Marriage Discovery Workshop

Stay tuned for our pilot Marriage Discovery Workshop 2024!

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

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop

ABOUT

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop aims to help couples address issues that they may face as newlyweds, build a solid foundation in the early years and learn how to really love each other — for life!

WORKSHOP DETAILS

Session 1: 7 Nov 2024 (Thu), 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
From This Day Forth – Laying the foundation for a strong marriage

Session 2: 14 Nov 2024 (Thu), 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
For Better Or Worse – Working through differences to become one

Session 3: 23 Nov 2024 (Sat), 9:30am – 12:30pm, in-person at the Focus Singapore office
Till Death Do Us Part – Ensuring love for a lifetime

Who should attend:
1.
Couples who are considering marriage
2.
Couples who are engaged
3.
Couples in their first year of marriage

Fee: $380 per couple

The fee is inclusive of:

  • $70 rebate* upon completion of the workshop
  • Marriage resources
  • Participants’ workbooks
  • Couple Checkup™ – An online relationship assessment (find out more)
  • An English-speaking licensed solemniser (if required)

Please note that the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) requires the following for the $70 rebate:

  1. Full attendance at the workshop
  2. Both parties must be above 21 years old
  3. One or both parties must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident

*Please note that the rebate may take an estimated 2 to 3 months to be processed.

For more information on the mandatory Early Marriage Support Programme for minor couples, please refer to the MSF website.

Withdrawal Policy

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Nam Seng and Sok Mian

Sharing the same passion in equipping couples towards their journey of Marriage, Nam Seng & Sok Mian have been conducting Connect2 workshop with Focus on the Family Singapore for more than 14 years together.

They have been happily married for 28 years, and parents to 2 grown up daughters. They strongly believe that respect, honour and faith are the 3 values integral in developing every individual to achieve their fullest potential and pursue their dreams.

What to expect

  • Understand what love, marriage and your vows symbolise
  • Identify each other's differences and love languages — how to engage in effective communication
  • Manage healthy conflict and have a good grasp on your family finances
  • Understand sexual intimacy, the importance of romance and family planning
  • Learn how to manage expectations from your spouse, children, in-laws while balancing work-life

Format

  • Facilitated by a trained husband-wife couple
  • Insightful & practical tips
  • Group discussions (6-10 couples)
  • Activities for individual couples

Ready to register?

Do remember to mark your calendars for all 3 sessions of the workshop!

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 this workshop

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Our curriculum is based on universal values that are applicable and essential to helping marriages thrive, regardless of participants’ religious background.

Our participants have shared that they particularly enjoy the interactive and experiential style of learning we offer at our sessions. They also value the practical tips shared which they feel can be readily and easily implemented. Participants also appreciate the opportunities given to them during the sessions to have deep and honest discussions about topics that are not usually raised in usual conversations that couples have prior to marriage.

The shifting of roles in marriage will be addressed in the group marriage preparation programme through activities and discussions. Each couple will be given opportunities to discuss and align expectations that they have towards each other regarding parenting responsibilities, distribution of household chores, management of the household budget and a myriad of other issues that will help them establish a firm foundation in order for their marriage and family to thrive.

To ensure positive workshop dynamics especially during the group discussions and activities, there will be a minimum of 6 couples each workshop, and a maximum of 10.

We do not advise this. The programme is effective only if a couple attends the session together.

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Indicate Your Interest Below!

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop

ABOUT

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop aims to help couples address issues that they may face as newlyweds, build a solid foundation in the early years and learn how to really love each other — for life!

WORKSHOP DETAILS

Session 1: 12 Sep 2024 (Thu), 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
From This Day Forth – Laying the foundation for a strong marriage

Session 2: 19 Sep 2024 (Thu), 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
For Better Or Worse – Working through differences to become one

Session 3: 28 Sep 2024 (Sat), 9:30am – 12:30pm, in-person at the Focus Singapore office
Till Death Do Us Part – Ensuring love for a lifetime

Who should attend:
1.
Couples who are considering marriage
2.
Couples who are engaged
3.
Couples in their first year of marriage

Fee: $380 per couple

The fee is inclusive of:

  • $70 rebate* upon completion of the workshop
  • Marriage resources
  • Participants’ workbooks
  • Couple Checkup™ – An online relationship assessment (find out more)
  • An English-speaking licensed solemniser (if required)

Please note that the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) requires the following for the $70 rebate:

  1. Full attendance at the workshop
  2. Both parties must be above 21 years old
  3. One or both parties must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident

*Please note that the rebate may take an estimated 2 to 3 months to be processed.

