Through the kindness of the Far East Organisation, we could conduct a family conference at Changi Cove for the couple whose marriage was fragile following a misunderstanding (AWB – 1705). 18 family members and 20 volunteers participated in a day long discussion with the agenda of:

a. What is a happy and successful marriage?
b. What do we have to do to have a good marriage?
c. Challenges in a family.
d. Our family’s future

A marriage is a partnership and a family, a small organisation. Hence, led by volunteers from Facilitators Network Singapore; family and friends participated in a “corporate retreat” where they co-created the “business” goals and defined the roles and responsibilities of the partners. All plans need resources and so one important output was family and friends articulating how they would be supporting the couple and their children.

Discussions were conducted in small groups and when opinions were collated for all to see, the collective wisdom ruled the day and spurred further constructive discussion. With almost 40 people rooting for their relationship to heal, both husband and wife did their best not to let themselves, their children and their well-wishers down.

When family problems are kept private, problem-solving is sometimes hindered by strong views and emotions. Also with limited resources, possible solutions are narrowed or do not even come within sight. At the end of the conference, both husband and wife thanked all present for helping them better understand each other. They shared that they were most encouraged by the overwhelming support and promised to work out their day to day challenges patiently.

When thanking us personally, the husband revealed that he had much to understand about his wife but was now committed to making the marriage work. He also conveyed his parents’ deepest thanks for bringing the extended family together. It has been a long time since they have met his wife’s side of the family and the harmonious conclusion made it a most joyous occasion for them. Sheepishly be added, “My father also told me to be a more patient husband and father.”

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength while loving someone deeply gives you courage. – Lao-Tzu