When reality hits you in the face aka Kursus Kahwin

The marriage preparation course aka kursus kahwin is no longer compulsory but it was never an optional thing for the mat and I. Both of us aren’t exactly A++ when it comes to religion and sometimes it’s just a hell lot simpler to talk to a third party about the whole marriage thing instead of your parents. Are you gonna ask your parents if oral sex is okay? I’m definitely not going to. I don’t want to know what my parents get up to in bed. Nope. Never.

I mentioned in a previous post that I had delayed registering for the course because it felt like once we were registered it meant shit had gotten serious. It sounds stupid since it should have felt like shit had gotten serious since the engagement or you know, when we booked the vendors, but this felt like a more sobering part of the “heading towards wedding and marriage” process. I think it’s probably because everything else was all about the wedding, and that’s just one day. Kurus kahwin is talking about the rest of your life with the person you’ve chosen.

If you go on the ROMM website there are several companies/organizations running the kursus kahwin. I didn’t do intensive research but as far as I’m aware (and probably you since you’d probably be doing your due diligence and stumbled on this post) there are some that offer a one day express course and others offer a two day course. Unfortunately I don’t know which companies specifically offer which courses, so I can’t give you a cost breakdown or something over here. But you might want to consider:

  1. Knowing which course you’re supposed to actually take. If you or your partner is under 21, you can’t go for the Cinta Abadi course, you’ll have to go for Inspirasi. Likewise, if one of you is a non-Singaporean and is in the process of applying for a dependents pass, or if one of you is divorced, or if one of you is bringing a child into the marriage, Cinta Abadi doesn’t apply for you either. If you don’t know if Cinta Abadi is the right course for you and your partner, check with the company/organizer you’re intending to sign up with. If it isn’t the right course they will point you in the right direction.
  2. The language of the course you’re choosing. If one of you absolutely sucks in understanding Malay, for the love of God don’t book a course in Malay. The ROMM schedule shows all the companies’ dates and what languages the courses will be in.
  3. The duration of the course. The one-day express course is excellent for couples who both are working shift and have difficulties applying leave. But if you want to go for that because you’re lazy to do a two-day course, be aware it’s likely that whatever is taught would be cut down even more to squeeze everything in a day. From what one of the instructors told us, the course is originally supposed to be done over a period of 12 weeks but because nobody got time they’ve cut it down to two days and then further down to one day. If you’re attending a two day course, keep in mind that you have to sign your attendance more than once throughout the day. If you don’t have full attendance you don’t get the certificate. Means if you want to get the certificate you’ll have to retake the course and that costs $$$.
  4. The style of teaching for the course. Different companies/organizers would teach differently. Some are more hip and modern, some are more traditional. Most of the companies’ websites have short video clips of the course so you can get a feel of how they run it. Alternatively, ask your friends who have attended the course or read reviews from BTBs.

For our scenario, the mat always wanted BDMI. I don’t even know why – maybe he knew someone who did their kursus kahwin with them, maybe after he talked to the trainer once he liked the guy… I don’t know. I didn’t have any strong urge to pick another organizer, and it wasn’t the organizer that made me a bit uncomfortable when I read reviews and watched the videos, so I was like yeah sure go for it.

The BDMI course we took was a two day course that cost $300. On that day it was done at the SMCCI at Jalan Pinang so you don’t have to worry about finding food for lunch. The other location they do the course is Kampung Ubi CC, which is near Joo Chiat so there’s a lot of food there too. It’s a full two days, 9.30am-6pm, but don’t worry they provide snacks and drinks and there are breaks.

(as you can tell I’m hungry, hence the emphasis on food lol)

From my understanding you can sit with your partner, but our group somehow just… split itself?? Into guys sitting in one row and girls another row facing each other. Halal distance lah kan (chey). You aren’t too far from one another though if your group sits that way so you can still do the activities together…just don’t eavesdrop on what the other couple next to you does ah focus on your things.

