The Straits Times
Published on Jan 08, 2013

Singles, don't let expectations get in the way of true love


I SYMPATHISE with the young nowadays, who have so much to grapple with that erstwhile routine life decisions like tying the knot and having children seem well nigh impossible to make ("Singaporeans and marriage: The checklist syndrome; last Saturday).

The usual stumbling blocks, such as the high cost of living and work-life imbalance, can be fingered.

That being said, the "checklist" syndrome is perhaps one major impediment to finding a spouse, and this requires a radical mindset change. In truth, the power to do so resides within the individual.

While high aspirations in the selection of an ideal life partner should not be entirely discounted, it unfortunately reminds me of a certain hard-boiled pragmatism that is akin to making an advantageous commercial transaction.

Dating agency owner Jackiey Kwek's comment, that those who have reached a certain point in their careers "now want a soulmate who can fit into their lifestyle", attests to this perception.

Whatever happened to love or the ability to just click with each other? Don't these matter any more in a relationship? What if things go wrong midway through a marriage when a spouse loses his or her high-paying job or looks?

One must accept the brutal reality that circumstances change, sometimes irrevocably. Does that mean that the marriage is off once a certain fulfilled criterion on the checklist has become unchecked?

At the risk of sounding like some starry-eyed ingenue, there is no harm in lowering one's checklist requirements, or even skipping some altogether if preconditions such as the potential mate's positive character traits and other factors, such as like-mindedness on major issues and mutual affinity, are met. These qualities may in fact provide a firmer foundation that undergirds a strong marriage in the long haul.

Perhaps young singles should first consider reframing their expectations and then recalibrate items on their checklist when they meet potential life partners, rather than adhere to the list doggedly without compromise. It may just help them to find that special someone they can share a lifetime with.

Marietta Koh