In the speech, which was met with intermittent laughter and applause from the audience, Dr Balakrishnan shared his views on happiness and marriage. PHOTO: SCREENGRAB FROM FACEBOOK/ VIVIAN BALAKRISHNAN

SINGAPORE - Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan shared an insight into his personal life on Wednesday morning (Nov 29), when he posted a video of a speech he made at his daughter Natalie's wedding three years ago.

Noting that he and his wife Joy just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary, he said in the post: "Four children, two grandchildren later - this is what real happiness means."

In the speech, which was met with intermittent laughter and applause from the audience, Dr Balakrishnan shared his views on happiness and marriage.

The 56-year-old began by saying that a person's choice of spouse can be "a source of great happiness or the converse".

He added that he told his three sons that when they date a woman, it is important to look at her mother.

"In Singapore, we believe in long-term planning. The best predictor of your future partner - a 25- or 30-year look ahead - is the potential mother-in-law."

Dr Balakrishnan also talked about how having his first child transformed his life.

"Having a child is far more significant than even getting married," he said.

"When you've got a child, you are truly invested in the future. It's no longer about your own life, but it's about her life and her future."

His voice was choked with emotions when he said he wished his own mother could be at the wedding.

Ending off, he said the most important gift a father can give his children is "to love their mother".

He explained that children need the role model of parents who love and are committed to each other for a lifetime.

"In a day and age of instant gratification, of an almost throw-away culture, these old-fashioned values of commitment for the long term, loving your partner and making it a life's enterprise, I think this is even more essential in this day and age."

See also: HOW THESE COUPLES WITH 150 YEARS OF MARRIAGE STAY HAPPY TOGETHER

This story was first published on The Straits Times.

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