Tag Archives: wedding

Helping couples keep their vows, not just say them

Vows

We refer to the article Recent Marriages Not Standing the Test of Time (The Straits Times, April 7, 2015). It is noteworthy that recent Muslim marriages register lower divorce rates and this was seen as the result of community initiatives in marriage preparation and enrichment, as well as pre-divorce mandatory counseling for Muslim couples.

This should inspire some practical and feasible steps we can possibly take to help more soon-to-wed and married couples ensure their marriages thrive.

Continue reading

Advertisements

What No One Told Me About Sex: Tips for Newlyweds

We spent the first few days of our married life at a mountain resort. Our loft suite overlooked breathtaking views and with a crackling fireplace and plush bed linens, it was made for romance. But what happened next was far from what I had expected! When we got home from the trip, I immediately confided in my friend and mentor and purchased a book she recommended on sex for newlyweds. If I had only sought her advice before the wedding, our honeymoon could have gone a little smoother.

Here’s what I wish someone had told me about sex:

It’s not like the movies

To be honest, my expectations for the wedding night were very much shaped by what I’ve seen in the movies. Couples onscreen are always raring to jump into bed and make love all night long. In reality, a couple’s first time together can be clumsy, messy, embarrassing and for the wife, often painful. So it’s only natural that some couples come away from the wedding night feeling disappointed. Actually, sex is something that gets better with practice, rather like learning to dance with a partner. The first few times you tango, you’re bound to step on each other’s toes! Trying to “go all the way” on the wedding night may introduce feelings of pressure and anxiety, especially when you are already exhausted from the day’s events. Instead, enjoy the intimacy of kissing and caressing each other and learning what gives your spouse pleasure. Marriage experts Dr. Gary and Barbara Rosberg remind married couples “that although it’s good to work toward climax, the journey is pretty unbelievable too.”

It’s important to talk about sex

Most of us feel awkward talking about the “s” word but good communication builds sexual intimacy. Start talking about sexual expectations once you’re engaged. This lays the groundwork for open communication about sex after marriage. Tell your spouse about your preferences, what excites you and what turns you off. Sex therapists Dr. Clifford and Joyce Penner say that “expressing positive messages during sex enhances the experience for both spouses”. My husband and I have developed the habit of giving feedback soon after we make love. We are careful not to criticise but share honestly, positively and lovingly. This has helped us improve as lovers and enjoy our times together more.

It takes planning

Right after our honeymoon, my husband was called away to work out of town for two weeks – I had never missed anyone so badly! When real life takes over, so many things can interfere with romance – busy schedules, stress, conflict, TV, children, illness and so on. And when you’ve been married for a few years, it’s all too easy to let sex take a backseat to that last email you need to send or that latest TV show. We need to prioritize our marriage and intentionally make time for intimacy. Make a date to be alone with your spouse, commit to it and keep it free of interruptions.

The beauty about sex within the context of marriage is that you have a lifetime together – there is no pressure to get it right on the first night, or even in the first year!

LJ and her husband have been married 7 years and have three delightful children. They keep the romance alive by putting the children to bed early and listening to their favourite playlist of 90’s love songs.

What should we do during our first year of marriage?

At our wedding dinner, we placed little cards on the tables, each with a question about marriage/ the wedding for the guests. Some tongue in cheek, but all great advice, many from people who have been married years and years before.

I thought I’d share my top 10 favorites of two of those questions here:

What should we do during our first year of marriage?

  1. Have babies!
  2. LISTEN TO YOUR WIFE always
  3. Go on as many honeymoons/dates as possible
  4. Enjoy the time before the kids come!
  5. Make a list of things that both of you have always wanted and just do it (before you have kids)!
  6. Keep close tabs of your spending and save for rainy days
  7. Plan when to have children but do not take too long – young plants flower healthily
  8. Make each other the priority in your lives
  9. Sort out the tooth paste problem, hanger, laundry, cooking, washing…so many things to sort out but from my experience, let it be, let go of your expectations…just love each other, close one eye. Enjoy each other’s company before the babies come.
  10. Don’t sweat over small stuff!