For more information on the mandatory Early Marriage Support Programme for minor couples, please refer to the MSF website.

Withdrawal Policy

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Jason and Shelen

Jason and Shelen have a strong passion for strengthening marriages and enriching families. They have been speaking and training in the areas of dating, marriage, and parenting, and have been interviewed on radio and TV on these subjects. Jason and Shelen are both accredited in the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis as well as the PREPARE/ENRICH assessments, and are committed to helping couples build a life-long marriage. Coupled with their bubbly personality and outgoing nature, they are a pair of engaging and dynamic speakers from Focus on the Family.   

What to expect

  • Understand what love, marriage and your vows symbolise
  • Identify each other's differences and love languages — how to engage in effective communication
  • Manage healthy conflict and have a good grasp on your family finances
  • Understand sexual intimacy, the importance of romance and family planning
  • Learn how to manage expectations from your spouse, children, in-laws while balancing work-life

Format

  • Facilitated by a trained husband-wife couple
  • Insightful & practical tips
  • Group discussions (6-10 couples)
  • Activities for individual couples

Ready to register?

Do remember to mark your calendars for all 3 sessions of the workshop!

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 this workshop

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Our curriculum is based on universal values that are applicable and essential to helping marriages thrive, regardless of participants’ religious background.

Our participants have shared that they particularly enjoy the interactive and experiential style of learning we offer at our sessions. They also value the practical tips shared which they feel can be readily and easily implemented. Participants also appreciate the opportunities given to them during the sessions to have deep and honest discussions about topics that are not usually raised in usual conversations that couples have prior to marriage.

The shifting of roles in marriage will be addressed in the group marriage preparation programme through activities and discussions. Each couple will be given opportunities to discuss and align expectations that they have towards each other regarding parenting responsibilities, distribution of household chores, management of the household budget and a myriad of other issues that will help them establish a firm foundation in order for their marriage and family to thrive.

To ensure positive workshop dynamics especially during the group discussions and activities, there will be a minimum of 6 couples each workshop, and a maximum of 10.

We do not advise this. The programme is effective only if a couple attends the session together.

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Register Now

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop

ABOUT

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop aims to help couples address issues that they may face as newlyweds, build a solid foundation in the early years and learn how to really love each other — for life!

WORKSHOP DETAILS

Session 1: 11 Jul 2024 (Thu), 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
From This Day Forth – Laying the foundation for a strong marriage

Session 2: 18 Jul 2024 (Thu), 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
For Better Or Worse – Working through differences to become one

Session 3: 27 Jul 2024 (Sat), 9:30am – 12:30pm, in-person at the Focus Singapore office
Till Death Do Us Part – Ensuring love for a lifetime

Who should attend:
1.
Couples who are considering marriage
2.
Couples who are engaged
3.
Couples in their first year of marriage

Fee: $380 per couple

The fee is inclusive of:

  • $70 rebate* upon completion of the workshop
  • Marriage resources
  • Participants’ workbooks
  • Couple Checkup™ – An online relationship assessment (find out more)
  • An English-speaking licensed solemniser (if required)

Please note that the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) requires the following for the $70 rebate:

  1. Full attendance at the workshop
  2. Both parties must be above 21 years old
  3. One or both parties must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident

*Please note that the rebate may take an estimated 2 to 3 months to be processed.

For more information on the mandatory Early Marriage Support Programme for minor couples, please refer to the MSF website.

Withdrawal Policy

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

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.

