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Mon, Jan 18, 2010
Urban, The Straits Times
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Ways to safeguard your marriage

Don't wait till your marriage is on the rocks. Here are some intentional ways to improve your relationship with your spouse.

- Set aside at least 20 minutes daily to communicate with your spouse on a deeper level.

Start by sharing one meaningful thought, such as what made you happy today.

You can talk about anything except three things: money, children and work.

- Share a hobby so you can spend more time together.

- Never criticise or belittle your partner but affirm each other.

Look for little things that your spouse does well, such as cooking a tasty meal or coaching the kids, and compliment her.

- Let your other half know that you trust him or her.

Just as adolescents are told that they have gained trust from their parents, it is encouraging to hear from a loved one that she trusts you.

This also reinforces that a spouse will need to take full responsibility for breaking that trust.

- Meet each other’s emotional, physical and psychological needs.

Touch your spouse at least once a day.

Identify your partner’s most important emotional needs by writing five of them down in order of priority and exchanging them to understand each other’s needs better.

Tips from the following experts:

- Veronica Nathan, senior counsellor at St Andrew’s Lifestreams

- Dr Brian Yeo, consultant psychiatrist at Mt Elizabeth Medical Centre

- Dr Adrian Wang, consultant psychiatrist at Gleneagles Medical Centre

- Dr Lee Cheng, senior consultant psychiatrist at Institute of Mental Health


Here are some websites to help couples with marital problems:


Couples can seek advice from a counsellor online.

They can also ask to see a marriage counsellor at one of 36 family service centres funded by the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports.

Each hourly session costs $20.


St Andrew’s Lifestreams, a community service arm under the St. Andrew's Mission Hospital, has two trained and experienced marriage counsellors.

Fees for a counselling session range from $50 to $100.


This website offers a weekend stay-in programme run by an affiliate of the Family Life Society under the Archdiocese of Singapore.

Choose from three weekends in a year.

The cost of the programme is $250 per weekend per couple, excluding a registration fee of $50.

This article was first published in Urban, The Straits Times.

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