Many people have said it before, and we’ll say it again here: communication is vital to your relationship. Only by keeping an open communication will you and your spouse be able to understand each other and grow as a couple. But you should know that mere speaking and hearing does not equate to communicating – the key here is empathy, the ability to feel what another person is feeling. You need to actually listen and empathise with what your partner is trying to tell you, and, likewise, he should do the same with you.
Now, one common problem regarding communication is the issue of openness. Men in general – but perhaps more so in Singapore – find it more difficult to be open about our emotions. As a wife, you should understand that when your husband doesn’t share his feelings, it’s not because he actively refuses to. Most probably, it’s just because he doesn’t know how to. As the better communicator (again, I’m speaking generally here), the onus falls more onto you to keep the communication line open. If you can do that, then you and your spouse will be able to understand each other better and keep your feelings for each other in check.
In a country like Singapore, where individual rights and personal freedom is highly valued, committing one’s self to another person can be rather difficult. This might not be because we find it difficult to love another person wholeheartedly, but rather because we have simply grown quite averse to the idea of giving up our own identity to meet someone else’s expectations. And marriage, by tradition or pure personal belief, connotes that we surrender ourselves to our partners.
However, that is a rather skewed perception of marriage and commitment. When you get married, you don’t have to – nor should you – give up your identity and individual rights, but you do have to commit yourself to the welfare of your partnership. This is to say that, for your marriage to work, you have to put your needs as a couple above your personal needs alone. This might mean that you have to give up some of the things you like – staying out late with your friends, for example, or spending a lot of money on clothes – in order to maintain a harmonious relationship with your spouse and secure your marriage.
In today’s modern world – and more so here in Singapore where everything moves at a fast pace – it can be easy to lose touch with other people, even your own spouse. It’s not hard to imagine: one minute you’re blissfully in love, the next thing you know both of you have been caught up with your respective careers. Now, to keep a happy and strong marriage, you and your partner have to make yourself the constant in each other’s life. You should be the one person that he can always rely on, the person he goes home to and wants to raise a family with, the person he will always be happy to see and feel comfortable being around – and, likewise, he should also be that person to you.
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