What to expect

  • Understand what love, marriage and your vows symbolise
  • Identify each other's differences and love languages — how to engage in effective communication
  • Manage healthy conflict and have a good grasp on your family finances
  • Understand sexual intimacy, the importance of romance and family planning
  • Learn how to manage expectations from your spouse, children, in-laws while balancing work-life

Format

  • Facilitated by a trained husband-wife couple
  • Insightful & practical tips
  • Group discussions (6-10 couples)
  • Activities for individual couples

Ready to register?

Do remember to mark your calendars for all 3 sessions of the workshop!

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 this workshop

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Our curriculum is based on universal values that are applicable and essential to helping marriages thrive, regardless of participants’ religious background.

Our participants have shared that they particularly enjoy the interactive and experiential style of learning we offer at our sessions. They also value the practical tips shared which they feel can be readily and easily implemented. Participants also appreciate the opportunities given to them during the sessions to have deep and honest discussions about topics that are not usually raised in usual conversations that couples have prior to marriage.

The shifting of roles in marriage will be addressed in the group marriage preparation programme through activities and discussions. Each couple will be given opportunities to discuss and align expectations that they have towards each other regarding parenting responsibilities, distribution of household chores, management of the household budget and a myriad of other issues that will help them establish a firm foundation in order for their marriage and family to thrive.

To ensure positive workshop dynamics especially during the group discussions and activities, there will be a minimum of 6 couples each workshop, and a maximum of 10.

We do not advise this. The programme is effective only if a couple attends the session together.

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Register Now

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop

ABOUT

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop aims to help couples address issues that they may face as newlyweds, build a solid foundation in the early years and learn how to really love each other — for life!

WORKSHOP DETAILS

Session 1: 9 May 2024 (Thu), 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
From This Day Forth – Laying the foundation for a strong marriage

Session 2: 16 May 2024 (Thu), 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
For Better Or Worse – Working through differences to become one

Session 3: 25 May 2024 (Sat), 9:30am – 12:30pm, in-person at the Focus Singapore office
Till Death Do Us Part – Ensuring love for a lifetime

Who should attend:
1.
Couples who are considering marriage
2.
Couples who are engaged
3.
Couples in their first year of marriage

Fee: $380 per couple

The fee is inclusive of:

  • $70 rebate* upon completion of the workshop
  • Marriage resources
  • Participants’ workbooks
  • Couple Checkup™ – An online relationship assessment (find out more)
  • An English-speaking licensed solemniser (if required)

Please note that the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) requires the following for the $70 rebate:

  1. Full attendance at the workshop
  2. Both parties must be above 21 years old
  3. One or both parties must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident

*Please note that the rebate may take an estimated 2 to 3 months to be processed.

For more information on the mandatory Early Marriage Support Programme for minor couples, please refer to the MSF website.

Withdrawal Policy

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Jason and Shelen

Jason and Shelen have a strong passion for strengthening marriages and enriching families. They have been speaking and training in the areas of dating, marriage, and parenting, and have been interviewed on radio and TV on these subjects. Jason and Shelen are both accredited in the Taylor-Johnson Temperament Analysis as well as the PREPARE/ENRICH assessments, and are committed to helping couples build a life-long marriage. Coupled with their bubbly personality and outgoing nature, they are a pair of engaging and dynamic speakers from Focus on the Family.   

What to expect

  • Understand what love, marriage and your vows symbolise
  • Identify each other's differences and love languages — how to engage in effective communication
  • Manage healthy conflict and have a good grasp on your family finances
  • Understand sexual intimacy, the importance of romance and family planning
  • Learn how to manage expectations from your spouse, children, in-laws while balancing work-life

Format

  • Facilitated by a trained husband-wife couple
  • Insightful & practical tips
  • Group discussions (6-10 couples)
  • Activities for individual couples

Ready to register?

Do remember to mark your calendars for all 3 sessions of the workshop!

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 this workshop

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Our curriculum is based on universal values that are applicable and essential to helping marriages thrive, regardless of participants’ religious background.

Our participants have shared that they particularly enjoy the interactive and experiential style of learning we offer at our sessions. They also value the practical tips shared which they feel can be readily and easily implemented. Participants also appreciate the opportunities given to them during the sessions to have deep and honest discussions about topics that are not usually raised in usual conversations that couples have prior to marriage.

