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Now, this is a joke…package for the newlyweds?

(Inspired by Nilesh’s post on marriage)

THE National Population and Family Planning Board have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with several non governmental agencies to spearhead its “Smart Startpackage for newlywed couples.The key areas in the package were Marriage Preparation, Marriage, Family Health, Pregnancy and Childbirth, Parenthood, Managing Family Resources, Managing Stress and Conflict.

Now, I am not expert on marriage as I only have been married (happily, I might add) for the last 2 years but do you really need all this? Gosh, I gather that there must be an increase in divorce and domestic violence cases that prompted the Government to “turun padang” with the “package”. Either that or some couples are just plain stupid to get married (trust me, there are some).

Reflecting back on my own experiences (myself and other family members), the key for a good marriage is a good understanding between the husband and wife. If you don’t have that in the 1st place, forget about getting married, you are only cheating yourself (and your partner) and may lead to an unhappy marriage. No “package” in the world is going to save your marriage.

This is what I did for myself (you can call it as Balajoe’s DIY “smart start” package):-

Marriage Preparation
I did on my own with great help from my wife, friends and Bill Gates (used Ms Excel for prepare budget and checklist mah). I asked around for other people’s experiences, compare prices, etc. My mom did some of the bargaining for us and we got some items at damn cheap prices (such as the malai and catering). Just as any preparations, you have the Murphy’s Law applying here. So, make some backups just in case things go wrong on the Big Day

Can’t do anything about it on the day itself. All background “activities” were taken care by my parents, brother and the temple priest. I just have to follow the instructions. I had other things to worry about…like how to tell the mantra correctly.

Family Health
Yes, we did some checkups just to be sure but I trust my wife and she trust me.

Pregnancy and Childbirth
Sensitive issue when you have your parents “bugging” you for grandchildren. I was 30 when I got married. So, by calculating my retirement age at 55, we decided to have kids without further postponement. At least by the time, I have retired; my son would be at least 24 years old. Old enough to take care of us. My son is the best thing happened in our marriage so far.

Learn a lot from mistakes and of course, the internet. A key component here is that if you are going to have kids, better have the financing for it. The cost of drippers, milk powder (almost RM48!) can really kill off your savings. This is not including toys, health checkups, schools, etc

Managing Family Resources
Again, Bill Gates to the rescue! I do my budget for at least 3 – 4 months ahead and cut down on my personal pleasures (there goes pub visits on Saturday Night). Family expenses come first. But there are times; we can take a bit of here and there for personal pleasures (see Managing Stress and Conflict below). Even so, we are able to save something every month. Discipline in budgeting and exercising them is the main key here.

Managing Stress and Conflict
Take a break! Go for holiday or shopping or just drive around town. Anything as long as you can concentrate on something else. Beers and computer games work wonders for me these days.

Do that and certainly you don’t need the “Smart Start” package to have a happy married life.

(Picture source: – you want to learn one or two about marriage? Just watch the movie “Mouna Ragam” and you can have the best in married life)

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