What’s the best marriage advice you’ve ever gotten?

1.Take walks together

2.Never go to bed angry

3. Be quick to say sorry

4. Save water, shower together

5. Before you get married open your eyes wide. After you marry don’t open it too wide!

6. Talk less, listen more to each other (especially when you disagree)

7. Never stop praying for your spouse and your marriage

8. Must surprise your honey every now and then

9. Give and take

10. God first in all.

What about you? Do you have any marriage advice you’ve received, or even learnt in your own lives, that you’d like to share? 🙂

Not just a formality

 

Whether you wrote your own vows, or read it from a certain ‘template’ given,

something life-changing when you speak it aloud to that special person you are marrying.

I first said mine last month at the altar, in a hall full of witnesses. And that seems to have changed my life.

My husband and I both decided to write our own vows because we thought it would mean more to us that way. Not that we departed from the essence of the traditional vows, we just said some things in our own words.

It was when I was memorizing and reciting the vows that it really dawned on me what I was next stepping into. The moment it was spoken aloud, I had become someone’s wife. That’s different than being a girlfriend who enjoys all the perks of being pursued, or even a fiancé who gets to choose the kind of lace to be sewn on the wedding gown. This time, I made a vow.

In the days after the wedding, when little idiosyncrasies were about to bother me, what I said came back to me again – to love you and honor you. When things didn’t go as planned, again I was reminded by my words – to be your strongest supporter.

I have to say that it hasn’t always come naturally, although I wish it does. In the midst of learning so much more about each other on this new journey called Marriage, I want to place little reminders to myself about what I have promised. Even if I haven’t been all that, I know I can try again, and that’s the beautiful thing about marriage – you have the rest of your lives to keep working that out. 

Whether you are going through a rough patch or floating on cloud nine, it won’t hurt to remember and revisit that moment when you decided to commit yourself to that special someone for the rest of your life.

 I, take you, to be my husband. From this moment on, I promise to love you and honor you with all that I am, to be the help that God has made me to be, to respect you and submit to you as the head of our family, to be your strongest supporter, to encourage you and comfort you, in the good times and bad times, for richer or for poorer, in sickness and in health, forsaking all others, I will be faithful to you, until death do we part. This is my solemn vow.

Hen’s party

My girlfriends threw me a Hen’s party last weekend. I was blindfolded and ‘abducted’ to a nice hotel suite. It was such a splendid time spent with these friends as they prepared me for the next phase in life – marriage.

When they removed my blindfold, I was surrounded by my friends whom I’ve known for decades, some I’ve known better in the recent years. I was adorned with a tiara, a sash, with a wand in my left hand, and a helium balloon in my right. I was told that I was the ‘princess for the day’, and I didn’t have to lift a finger to do anything – if I’ll do as they say.

We spent the afternoon dipping in the pool and I was educated about how to prepare for the wedding night, and laughed and giggled in girly ways. We then proceeded to a yummy Peranakan dinner and the girls were quizzed on how well they knew the bride. We even had a sing-along session in our room and belted out Disney love songs, which up till now, were only heard in the shower.

But the best part was the time of affirmation we had. With a number of couples getting married in our youth group this year, we’ve seen an emerging tradition where the close friends of the bride-to-be get together to tell her the good things they see in her and the soon-to-be-wed couple.

So that night we all sat around and my friends shared about the strengths they’ve seen in me and in the relationship with my husband-to-be. They showed their appreciation of the friendships that I share with them; they affirmed how we can make a bigger difference in our society as a couple. There were tears, there were hugs, and I got to make each girlfriend wear the tiara and wave the wand when it was their turn to share. The time spent was so precious to me, and if there was a “Courage Tank” in us, it was definitely filled to the brim that night ! It made me so hopeful and encouraged about this huge step I am about to make. I am so privileged to have such a moment, and I am so thankful for these beautiful women in my life, whom I know will celebrate in good times as well as be there for me, when married life gets tough.

A Hen’s party can actually be so meaningful and make a huge difference in the life of the bride-to-be. Attended a Hen’s party lately? Tell me what you did!