Seven unlikely marriage experts share some very useful nuggets of wisdom, when it comes to matters of the heart. 

1. The Informed Kid says: Don’t forget the little things
“I know my parents care about each other because they accompany each other everywhere, whether it’s to help complain about a shop’s service, or driving the other person to pick up a cake. They care about small things too. For instance, my mum will check if my dad has food to eat at work and if he doesn’t, she will search the cupboard for crackers.”

– Charlotte Chow, 12

2. The Financial Planner says: Don’t be afraid to talk about money
“The strongest couples are the ones who consult their partners about monetary decisions, even if it’s about purchasing individual policies. This is because they feel that such commitments potentially affect future purchases, like buying a house. Some of my clients’ other halves are very candid about voicing their concerns over what should be done with their money – I think more couples should be like that.”

– Priscilla Ng, manager from Great Eastern Financial Advisers

3. The Former Call Girl says: Don’t withhold sex as a way of “punishing” your husband 
“This will send him straight to my door… I can’t calculate how much I’ve earned for every guy who came to me for sex, because his wife banished him to the couch for something small he did – like replying to her impatiently. My tip? Think of non-sexual ‘punishments’ instead, like making him give you a massage. You’ll be seen as a reasonable wife… plus it can really save
your marriage in the long run.”

– Annika Cleeve, former social escort in Singapore and author of Eve: Memoirs of an International Sex Worker

7 relationship tips from unlikely marriage experts

The best relationship advice you can have may just come from the most unexpected sources. 

4. The Helper says: Don’t argue in front of the kids
“It makes the kids worried because they think their parents don’t love each other anymore. I’ve had to console some of my charges, especially the four- or five-year-olds, who get affected during these episodes. Disagreements are unavoidable, but couples should try to talk things through amicably. It helps the children understand how to resolve conflicts without being nasty.”

– Lisa Guinto, domestic helper of eight years

5. The Private Investigator says: Spice things up
“Being dull and unromantic could spell trouble for your relationship. Most of my clients engage my services to confirm suspicions about their cheating partners, but in one instance, a woman client simply wanted to find something – anything – to justify her reason for divorce (and alimony). The truth? She was bored with her husband, whose only fault, if you could even call it that, was not showering her with sweet gestures from time to time and only taking her to neighbourhood shopping malls for dinners.”

– Raymond Lim, private investigator with Apac Investigation & Consultancy

6. The Teacher says: Find a common goal to work towards
“Developing a child’s education can drive parents to become closer; these couples usually show a lot of teamwork. For instance, even if the mum is absent from a meet-the-parents session, her husband will tell me that he needs to seek her advice before committing to a decision, such as whether they should send their child for after-school enrichment classes. When the responsibility lies completely with one party, it can cause a strain on the relationship. I have a student whose parents quarrel constantly because his mum feels she has to overcompensate for her husband’s lack of involvement in their kid’s development.”

– Esther Quek, teacher of two and a half years

7. The Gynae says: Be each other’s source of strength
“Being an ob-gyn gives me a window into the most private places in a couple’s lives. The best couples are the ones who are able to support each other, especially in the face of difficult issues such as complications during pregnancy. One patient has had countless failed conceptions and, most recently, went through a difficult pregnancy, but she’s managed to stay strong because of her husband, who constantly reassures and encourages her. I can tell that she feels very loved.”

– Dr Ann Tan, obstetrician and gynecologist from Women & Fetal Centre

This story was originally published in Her World magazine March 2015.