so the long awaited kursus weekend came and went!
cinta abadi is the govt’s course which is provided by many operators and trainers. we signed up for the one by Art of Marriage, and the course was conducted at The Verge in Little India.
here’s my personal opinion of how it all went 🙂
a brief recap
the course is divided into 5 sections: building a strong and collaborative marriage, understanding roles and responsibilities, money management, sex and intimacy, and interacting with in-laws. (note: this is paraphrased based on what I remember off-hand) the class fits 12 couples, and we were seated such that there were four groups of three couples each.
what I liked about the course
1. you sit with your partner
this made it possible to discuss some of the more couple-ish topics together and compare results for the personality/values tests kinda stuff. my favourite part of the course was coming up with a vision board with ninja groom, where we pictured our ideal family, lifestyle, finances and spiritual level in 10 years time. I’ve always liked such rahrah stuff and I’ve heard/read about the power of visualisation, so I felt like I benefitted a lot from this.
2. the course involves active learning, and is divided into short activities
there was no time to fall asleep! like a lot of courses, the programme was structured such that there was 1h-1.5h of activities, tea break, 1h-1-5h of activities, lunch, 1-1-5h of activities, tea break and then the last leg of activities before going home. there were also lots of group discussions and some games, which I thought was better than a passive, lecture-style kinda course.
3. the registration process and smooth and easy breezy
AOM’s website is easy to navigate and the registration process was smooth so yay, kudos!
what I didn’t like about the course
the freelance facilitators they got could have done loads better. period. day 2’s morning segment on money management was the WORST I ever had to sit through by a professional organisation. it was conducted by a different facilitator, who had come in specially for that morning.
good facilitators don’t just ask questions, they ask the right questions. I noticed that the facilitator couldn’t quite get a response from the class because some of her questions were just so…blah. don’t ask us what are “needs” and “wants”, take it to the next level by maybe giving (tough) real life examples and ask us to reflect. what are we, 12 year olds?
also she introduced this game which was so flawed beyond belief and taught nothing about real-life financial management. sigh. I would try to explain it here but I fear I won’t do a good job at showing just how silly and amateur the game design was. it’s like, if we were back in secondary school and our teacher had asked us to design a board game for our classmates, I might have enjoyed it. but if you’re a “professional” facilitator from a “professional” organisation, you should not be introducing games like that to your participants.
suffice to say, everything went downhill from this point. my bad experience coloured the rest of the day, and I started calling out their bluffs. the next two segments were okok je. there was a part where we discussed and diagnosed case studies on marital problems and intimacy which was challenging and good, but that was about it. before the day ended they introduced a debate on guys vs girls, but I thought it made better sense to have done that on day 1 when we had a group discussion on dividing roles and responsibilities between husbands and wives.
even the vision board exercise that I enjoyed? the facilitator had given it as a group activity. oh-my-god. it’s like asking any three of us BTBs to come up with ONE vision for our weddings. how can, when each person/couple has their own aspirations and circumstances? and imagine discussing like this for your marriage? luckily my group agreed that we would split the mahjong paper into three and discuss with our partners instead. the facilitator also didn’t mention anything about making S.M.A.R.T targets so… there goes a powerful exercise into the gutters.
so yah all in all, I feel very shortchanged by the course. i felt so down about it on day 2 that I even considered signing up again for kasih sejati or apkim’s marriage guidance. but then ninja groom said he wasn’t too keen on spending more time and money on this so I thought that was it for us. a super meh and disappointing experience in attending our pre-marriage course. hai, so much for looking forward to it!
if you’re still shopping for pre-marriage courses, I would suggest going for tried-and-tested trainers. there could be great Cinta Abadi trainers out there (such as Samrah Club, as recommended by my cousin, who said that they are the senior and wise sort of trainers — we should have gone for theirs instead, dayyum! so close to where we live some more), so I wouldn’t discredit it completely. just our nasib that we were not lucky enough in getting great trainers 😦
anyway, the good thing about AOM is that they say “If you find that you do not benefit from the course, we offer a 100% money-back guarantee! we are the only course provider in Singapore that does so.” so we’ve written in with our request, together with detailed feedback, and are pending their confirmation. ninja groom later said that if we do get our money back ($300!) we can go for another course, yay. hope they stay true to their words, and that we get to attend a more effective course…