We had three instructors, all three dealt with different topics. I really don’t know what other courses or classes might emphasize on, but I did get the feeling that they went more in depth only when we had more questions on the topic. So in a way I guess it was tailored for us? Because everyone would have different things they were interested in or they found important, and it just so happened that for my group we had some similar topics and it’s probably easier for the instructor too when the whole group is like “ok this is impt I know this right now immediately”.

If you are terrified that you are going to be the trashiest couple with zero of knowledge of each other compared to the others I am pleased to tell you that you don’t have to share anything with anyone else. Everything is just between you and your partner, with the exception of the one or two times they split us up based on gender so that we realize how different we function. Sometimes they’ll ask you to exchange books so that you can read what your partner wrote for the activities. I found that helpful because 1) the mat has always a man of few words and I’ve been trying to get him to say more words but it turns out he a man of few words even in writing so I’ve learnt this is just how he is. I can write a two paragraph answer and his is two lines 2) all this while I thought I was hallucinating at that date we had in IKEA and I noticed his cakarayam handwriting because he’s been writing in caps ever since and his handwriting in caps is beautiful. It turns out he cannot write small letters MYSTERY SOLVED.

The activities for the course was pretty interesting too, like the 5 Love Languages (the mat and I both have Quality Time as our Love Language) and the Personality Audit (both of us are Calm types). Yes, these are things that you can find online and try with each other, but which mat is going to circle printouts if not in class? Not mine, that’s for sure. Additionally, the instructors give tips on how to deal with your partner’s personality if you are too similar to too different – sometimes even based on their own marriages and their own trial and error. For example, you might be thinking “Shit, this sis got lucky sia she and her mat both the same” but the reality is that if both of you are Calm types, one day someone is going to have to say “Ok look, we need to stop chilling and start moving” and drag your partner along with you. I know there’s a 95% chance it’s going to be me. So now that I know what’s going to happen, I have to make a decision – am I prepared to be that person in the future? I already know how he is I can never expect him to evolve into a go-getter.

And I think that’s another thing these courses are trying to point out – don’t expect your partner to change after marriage. Don’t expect the high-stung girl to suddenly calm down. Don’t expect the lepak mat to suddenly want to take Skillsfuture courses with you. Be aware of who you are getting married to. And after you know who that person is – are you ready and prepared to marry them? If you are, then don’t yell “I shouldn’t have married you from the start!!!!” three years down the line when you get into an intense argument.

Personally I found the real life examples they gave absurd but they were also very good lessons. No one enters a marriage hoping to divorce, but shit happens if you don’t put in effort (and sometimes, sadly, even if you do). Something as simple as the hantaran can lead to a divorce if someone thinks the money is supposed to be used to A but it turns out it was used for B.

Now… if you were wondering about the sex education part of the course… not very sexy la ah. That segment is run by the lady instructor, Cik Zarina, so we ladies don’t have to be shy and awkward and reluctant to ask a pakcik about things. She gives eloquent answers and is always ready to answer the question that you think is fucked up or weird or too kinky. Like she talked about BDSM with a straight face so you really don’t have to worry.

Gentlemen, if you are shy to ask her then do feel free to ask her husband, Encik Abu Bakar, one of the other instructors. He has a “ask me now in class but don’t ever ask me after these 2 days” policy, and he too does not blink at any questions thrown to him.

Overall I really do think it’s a course worth attending. I really would recommend BDMI, it was a good combination of fun and jokes and serious business. It might get a bit confusing sometimes but eventually you’ll understand why the instructor discusses certain things or asks certain questions.

I did not have a Eureka moment but I learnt some things about myself and some things about the mat, and most importantly I learnt that after those two days I still want to marry him despite him occasionally being trash and I will have to endure the periods that he is trash just like how he will have to endure my mood swings and me crying at Shah Rukh Khan movies. And this has been an insanely long post so I’m going to stop here.

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