You’ve found the perfect match and you’ve set a date. You think you’ve got everything figured out, from the wedding dress, the theme, the guest list and the ceremony. But there’s one other important event which you should definitely think about including into your to-do list. It’s an important consideration which will help you to really know that you are making the right decision to get married and will also make adjusting to married life much easier. Before you get married, make the time to attend a marriage preparation course with your future spouse. 

Before we share more about marriage preparation courses, do you know that parents can also learn strategies to promote their child's emotional and psychological well-being and prevent problematic behaviour? Check out Positive Parenting Programme (Triple P) for more details.

What is a Marriage Preparation Course?

A Marriage Preparation Course is the best way for you and your future spouse to make sure that you discuss all the most important decisions, values and expectations which you must agree on before you get married. Most young couples will have discussed some important aspects of their future marriage, but it is likely that they won’t have thought through all the issues which might need to be addressed. 

A marriage preparation course allows you to benefit from the experiences of other married couples, family counsellors and coaches. It allows you and your partner to really sit down and think through, re-affirm and prepare yourselves for your marriage. 

Is it Compulsory?

In Singapore, marriage preparation is compulsory for any party that is below 21 years old.

However, many religious organisations and groups require you to complete a marriage preparation course run directly by the group itself, or through an approved, affiliate partner in order for your marriage to be spiritually recognised. 

Why is Attending One Together a Good Idea?

Even if it isn’t compulsory it’s always a good idea to attend one together. One of the best things about a marriage preparation course is that it gets you to begin building the foundations of your marriage. The better prepared you are for your future life together, the more likely you are to find peace and happiness in your marriage. 

A good marriage preparation course provides an open environment in which you can address all the issues which might affect your future marriage. This is especially important when there’s an “elephant in the room” which both of you have been avoiding. A topic which is sensitive, might be divisive and which neither of you has had the courage to bring up. Topics that might fall under this category might be “What religion will our children follow? Can I continue to work after marriage? Do we have to live with your parents after marriage? Who will control the monetary decisions in our family? I don’t want you to continue to work in your current job which requires you to travel all the time, will you change for me?”

It also allows you to benefit from the experience of family counsellors and other couples. Most courses are guided by a couple who have been married for many years. They share their experiences and listen to what you have to say. They can make it easier for you to speak about things which you not have had the confidence to bring up on your own. 

If you are about to embark on a cross-cultural marriage, there are likely to be even more areas where your expectations and cultural values may be different. If you come from a family where cross-cultural marriages are rare, then you may not have been able to benefit from the advice of friends and relatives. There are specific cross-cultural marriage preparation courses which can help you to understand what marrying into each other’s culture may mean. 

Sometimes, a couple may find in the middle of the course that they didn’t know each other as well as they thought they did. Realising this early on allows them to take things more slowly and to make the time to resolve their issues before they actually take the next step of getting married. 

What Will I Learn at a Marriage Preparation Course?

Each course varies in terms of focus and content. You should however look for a marriage preparation course which covers the following key topics: 

  • Your future responsibilities and relationship with your in-laws and family
  • Living arrangements in the short term and the long term
  • Children, do you want children? How many will you have, what are the most important values you would like to teach your children, what parenting roles do you expect your spouse to share? What will you do if you have a special needs child or if you can’t have children?
  • Your life goals and aspirations
  • Your lifestyle expectations
  • How you plan to manage your finances together
  • Communication styles and preferences
  • Conflict and problem resolution styles
  • Your social circles and if and how you might expect them to change
  • Religious and spiritual beliefs
  • Cross-cultural issues 

 

Who Offers Marriage Preparation Courses in Singapore?

Marriage preparation courses are offered by several groups. These are mainly voluntary welfare organisations, family service and private counselling centres, religious organisations, private counsellors, family coaches and therapists. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF)’s Marriage Preparation website is a good place to start as they have links to marriage preparation course providers and detailed overviews of the different types of courses which are available in Singapore. 

Prevention and Relationship Education Programme (PREP)

PREP is an evidence-based marriage and relationship education programme offered by MSF. It is designed based on over 30 years of research in US that aims to help soon-to-wed and newly-wed couples to

  • Improve communication and problem-solving skills
  • Attain higher relationship satisfaction
  • Develop better conflict resolution skills
  • Research has shown that couples who attended PREP have higher levels of positive communication and interaction and greater confidence in the future of their marriages

PREP 12-hour Workshop

Couples can also sign up for the PREP 12-hour workshop. The workshop, conducted over 2 days (weekends), provides deeper coverage on a range of topics such as communication, conflict resolution and problem-solving. Couples also have opportunities during the workshop to reflect on their relationship and learn skills to enrich their marriage. Click here for more information on this evidence-based marriage programme.

The Ministry provides couples a S$140 rebate* upon completion of the PREP 12-hour workshop. The PREP 12-hour workshop is offered by the following agencies:

Cornerstone Community Services
Contact No : 6344 8063
Email Address : info@cornerstoneservices.org.sg
Course Fee (before rebate): $350 per couple

Couples' Corner - A Service by Care Corner Counselling Centre
Contact No : 6353 1180
Email Address : cccc@carecorner.org.sg
Course Fee (before rebate): $420 per couple

Family Central - A Service by Fei Yue Community Service
Contact No : 6734 1401
Email Address : andreamarilyn@fycs.org or familycentral@fcys.org
Course Fee (before rebate): $374.50 per couple

Careworks Community Services
Contact No : 6293 4394
Email Address : ccs@cplink.org.sg
Course Fee (before rebate): $350 per couple

TOUCH Community Services Ltd
Contact No : 6709 8400
Email Address : familylife@touch.org.sg
Course Fee (before rebate): $420 per couple

*Rebate is applicable to all soon-to-wed and newly-wed couple(s) attending marriage preparation programme for the first time. Either one of the spouses must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.

Marriage Preparation Programmes in the Community

The Ministry also supports Marriage Preparation Programmes which are conducted by approved Social Service Agencies. Sign up for a Marriage Preparation Programme today and enjoy a S$70 rebate* from the Ministry. View the list of MSF approved organisations here.

For Online Marriage Preparation Programme, please view the list of MSF approved programmes here and here.

Sign up today to prepare for and build your Marriage of a Lifetime.

*Rebate is applicable to all soon-to-wed and newly-wed couple(s) attending marriage preparation programme for the first time. Either one of the spouses must be a Singapore Citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident.

Tags: Marriage Preparation /Wedding /Newlyweds