The shifting of roles in marriage will be addressed in the group marriage preparation programme through activities and discussions. Each couple will be given opportunities to discuss and align expectations that they have towards each other regarding parenting responsibilities, distribution of household chores, management of the household budget and a myriad of other issues that will help them establish a firm foundation in order for their marriage and family to thrive.

To ensure positive workshop dynamics especially during the group discussions and activities, there will be a minimum of 6 couples each workshop, and a maximum of 10.

We do not advise this. The programme is effective only if a couple attends the session together.

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Register Now

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop

ABOUT

Connect2 Marriage Preparation Workshop aims to help couples address issues that they may face as newlyweds, build a solid foundation in the early years and learn how to really love each other — for life!

WORKSHOP DETAILS

Session 1: Thursday, 11 Apr 2024 , 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
From This Day Forth – Laying the foundation for a strong marriage

Session 2: Thursday, 18 Apr 2024, 7:00pm – 9:30pm, online on Zoom
For Better Or Worse – Working through differences to become one

Session 3: Saturday, 27 Apr 2024, 9:30am – 12:30pm, in-person at the Focus Singapore office
Till Death Do Us Part – Ensuring love for a lifetime

Who should attend:
1.
Couples who are considering marriage
2.
Couples who are engaged
3.
Couples in their first year of marriage

Fee: $380 per couple

The fee is inclusive of:

  • $70 rebate* upon completion of the workshop
  • Marriage resources
  • Participants’ workbooks
  • Couple Checkup™ – An online relationship assessment (find out more)
  • An English-speaking licensed solemniser (if required)

Please note that the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) requires the following for the $70 rebate:

  1. Full attendance at the workshop
  2. Both parties must be above 21 years old
  3. One or both parties must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident

*Please note that the rebate may take an estimated 2 to 3 months to be processed.

For more information on the mandatory Early Marriage Support Programme for minor couples, please refer to the MSF website.

Withdrawal Policy

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Frankie and Tina

Frankie & Tina have been married since 2001 and are passionate about supporting young couples in establishing a positive and flourishing marriage. They have been mentoring young people and young couples for more than 10 years. They also believe in supporting men and women in their personal journey of identity and personhood. 

What to expect

  • Understand what love, marriage and your vows symbolise
  • Identify each other's differences and love languages — how to engage in effective communication
  • Manage healthy conflict and have a good grasp on your family finances
  • Understand sexual intimacy, the importance of romance and family planning
  • Learn how to manage expectations from your spouse, children, in-laws while balancing work-life

Format

  • Facilitated by a trained husband-wife couple
  • Insightful & practical tips
  • Group discussions (6-10 couples)
  • Activities for individual couples

Ready to Connect?

Remember to mark your calendars for all 3 sessions of the workshop!

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

Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? We’re here to help.

Our curriculum is based on universal values that are applicable and essential to helping marriages thrive, regardless of participants’ religious background.

Our participants have shared that they particularly enjoy the interactive and experiential style of learning we offer at our sessions. They also value the practical tips shared which they feel can be readily and easily implemented. Participants also appreciate the opportunities given to them during the sessions to have deep and honest discussions about topics that are not usually raised in usual conversations that couples have prior to marriage.

The shifting of roles in marriage will be addressed in the group marriage preparation programme through activities and discussions. Each couple will be given opportunities to discuss and align expectations that they have towards each other regarding parenting responsibilities, distribution of household chores, management of the household budget and a myriad of other issues that will help them establish a firm foundation in order for their marriage and family to thrive.

To ensure positive workshop dynamics especially during the group discussions and activities, there will be a minimum of 6 couples each workshop, and a maximum of 10.

We do not advise this. The programme is effective only if a couple attends the session together.

There will be no refunds for cancellations or no-shows upon confirmation of registration. Request for transfer of registration to another workshop/date must be communicated via email at least 5 working days before workshop start date.

