After 29 years of marriage, Ms Sim Siew Moon (aka Mrs Nicole Chung) is happily married to Mr Solomon Chung with 5 children. A member of the Families for Life Council and a tax partner at Ernst & Young Solutions LLP, Mrs Chung shares with us her thoughts and secrets to long and happy marriages.

Mrs Chung believes that the key to a lasting relationship is commitment and communication which requires both parties to invest time and effort. But this does not require much time or resources as long as couples make the conscious decision to connect with one another.

She cited the example of offering a listening ear to your spouse, especially when he or she is having a bad day at home or at work and needs to rant. “By being present and giving your attention, we help them feel supported, especially during their time of need,” says Mrs Chung. ”This helps us to connect with our spouse.”

Small gestures such as a simple message, ‘I’m thinking of you’ or ‘I love you’ will also give your spouse the emotional fuel to power through the long day at work and go a long way to building strong marriages. Mrs Chung stressed, “Do not underestimate the power of the words “thank you” when your spouse does something nice for you.”

Make the Conscious Effort

On making marriages work, Mrs Chung does not believe in “leaving it to chance”. She stressed that couples need to take ownership and make the effort to pick up the knowledge to navigate through married life.

For a marriage to last, couples need to show their dedication to devote time and energy in their spouse. Through thick and thin, couples show their commitment and support for one another.

Everyone wants to feel appreciated and valued, no matter how long you have been married, be it for two years or twenty years. Couples should learn how to make their significant other feel special. For example, they could celebrate their wedding anniversary by renewing their marriage vows, re-committing to their marriage and to their spouse.

Communication is Key

Inevitably, it is natural to have disagreements in your marriage but this helps you grow as a couple as well as an individual. Disagreements between couples often arise mainly due to either one not meeting the expectations of the other.

Hence, clear communications, especially on expectations of one another, is the other key factor in making your marriage work. Clear communications should include being transparent on your thoughts and opinions about married life and goals. Sharing about your lifelong dreams and future plans help you to plan better and to achieve such goals as a couple.

When there are disagreements, Mrs Chung advises, “Speak out your thoughts but it is also important to take a step back and listen to your spouse, and decide together on what can to be done to resolve the conflict.”

Set Aside Couple Time

As couples start to have children and raise a family, more time will be devoted to caring for their child. However, couples must not forget that nurturing relationship with their spouse is just as important. There are numerous published research from as far back as the 1930s recognising that discord between parents can have debilitating effects on children’s psychological development.

Mrs Chung shares, “Setting aside time to nurture the relationship is important not only helpful to the couple but to the children’s upbringing as well. It provides children with a good example for their own future relationships. Growing up in a family where the parents have a healthy relationship allows the child to flourish in a loving environment and has a positive impact on them.”

Marriage is hard work and there are a lot of factors that come into play when we work on our relationship.

Here are some quick helpful tips from Mrs Chung to achieve relationships goals in 2019:

• Fall in love with your spouse over and over again! Wooing each other does not stop when you get married.

• Go on regular dates and make time for each other, be it a movie date without the kids or a walk in the park.

• Have regular conversations with your spouse and share about what happened during the day. It also builds intimacy and allows open communication with each other.

• Remember that our partner wants to feel appreciated and valued, regardless if you have been married for one year or twenty years.

• Speak out your thoughts, tell them how you feel, and genuinely express how you want to be happy together.

• Having a clear discussion about finances such as how much to spend, save and invest is important to help you plan and manage your household and to work together on your future as a team.

• It is important to apologise when you are in the wrong. Acknowledge your mistakes and be genuine in your apology. Make these disagreements a learning ground so that you can be a better partner for each other.

"I Still Do" 2019

"I Still Do" is back to celebrate a lifetime commitment of love and marriage. The road to a long lasting marriage may have its ups and downs, but the promise to never give up on each other is everlasting. Click here for more "I Still Do" tips and couples' events to spark joy in your marriage!