SINGAPORE: Resource centre Marriage Central will help more couples set aside "pockets of time" for each other to strengthen their marriage bond.
It made this a key strategy for the year, after a survey it conducted in 2012 found that 8 in 10 respondents value "couple time".
According to Marriage Central, commitment is key to making a lasting marriage.
However, it says there have been some misconceptions about marriage.
Chairperson of the Marriage Central Advisory Board, Anita Fam, said: "We tend to think that once we’re married, that’s good, we’ve made it. But honestly, that’s the very beginning of a journey.
"If you look at the various things around us —— computers, fridges, cars —— nothing is built to last. So we have that mindset —— if it doesn’t work, let’s just toss it and change it for a new one. But marriage isn’t like that.
"We need to make sure that even though the consumer goods around us aren’t built to last, marriage is one of those things that’s meant to last. So if there are hiccups, we shouldn’t give up so easily."
According to Marriage Central, other concerns include new sources of fulfilment, like computers, work and even children, as well as unreasonable marriage expectations.
So Marriage Central is keen to change these mindsets and behaviours.
One key strategy is to help more married couples set aside "couple time", something that married couples say is a challenge at times.
Nine in 10 felt that regular dates with their spouse would help strengthen their marriage, according to Marriage Central’s survey of 1,000 respondents.
However, only half of the respondents had done such activities in the last two years.
The survey was conducted between May and June 2012 to assess general attitudes towards marriage as well as awareness of Marriage Central and its activities.
Elaine Seah, who has been married for 10 years, says couples need to be mindful not to be preoccupied with other priorities.
She said: "Work is number one, especially people with families, they have children to take care of, the children take priority. So the couple may have no time, and even if they have some time left, they may be too tired after taking care of their family."
So to help more carve out "couple time", one of the key initiatives of Marriage Central’s work plans is its annual Real Love Works celebrations.
For those who are too stretched for time, one booth, the Real Love Concierge, allows a person to request a gift for their loved ones.
This year, it is targeting office workers with its first concierge service at the malls and office buildings. Anyone can visit the phone booth to request a surprise for their spouse or partner.
So whether it is sending a bouquet of flowers or a spa treatment, as long as one’s wish is below S$30, it just might be fulfilled if one is selected.
And some, like David Liew, like the idea.
"It’s fun. It gives a chance for husband and wife to express some special request for their loved ones," said Liew who has been married for 15 years and has two children.
Fifty winners will be selected. The booth will be at different shopping malls and office buildings from now till 23 March.
The Real Love Works celebrations will kick—off with a Marriage Convention from 15 to 17 March. Local and foreign marriage experts will share their tips with some 3,000 participants.
Marriage Central also plans to continue to roll out more community—based programmes with partners, including organisations like the People’s Association and voluntary welfare organisations.
The centre also plans to unveil its new website at the end of March, with new features like video clips and podcasts to provide easy access to marriage resources for busy couples on the go.
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