MY DEAR Susanna, Today is our 15th wedding anniversary. I was feeling nostalgic when I woke up this morning so I took out our wedding album. The pictures refreshed my memory, as if our marriage took place just last week.
Remember how we poured our hearts into our wedding preparations? We busied ourselves meeting the hotel people, going from one wedding boutique to another … until Margaret, our friend from church, reminded us that preparing for the marriage, not the wedding, was more important.
I was amused when you started hunting for an organisation that offered a marriage preparation course. Finally, we came across Tampines Family Service Centre, one of the five family service centres of Methodist Welfare Services.
However, my amusement turned to irritation during the course. You asked so many questions that I thought you were going to change your mind about marrying me. But as we stepped out of the place, you beamed at me and said, “Jin Han, I’m really ready to get married!” I was the happiest man in town!
Our wedding day was a blur of activity. Boy, was I glad it was over quickly. The photographer insisted I carried you in my arms from the lift lobby to our hotel room. In plain sight of everyone! I still chuckle at the memory of your flushed cheeks as I picked you up easily. You were much lighter then, dear. In the years after that, our kitchen experiments have helped both of us grow a size bigger!
I prayed that our blissful days together would go on and on. But it was not to be. A huge lump lodged in my throat at the memory of our 5th wedding anniversary which we spent in a counselling room.
I could not recall how we started to grow apart. All I remembered was that we were constantly shouting at each other. It got so bad that I started working late more often. Things came to a head when the week before our anniversary I came home to find a curt note saying you would be staying with your sister for the time being. I was disturbed but my pride prevented me from phoning you.
Margaret must be an angel in disguise. As soon as she heard things were not well between us, she begged us to go for marital help. I am glad we listened to her. With the help of the counsellor at Covenant Family Service Centre we were able to talk to each other calmly and openly.
We realised how afraid we were of not ever being able to have a child, yet we hid our fears and frustrations behind angry words. After our frequent visits to medical specialists to seek treatment, you would lock yourself in the bedroom and I would play tennis with a friend. We buried our worries in cold silence and a string of activities.
After four sessions at Covenant FSC, I called you up for a date. I brought you a bunch of bright yellow roses. You said they always cheered you up. I vowed to pay more attention to you and you promised to voice your feelings. When you agreed to move back home that day, I was so happy I almost cried.
On our fifth session, we stepped into Covenant FSC hand-in-hand. We were on the mend …
Mel Lee is the Senior Executive, Communications and Fund-Raising, of the Methodist Welfare Services.
Editor: The story of Jin Han and Susanna will continue in the December issue of Methodist Message. Although theirs is a fictional story, it reflects many of the situations encountered by our Family Service Centres. Any similarities to actual persons, places or situations are purely coincidental.