How to create a strong family?

For mental health or family health, it may not be easy to differentiate what is normal (healthy) vs abnormal (unhealthy).

By the time we realized that something is wrong, it may be too late. It is like the analogy of a frog in a boiling water.

Frog in boiling water

However, if we acknowledge the problem and switch gear to damage control mode, there is always hope.  It would be a much greater problem when we do not realize or are not aware that there is a problem.  We may be in the state of denial.

Professor John D. DeFrain and Professor Nick Stinnett have outlined 6 basic characteristics of healthy family functioning in the American Family Strengths Inventory.

  • Enjoyable time together (fun)

  • Appreciation and affection (love) for each other

  • Communicating effectively with each other

  • Valuing (Respecting) each other and demonstrating commitment

  • Managing stress and crisis effectively (Resilience)

  • Spiritual well being

I would summarize it as having love, respect, fun and resilience as a family. There must be openness and free flow communication among each other. Having common value system or spiritual belief is certainly an additional strength.

And I certainly find it help to conduct periodical review of these factors. Enjoy!

Click here for American Family Strengths Inventory or PDF

Stress : a Friend or an Enemy ?

How to love ?

Even though Mother’s day was more than a week ago, i hope to share this meaningful illustration.


To all fathers and husbands,  may i quote John Wooden who said ” the best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother”.

And how do we love our spouse?

Love is patient-2

Source : 1 Corinthians 13


Resolving conflicts in a relationship

After married for many years, both myself and my wife attended a marriage course in 2010 called the Alpha Marriage. We just wanted to learn more and enriched our marriage.

I still remember this analogy of a clogged drain which was used to describe unresolved conflicts and issues in a marriage.

If we do not regularly clean the drain in our home, the accumulated rubbish and debris will eventually builds up, layer by layer and finally clogs the drain.


clogged drain
Until one day, when there is a heavy downpour, the house will be flooded!


Similarly, any unresolved issues, conflicts or hurts in relationship will stay in our memory bank. As Karol K. Truman puts it in her book ” Feelings buried alive never die”. Hence all the accumulated unresolved issues will eventually bottle up. All it takes is just one more disagreement which will then lead to an explosive argument!

So folks, here is the take home message.

Learn to lower our pride and ego. Practice the art of communication and resolving our differences with love and respect. If possible, let us seek out a win-win situation. If we could not agree, then we will need to agree to disagree. Sometimes, we may need to consult an expert or a more experienced person for solutions.

The final decision should be based on love, respect, wisdom, acting in the best interest of the family and a mutual attitude of “give and take”.



how to argue quote

Courtesy of

How to protect our marriage and our families?

How to protect our marriage and our families?

Do you wish to sustain your marriage and have a meaningful companionship till “death do us apart” . To be able to ride through the roller coaster of emotional ups and downs.

How do we nurture and protect our marital relationships?

In this age and time, the institution of marriage is very fragile and under tremendous threat! Hence it is so important to guard and shield our marriages as well as our families against the subtle attack from the negative and dark forces which seek to wreck every marriages.

First of all, true love is not merely a feeling. It is not a fairy tale story of “living happily ever after”. In reality, it is a commitment. A promise kept. A vow honoured.

What are the promises ?

That both parties will fulfil the needs and expectations of each other. There are 2 categories of promises. Explicit and implicit promises. Unfortunately, these expectations are often not spelt out clearly when love is in the air!

Couples often get together with the assumptions that she/ he knows what to do. But in this case, ignorance is not bliss! If she/he repeatedly does the wrong thing and hurt the other person, it will eventually break the relationship. So, never assume. Talk it over. Trash out the issues before tying the knot! As the saying goes, love is blind.

As such, premarital counselling is absolutely important to trash out differing assumptions and expectations before marriage. In fact, it is vital to discuss the consequences of behaviours which betray the trust of her/ him. Not only the rosy part of the wedding preparations.

One of the implicit expectation of married couple especially woman are marital faithfulness. It is often expected and presumed in a marriage.

So how do married couples protect their marriage with a strong fortress to prevent marital unfaithfulness?

  1. Self knowledge
  • We are human beings.
  • Sometimes the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. The flesh may be tempted by greed, arrogance and lust.
  • So it is best to avoid temptations and grey areas at all cost.
  1. Understand the rules of pleasures
  1. There is no greater pain than regret.


  1. Learn to cultivate a large repertoire of healthy and good pleasurable activities.


  1. Learn to resolve conflicts early before it bottles up and eventually explode.


  1. Lying is not merely making false statements, it includes withholding truth which our spouse has a legitimate right to know.


  1. Seek to nurture a healthy relationship and keep the love alive.


  1. Learn good communication skills.


  1. Seek to understand that man are from Mars and women are from Venus. ( courtesy of John Gray’s book entitled Man are from Mars, Women are from Venus ) )


  1. Accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Understand that it is a myth to having a perfect husband or wife.


  1. Look beyond the behaviour. Beyond those hostile behaviours or hurting words is a vacuum in the heart which is desperate for unconditional love, security, acceptance and respect.


  1. Learn to forgive each other and never hold grudges. Be a better person and not a bitter person.


  1. Learn the prayer of serenity
  2. Be mindful and accountable to each other’s feelings.  Be accountable to our marriage vows




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