Speech by President Halimah Yacob for the Golden Jubilee Wedding Celebrations

Mr Desmond Lee,

Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for National Development,

Mr Murali Pillai,

Member of Parliament for Bukit Batok SMC,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon to everyone and a very warm welcome to the Istana. Today, we are delighted to be here to celebrate the golden jubilee wedding of 172 couples. 

Let me begin by acknowledging Mr Murali Pillai, who first mooted the idea of having the President send out personalised congratulatory notes to couples celebrating their diamond wedding jubilee milestone. His idea has evolved to this afternoon’s celebrations, and we are very happy to have him join us here today. I would also like to mention Dr Mattar and Mdm Rugaiyah, who are also here to celebrate their golden jubilee wedding. Dr Mattar was our former Minister for Social and Welfare Development. His presence is really very significant and we thank you and your wife for your support.

On such a joyous and significant occasion, let us also take this opportunity to reflect on what marriage is really about. For the couples here today, I would like to honour you for the effort you have put in to maintain 50 years of marriage, to keep your relationship healthy and strong.

I am sure all the couples here would agree with me that healthy, strong and long-lasting marriages bring rich and shared experiences. Dr Gary Chapman, author of the book “The 5 Love Languages”, describes every marriage as having four seasons. Whether it is the joy of Spring, the concerns of Autumn, the dark and dry Winter, or the contentment of Summer, husbands and wives share their greatest joys and deepest sorrows with each other. They laugh together, weep together, hold on tightly to each other through the beautiful and the most difficult times, and most of all, grow to be better people for each other.

I speak from my own experience. My husband and I met when we were in university almost 40 years ago. Today, we have been married for 38 years and have five children. Over the years, through the various seasons in our lives, we have come to realise that one thing remains constant – that both of us walk this journey, together.

 All marriages have their ups and downs. They are not always smooth-sailing. But this is precisely why it is meaningful. A marriage is a journey, and requires commitment and hard work. Marriage is not a bed of roses. All our wonderful couples here who have been married for 50 years know this for a fact. There is a sculpture outside the Registry of Marriages building at Canning Rise, which says “Real Love Works”. And it is true, isn’t it? Many of us put in the extra hours at work to leave a positive impact on the people we serve. We should, all the more, make the extra effort to work at our marriages.

As we embark on this journey with our spouse, it is important to remember not only the romance of our wedding day but also why we chose to marry our spouse. This is crucial especially when couples face challenges and life changes, such as when you have children. Both parties have to learn to adjust to the new roles and take on new identities as parents. Amidst the challenges of child caring rearing, it can be easy to lose sight of the main focus – why we got married in the first place. We always have to remember what keeps us going is the commitment we made on our wedding day – to love, to cherish, come what may.

This means putting in the effort to understand each other’s joys, pains, fears, and needs better. Say something nice to each other every day. Set aside protected time to date your spouse. Be intentional in reconnecting with each other at the end of each hectic day. Only then, can a marriage be a source of strength and resilience.

 Marriages are the cornerstone of strong families, which in turn, are the building blocks of our society. Marriages founded on strong values help ensure that our children and grandchildren continue to thrive and in turn, make meaningful contributions to our nation. And through marriages, our legacy and beliefs live on in our future generations. Our young may wonder whether it is worthwhile to get married. We can demonstrate to them that marriage is indeed worthwhile. It is a lifelong commitment that also brings joy and happiness to the two persons involved.

To all the couples celebrating your golden jubilee weddings, my warmest congratulations to you once again and best wishes for many more years of blissful marriage. I hope all of you will share your joy as well as the many stories with your families. Take time to speak to other couples who are with us. There are so many wonderful stories that we can share with one another. I am certain that your journeys will be inspiration to others, who may one day also stand tall and proud as they celebrate their 50th wedding anniversaries.

I wish everyone a wonderful afternoon.

Thank you.