Ingredients for a strong marriage

I was impressed with Mr Ace Kindredzen Cheong's candid views on marriage and divorce ('No' to mandatory premarital course; June 15).

A myriad of factors contribute to divorces. Before tying the knot, couples must be cognisant that a good marriage entails many sacrifices as well as endurance by both parties over a long period.

Both husband and wife need to come to terms with each other's flaws and imperfections.

Love, trust and discipline are some of the key factors in any marriage that ensure its longevity.

With true love, each partner can see beyond the other's shortcomings and, over time, learn to accept or accommodate each other's inadequacies.

Such values cannot be acquired just by undergoing a mandatory marriage preparation course. This is similar to how one cannot learn to swim, drive or cycle just by reading a book or surfing the Internet.

One may be equipped with a multitude of theories on nurturing a marriage. However, the crux of the matter is how to apply the theories acquired in class to complex real-life situations.

The adage "to know is easy, to put into practice is difficult" certainly applies to many couples who experience incessant acrimony in their married life.

During our forefathers' days, divorces were few and far between. There was a certain degree of tenacity in couples and they managed to weather the difficulties in their long marriages.

There were no mandatory marriage courses back then, yet most marriages survived.

It is ironic that couples today, many of whom are highly educated, are often at a loss when facing obstacles in their marriages.

Indubitably, it is not IQ but rather EQ, or emotional quotient, that is a key contributing factor to a marriage's survival.

The longevity of a marriage ultimately depends on how fully committed the couple are.

Zhang Guocheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 18, 2018, with the headline 'Ingredients for a strong marriage'. Print Edition | Subscribe