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Silver lining in deferring marriage

It is not all doom and gloom that many in Singapore are deferring marriage in order to build their careers and save up ("No money, no getting married"; last Sunday).

While there is no denying that high late-marriage rates have contributed to the dip in Singapore's fertility rates, on the bright side, there is likely to be greater stability and a lower probability of divorce where such marriages are concerned.

This is because both spouses are older, more mature in their outlook and thus less prone to making impetuous decisions.

When a person is in his mid- to late-30s, he is less inclined to view love through rose-tinted glasses, as compared to someone a decade younger.

Moreover, the fact that these couples had put off marriage when they were younger because of financial constraints reflects their prudence and hard-nosed sense of realism, which will stand them in good stead for the future.

The ability to carefully weigh one's circumstances and plan ahead is integral in making a marriage work and, hopefully, last a lifetime.

There will always be vicissitudes in life, but a marriage anchored on a bedrock of financial stability and shared goals will be better able to weather the storm.

The high cost of living in Singapore is unquestionably a roadblock to marriage. A newly married couple would inevitably be saddled with the prohibitive costs of a wedding, buying and setting up a home and eventually raising children.

Even if one lives modestly, these expenses can take years to pay for.

Despite rising affluence, it appears that subsequent generations are finding it increasingly harder to set up home and a family owing to these spiralling costs.

Clearly, this is the nub of the trend of delayed marriages that needs to be dealt with urgently.

Marietta Koh (Mrs)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 31, 2016, with the headline 'Silver lining in deferring marriage'. Print Edition | Subscribe