The following contains a (fictitious) story and lessons based on real-life examples of love found and lost. In this country where everything is expensive – from wedding banquets to divorces – you would expect that marriages would last longer than many actually have. And why wouldn’t you? It would probably cost ‘an arm and a leg’ to hire a good divorce lawyer in Singapore to help you negotiate the divorce proceedings and hopefully lower the divorce maintenance fees your spouse is demanding. Wouldn’t it be much easier to simply stay in love with each other? Don’t forget that YOU are a co-author in determining how your love story ends…
Once Upon A Time…
Once upon a time, and not too long ago, Adam and Eve fell in love and decided to get married. As they were both Singaporeans, they had made a joint application for a HDB flat in advance. Cupid liked this couple, and had gone the extra mile to ensure that their flat was constructed in time for their wedding. It was a good month, that April 2016.
Fast forward six months, and on 16 October 2016, the pre-selected auspicious day, Adam and Eve held their wedding. They vowed to love and to cherish each other under all circumstances – for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health. And the vow had no expiry date too! It took immediate effect and would last until death made them part.
Unlike commercial contracts, there appeared to be no exit clause. Was the vow an expression of duty or obligation then? Understandably, the vow was spoken during an emotionally-heightened ceremony and witnessed by family and friends. It included the Almighty too. Through that vow, Adam and Eve had set the stage “to live happily ever after.” Unfortunately, the fairy-tale ending eluded them and many other couples like them.
What went wrong? Why are divorce rates on the rise? What makes marriages last?
#1: Resilient Couples Have Lasting Marriages
Marriage used to be a hallowed social institution. The high divorce rates indicate its decline in tandem with a world at large that is facing an increasingly uncertain nature in its contemporary economic and social conditions. Disruptions of all kinds – financial crises, climate changes and political upheavals – are threatening our social fabric. Those researching the field of resilience ask why some people, communities and companies recover from crises whilst others fall apart. Developing self resilience in each married couple could result in lasting marriages.
#2: The Willingness To “Give And Take”
To stay married, there must exist a secret spring from which the river of life flows into the couple’s life. What causes the flow to ebb and be reversed? Surely the joys that once bonded them could not simply be evaporated away. If you have traveled together with a companion, you will know and appreciate what a ‘give and take’ attitude is. Living with someone on a 24/7 basis requires a lot of understanding and tolerance. Staying married requires a greater dose of “give and take”.
#3: Always Growing And Learning Together
Was love blind? – yes, perhaps during the early stages of a marriage. Then we start to see each other through ‘new eyes’ with the passing years. Unless we keep pace with each other, we can end up as strangers, maybe even adversaries. Tolstoy, in his book ‘Anna Karenina’, expounded this principle – “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Thus, to stay married, it would be wise to “grow and learn together.”
From the bliss of a once-happy union to bitter divorces, we can ask what had been lost. We cannot judge, but we are only human. Yes, support your sibling whose spouse has decided to divorce him/her. However, do not pass any judgment or unnecessarily take sides in a divorce. A Chinese adage has put it wisely this way: ”A good magistrate will find it difficult to judge a domestic/family issue.”