'Couples, maintain the love'
SOME couples marry young for love and some to have children early, while others do so for religious reasons.
For Juwanda Iman and Manisah Osman, they settled down early for all three reasons.
When they got married in 1987, Mr Juwanda was 24 and his bride, 23. Twenty-eight years later, they live in a five-room flat - in Punggol with their three children aged 21, 25 and 26 - and have benefited from marrying early.
"The biggest advantage is that we had the energy to do a lot of things," Mr Juwanda, a 52-year-old technician, told My Paper. "When you are young, you have the energy to take care of a young infant, especially after office hours."
The couple attended religious classes before tying the knot, and Mr Juwanda said it helped them understand what marriage was all about.
His wife, who is a teacher, added that they had to marry early to meet religious requirements.
"We didn't feel comfortable walking around as a couple if we were not married legally," Madam Manisah said.
The 51-year-old added that it was more common back then to marry early, and many of her friends married young as well.
Still, as newlyweds, they faced several challenges, including financial difficulties.
They tackled them by each taking up a job and asking a relative to help look after their first child.
"I think the biggest difficulty is adjusting to your partner's personality," Madam Manisah said. "You need a lot of patience and understanding, and it's not always easy."
For Mr Juwanda, his strategy for a happy marriage is to help his wife in everything, including household chores.
"If she looked after the baby, I'd do the housework. If she wanted to cook but had to watch the baby, I'd go to the supermarket to buy groceries," he said.
He now has more time with his wife as their children have grown up and are independent.
"Young couples must remember: Maintain the love," he said with a smile.
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