Impact Stories

Here are what some participants had to say after attending this workshop

Register Now

Connect2 Podcast

Candid conversations about relationships and marriage

Connect2 Podcast

ABOUT

Married life can be filled with twists and turns, especially with the day-to-day priorities, and stresses in life, including the times we run into conflict with our spouse.

No matter the state of your relationship today, we want to help your marriage thrive.

Join us as we figure out life and love together, and go deep into the conversations and questions (often unspoken) about the toughest topics on connection, intimacy and lifelong love.

While there are no perfect marriages, there is always room to grow to be the best spouse we can be. With practical tips, a whole lot of vulnerability and even a dose of humour, we hope that these episodes will provide hope and encouragement for your marriage.

Thank you for listening!

If you have enjoyed listening to the Connect2 Podcast, please leave us a rating and review on Spotify or Apple Podcasts. It'll be very helpful for others to find our podcast. 

You can also support us by giving monthly. We appreciate your generous giving as every dollar helps to sustain our efforts in producing content and resources to strengthen families.

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

State of the Family 2024

Empower Emerging Families
 

In light of recent policy changes and various national conversations on Family and its values, there is an urgent need to sow the seeds of healthy identity and family aspirations to strengthen Emerging Families.

Who makes up Emerging Families? These are young families (i.e. parents with young children), young adults and youths who are in the process of forming attitudes and aspirations about dating, marriage, and their future families.

At this upcoming State of the Family (SOTF), we seek to dive deeper into trends and national conversations that affect Emerging Families, and explore ways that we can come together to shape the relationships in the next generation. We will also be unveiling findings from a local research on the impact of fatherhood involvement and marital strength on the family aspirations of the next generation.

SOTF 2024 aims to shine the spotlight on the Emerging Family:

1. Connect the dots on how the state of current marriages and families shapes the desirability of marriage and future of families that would emerge from our children and youth.
 
2. Discuss how the child’s first relationship with their father/mother shapes their understanding of gender roles and masculinity/femininity, and how these impact identity formation, interpersonal relationships and marriage. 
 
3. Better understand the aspirations of youths for their future families, considering shifting priorities and the dwindling importance placed on having children.
 

Details

DATE: 21 February 2024, Wednesday

TIME: 7.00pm - 9.30pm

VENUE: Capitol Theatre

17 Stamford Rd, Singapore 178907

GUEST-OF-HONOUR

Mr. Masagos Zulkifli
Minister for Social and Family Development
Second Minister for Health
Minister-in-Charge of Muslim Affairs

PANEL HOST


Ms. Delia Ng
CEO
Focus on the Family Singapore

PANELLISTS


Mr. Nicholas Gabriel Lim

Head, Graduate Diploma in Youth Work and Professional Life Coaching Programmes, SUSS


Mrs. Judith Xavier

Working Mum of 
Two Teenagers


Mr. Luke Ong
Undergraduate in Social Sciences,

Youth Advocate

WHAT TO EXPECT


 Connect
 


With like-minded
Family Champions

 


Engage


 Robust discussions as we
unpack national trends and conversations


Discover


 Opportunities to collaborate
and strengthen 
family
relationships

SPONSORS

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

This event is by invitation only. We welcome like-minded Family Champions to register.
The Organiser may contact you to verify your registration details, before confirming your registration. 

No event fees are required but a love gift is always appreciated to help defray the costs of the event. 

As this is a by-invitation-only event, recordings of the session will not be made available. Please mark the date in your calendar to not miss this event.

We encourage you to make all necessary arrangements to be able to attend the event after you have signed up. An event reminder will be sent to you closer to the date.

Should you be unable to attend the event after signing up, please let us know by contacting us at Chelsea.Cheng@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 any changes. 

REGISTRATION FOR THE EVENT HAS ENDED

For any further enquiries, please contact us at Chelsea.Cheng@family.org.sg.

Managing Change As A Couple, After Baby Arrives

I remember the day when my wife and I discovered that we were going to have a child. It was a whirlwind of emotions for us. After all, we had been longing for a baby for such a long time, so when the news came, we almost couldn’t believe it.  

The day finally arrived. Baby came, and our lives changed forever.  

