Year 2017
July 2017

Prepare couples for ups and downs of married life

26 July 2017

The Statistics on Marriages and Divorces reported a notable increase in the age of divorcees in the last decade (Marriages in Singapore see slight dip, while divorces edge up; ST Online, July 18).

The main reasons cited for civil divorces are “unreasonable behaviour” and having “lived apart or separated for three years or more”.

Couples whose relationships stand the test of time are those who embrace their differences through acceptance, trust and complementation, a research paper by the Australian Institute of Family Studies in 2004 showed.

Good relationships begin with deep friendships that initiate dialogue rather than remaining in gridlock.

Successful couples learn quickly the need to “hold hands” rather than have the upper hand.

They commit themselves to effectively repair and de-escalate negativity. This is a process which takes much time and effort but strengthens commitment and nurtures attunement in spousal relationships.

 Extensive empirical studies found that pre-marital education and marriage enrichment initiatives do make a difference in couples’ lives and relationships.

They establish and nurture a strong foundation of mutual understanding, appreciation and emotional bonding.

These are upstream efforts, learned skills and intentional practices that will help couples before problems arise.

Programmes like marriage preparation and enrichment must be a mainstay in our culture, given society’s pace, haste and distractions.

Let us catch couples before trouble brews, and prepare them for the ups and downs that come along with life.

For far too long, by the time couples seek help, there would already have been a cascading of trust, a betrayal or, worse, an emotional checkout.

When we build strong safety nets, and educate people about it, it eventually promotes marital stability, satisfaction, and relationship quality; all of which are longer-term attributes of successful relationships.

David Kan
Manager, Marriage Journey

Eagles Mediation and Counselling Centre


This article was featured in The Straits Times forum on 26 July 2017.

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