55 couples took turns to renew their vows in a surprise move at the Back to “I Do” Couples’ Retreat on 28th February. Held at SAFRA Jurong, the retreat is organized by four final-year undergraduates from Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information, NTU. The retreat is part of a campaign that seeks to strengthen marital bonds among couples in their first five years of marriage.
“My husband and I were very surprised when the organizers gave each of us a box with beautiful rings inside,” said Josephine Seetoh, a participant at the event. “We’ve been married for 30 years, so renewing our vows right now is quite timely.”
The retreat emphasised the importance of putting focus on one’s marriage through hands-on activities and workshops, such as ‘making your own soap’, ‘design your own sushi’, ‘learn massage techniques’ and more. Married couples were also able to send their children to the Kids Amaze Playground as they set aside time to learn about each other’s love language. They also pick up marriage tips in a workshop hosted by Mrs Joanna Koh-Hoe, CEO of the Focus on the Family Singapore.
Guest-of-Honour Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF), Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim expressed the importance of building stronger marriages in Singapore. He also shared how the Back to “I Do” campaign serves as a good reminder for couples to revisit their vows and renew their commitment to each other.
“No matter which stage we are at in our family life, it is important to spend time with our spouses to strengthen our marriage. It is never too early to start. Just because there aren’t any problems now, does not mean there won’t be any down the road. A happy, long lasting marriage does not happen by chance,” he said.
With strong support from Focus on the Family Singapore and Families for Life, the Back to “I Do” team hopes to encourage couples to consistently put effort into their marriage, particularly once the honeymoon period has ended and the reality stage sets in.
“I wish there were more of such events,” said Melody Ng, 23 years old. “It’s very rare to have an event with all-in-one activities for couples to do. This helps us to think of ideas that would help bring excitement into a relationship.”
“It was really amazing how the organizers managed to include so many couple activities in one place,” said Lim En, a navy officer who learned massage techniques with her officer husband, Sam Tan. “It definitely revitalised our relationship! My husband surprised me with a bouquet of flowers after the event.”
Couples who are looking to further strenghten their marriage may wish to join the “My Love. Our Marriage” organized by Families for Life on 19 and 20 March.
Quotes about Strengthening Marriage
“No matter which stage we are at in our family life, whether our children are young or grown up, it is good to spend time with our spouses and strengthen our marriage. Singapore is a great place for families. Together, we can create a conducive environment for all couples to start families and experience loving marriages. My Ministry is working together with community partners to offer marriage preparation and enrichment programmes at the Registry of Marriages (ROM) and in the community. We hope more couples will attend the programmes.” – Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Social and Family Development
“Marriage must be a lifelong commitment. Once you have that as your goal, you will work together with your partner to make your union succeed. You must make the effort to enjoy each other’s company through the years. Accept that no one is perfect and most of all, have mutual respect for each other. Then the years will roll out and you will treasure each other, including the differences that you have to live with.” – Er Dr Lee Bee Wah, Member of Parliament, Nee Soon GRC and Grassroots Adviser, Nee Soon GROs
“If you’ve said you’re committed to that person, then you’ll do whatever it takes to stay committed. If you accept that, you’ll find more joy in your relationship. Now that I’m committed to making this person happy, this is all I have. Make it work rather than thinking there’s someone better out there.” – Dr Leslie Tay, Award-winning Food Blogger of ieatishootipost.sg and author of ‘The End of Char Kway Teow’
“Marriage is a never ending journey of love and self discovery. In this journey, we should always learn to laugh, play and enjoy one another. It’s about drawing on each other’s strengths, delighting each other and keeping no record of each other’s wrong.” – Patrick Tay, BBM, Member of Parliament, West Coast GRC (Boon Lay Division)
“Sometimes, people fear marriage would mean the end of freedom and their sense of individuality. But it need not be. When you have found someone who cares about you and whom you care about, you will learn to build on each other’s strengths and help each other be better. Of course, in any relationship, there must always be give and take, but a union with your soul mate makes life more complete.” – Tin Pei Ling, Member of Parliament, MacPherson
About Back to “I Do”
Back to “I Do” is a campaign aimed at strengthening marital bonds among couples in their first five years of marriage. Marriage takes work. It takes time and effort to tend to the most important relationships in our lives. By working on your marriage now, you are then better equipped to overcome obstacles together in the future. For more information, please visit backtoido.org.
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