had to say after attending the event

Special thanks to

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Through the thoughtful programme, participants will be guided to revive romance and relish each other's company through:

• Couple Activities 
• Connections: Conversations
• Commitment: Letter-writing

The Best Date Ever Kit includes materials needed during the programme and for future dates.

Although our event is targeted at couples who have been married for 10 years or less, we welcome all married couples regardless of the duration of marriage to join us for this event.

We won’t be serving alcohol at the dinner. Soft drinks, coffee and tea will be available throughout the dinner.

The 4-course Western menu does not contain pork or lard. If you require a Halal-certified meal, or if you have any food allergies or special dietary needs, please let us know in the registration form.

We encourage you to make all necessary arrangements to ensure that yours and your spouse's schedules are clear for Best Date Ever. There will be no refunds* for cancellations.
 
Requests for transfer of registration will be accepted until 23 Aug. Please email us at Xingqi.Lu@family.org.sg.
 
*The Organiser reserves the rights to cancel or reschedule the event due to unforeseen circumstances. Every effort, however, will be made to inform participants as soon as possible of the change. For cancellation of event by the Organiser, fees will be refunded in full.
Interest List