Before baby arrived, we had our time and space as individuals and as a couple. But once our first child arrived, it seemed to be one amorphous blending of day and night, especially given baby’s erratic feeding cycle, which continued regardless of whether we were awake or asleep.  

The arrival of a child is a major change in the life of every couple. There is an exponential increase in the things that need to be done around the house. From preparing for the feeding needs of the child to taking care of clothing and diapering. On top of this, the regular office work and household chores do not decrease. What’s worse is that leaving one area of the household unmanaged could snowball into other areas of life very quickly.  

Many couples have highlighted sleeplessness as another major factor affecting their physical and emotional wellbeing during the early weeks. Disrupted sleep leads to tiredness and crankiness between husband and wife, which could increase spousal tension, especially due to differing expectations on how the workload in the home should be shared.  

And then there is marital intimacy, or lack thereof. A decreased desire for sex is a common experience, and this could have a negative impact on the closeness felt by both husband and wife.  

Disrupted sleep leads to tiredness and crankiness between husband and wife, which could increase spousal tension. 

Transitions and change

The arrival of a child is a huge transition. For the marriage to withstand the challenges, you may need to process the transition well.  

What does this mean? According to author William Bridges, a transition is an inner psychological process that people go through as they come to terms with the changes they are going through. Bridges highlighted three stages in his transition model – Endings, Neutral Zone and New Beginnings.  

Endings is when people come to terms that their situation has been changed forever. This encompasses aspects of grief and loss, and individuals need to accept that the status quo they had been used to is now gone. In the arrival of a baby, both husband and wife need to realise that their situation has changed, and the family now has to incorporate the routines of the child.  

The neutral zone, which is the second stage, is an in-between period when there is a need to recalibrate, especially since the old has gone and the new isn’t quite established yet. There is a need to reconsider old ways of doing things and develop new strategies to manage the changes that have occurred.  

The third stage of the transition process is one of new beginnings. It involves new understandings, which is associated with a shift in values and attitudes. This in turn sparks a new release of energy, and individuals then operate with fresh perspectives, managing their new roles with more confidence and security.  

For the couple with a new baby, this is often accompanied by a new sense of purpose and they are propelled in a direction that they have never experienced before. This stage is also marked by new norms and traditions. 

The key to dealing with a newborn is to accept that life as you know it has changed forever. 

Managing change 

I remember our first year as parents. We seemed to be always tired, always running around in circles, and feeling like headless chickens, not knowing what we were doing from one moment to the next. There were, however, two things that helped us during that difficult time. 

  • Embrace the changes 

The key to dealing with a newborn is to accept that life as you know it has changed forever. You need to mourn the loss of your childless existence and recalibrate your life as a couple, coming to terms with your new status as parents.  

For us, it took acknowledging that we would never be able to go out again without a diaper bag and a whole inventory of baby accessories. This also meant that unless we made prior arrangements, our baby would follow us wherever we went. It also meant adjustments to our social life so that we could allow our child to have an early night. 

  • Don’t forget your spouse 

In the hustle and bustle of a child’s arrival, it is not uncommon to neglect tending to the wellbeing of your spouse. And while it is important to reorientate your life to cater to the needs of your child, it is also crucial to care for your spouse.  

For men, this means expressing love to your wife in a way that she would understand, in accordance to her love language. For us, this included taking the early feed before I went to work, so that my wife could sleep in a little later after caring for our child during the various night feeds. It also meant shouldering more of the household chores.  

As for women, loving your spouse could mean acknowledging the important role he plays in maintaining the financial integrity of the household. It could also mean showing love to him in his love language, and making the effort to have some regular couple time. 

A new normal 

The tumultuous days after the arrival of a child will not last forever, but as you continue to love each other, and embrace your new roles as parents, the early days of parenthood while challenging can also strengthen your marriage.  

For it’s not how much you do as parents that matters, but it’s how much you choose to love that keeps the family together. 

What Changed My Mind About Having Kids

“The most we’ll have is one child, and if not, none. It’s just too expensive to have kids in Singapore.” 

