Being married is more than just the union of two individuals and having that piece of marriage certificate to be legally wedded.
It takes courage to put down our egos and learn and to try to live together without driving each other nuts 24/7. Or wanting to always have the last word in every argument.
But a marriage may not always rosy; things may spiral downhill in the relationship and divorce seems like an invite to newfound happiness.
For those of us who are happily married (we still are, don’t worry friends!), thinking about ‘D-day” is no longer taboo, or pantang (meaning: bad omen). In fact, a recent study shows that couples who think about divorce can end up having a marriage that thrives.
Based on a report from the National Divorce Decision-Making Project, one in four married couples in their research had thoughts about divorce in the last 6 months.
“Thoughts about divorce can be a healthy wake-up call to work on a marriage,” Alan Hawkins, a professor at School of Family Life at Brigham Young University, said about the study, which interviewed 3,000 married couples.
He shared that, “According to our research, most people’s thoughts about divorce are more ‘soft’ than ‘serious’, and can help spur needed actions.”
Imagine that your doctor tells you that you’re at a high risk for chronic heart disease, no thanks to your artery-clogging diet, stressful lifestyle and lack of exercise. With your hands full from carving a career and meeting the needs of your young children, your day-to-day life is literally tied to the clock.
One fine day, you decide to take charge of your life and own it by taking proactive steps towards a healthier heart. This is exactly what the research points to: making positive changes to turn things around.
Interestingly, thinking about divorce is common for married couples, with more than 50 percent of married people admit to recently having thoughts about divorce, the study noted. It is also healthy for marriages that aim to have a happy ending at the end of time.
“Yes, sometimes those thoughts are frequent and stem from serious, even dangerous, problems, so thoughts about divorce appropriately take people in that direction,” the researchers noted in their report. “But usually thoughts about divorce are just that — thoughts, not concrete actions, decisions, or even deep doubts.”
But every divorce has its story. The high divorce rates in Singapore has flagged out concerns amidst the population getting married at a later age, and the big issue of low birth rates.
Department of Statistics Singapore has also offered some food for thought: The median age for divorce in males was early 40’s and late 30’s for females. That’s about the age where men and women are at the peak of their careers, and probably married for about 10 years?
With friends and family around me who have been divorced, it may seem like the “hit rate” is rather high. When things don’t work out, it affects more than just the couple, and while they undergo divorce procedures, that period becomes very stressful.
And unlike getting married in Singapore, filing for a divorce encompasses a seemingly lengthier effort. The divorce procedures, documents to prepare and parenting plan (if the married couple has kids) etc. are just some aspects that require some thoughts.
There’s also the whole spectrum of consideration when moving forth with a divorce, especially the legal side of things: getting a good divorce lawyer in Singapore, tracking your assets and finances and deciding about the alimony etc.
When a marriage is unhappy, divorce may seem like a way to get out of the doldrums. Depending on the marriage circumstances, the couple can either choose to ignore and go on as two separate individuals, or work together on those areas and keep the marriage going.
According to author Leo Tolstoy, “What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility.”
Married couples know that is as close as it gets. It’s the incompatibility which requires more work. And, that can range from having differing methods of raising children, spending more time at work than with the family or drawing differing lines on infidelity (Yes, men and women have different views on what constitutes infidelity! Ask your spouse!) to respecting each other (abusing your spouse, for example).
The commitment to marriage and wanting to stay married require spouses to be on the same page. Sharing the same marriage goals help couples weather storms, together with effective open communication. Thinking about divorce may well be a topic for discussion between spouses; well at least this opens up the opportunity to understand a little more about your partner too, right?
Have you and your spouse thought about divorce? Do share if both of you have communicated about divorce, and how different or similar your thoughts are!