In this day and age, it is common to hear such a narrative. Increasingly more youth and young adults are either indifferent towards having a child or do not want a child. A primary reason is having to deal with the high costs of living in Singapore.  

Parenting also involves a significant investment of time and energy. It is little wonder then that fewer married couples find it desirable to have children today.  

What struck me about the words above was that they were spoken to me by a family member who loves children. Although he and his girlfriend enjoyed being around kids, they felt it was too costly to have their own. This got me thinking: If even people who love kids aren’t keen on becoming parents, why would anyone still want to have children today?  

The real costs to raising children 

Many people whom I’ve met have the impression that I’m a “family man” through and through. While it is true that I am passionate about family life today, it was not always so!  

Growing up, I could not understand why anyone would invest so much of their lives in their children only to have so many outcomes beyond their control. I even used to wonder why people would congratulate parents on the arrival of a new baby! 

Now as a father myself, I can appreciate the sacrifices that parents make to give their best to their children. Before my son was born, I had invested much of my time in martial arts. I had the ambition of becoming an instructor, a goal that seemed attainable given my passion and dedication to the art.  

But as the date of my son’s birth drew near, I grappled with the fact that commitment to martial arts would mean being away from my family quite often. Even my attention at home would be compromised as I had to spend time practising when away from the gym.  

After months of deliberation, I ceased my gym membership. I tried switching to other martial arts with a lower time commitment, but a few weeks in, I realised that my family would still feel my absence at home. I decided it was best that I quit the hobby altogether for my family’s sake, though I did so with a heavy heart.  

This is just one example of the many choices parents make at their own expense to give their best to their children. Indeed, the costs involved in raising a child are very real. 

Children are our best teachers, and they remind us that there is so much of the world around us to explore and enjoy.  

But there are also real joys   

If the cost is so high, what then could have convinced me to cross over to this side of the fence? 

My turning point came during an encounter with a neighbour several years ago. This next-door neighbour was very young, no more than two years old at the time. That afternoon, I was re-entering the house after disposing trash in the common chute when he peeked out of his gate, curious to see what I was doing.  

I smiled and gave a little wave. Just before I shut the door however, he gave me a big smile in return. It was the first time I had experienced such a moment of connection with a child. I’d never thought of myself as child-friendly before, so I was surprised the boy wanted to interact with me at all. Though the interaction was fleeting, the pure joy of being greeted by his smile softened my perspectives towards children. 

As the years went by, and with more interactions with other children, I slowly began to understand the joy of being with kids.  

For me, parenthood takes this joy to a deeper level. When I became a father, I was awestruck by the miracle in my arms as I observed the movements of my son’s tiny chest and his peacefulness as he slept safely in my embrace. 

Fast forward a few years, and I’ve now experienced tossing a ball and running freely in the park with him, and I realise these moments of fun and discovery with our children provide a sense of respite from the toils and complexities of our grown-up world.  

Raising my own kids has opened my eyes to the meaning of life and the joy of family. And I feel so privileged to be able to carve a strong and precious bond with my children in their early years, a bond that will hopefully anchor our family through every season of life.   

Children are our best teachers, and they remind us that there is so much of the world around us to explore and enjoy.  

How do you value children or count the joys they bring through their adorable smiles, hearty laughter, and pure wonder? 

The true value of children 

It is hard to put a price tag on children; after all, how do you value children or count the joys they bring through their adorable smiles, hearty laughter, and pure wonder? 

On the flip side, because we live in such a pragmatic society, it is easy to calculate the costs of raising a child. 

The truth is, having children is not a fully rational decision you make. We can budget and count the cost beforehand, but we will never be able to comprehend or behold the joys until we get there. 

As parents, our desires and hopes are often very simple. Ask any parent what they desire most for their child, and the likely answer you’ll get is: “For them to grow up happy, healthy and strong.” Few would say, “I hope they will become the next CEO of a multi-million dollar company.”  

And yes, while there are day-to-day challenges to overcome, I think my biggest takeaway as a father is that my children open my eyes to the joys of life, and anchor me to the present moment. And the love we share helps me find the strength to tackle the challenges of tomorrow.  

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