Work at keeping marriages alive

It is a worrying trend that some wives, instead of cherishing their marriage vows, are straying and causing unhappiness to their husbands and their children ("Having an affair: Who's to blame"; last Sunday).

Marriage in itself does not fail. But it is people who do not take responsibility in working hard through the years to make the partnership grow and blossom who fail.

It is not uncommon to hear of people complaining about their marriages. Excessive spending, infidelity, compulsive lying, alcohol abuse, compulsive gambling, commitment problems and wilful neglect make it very difficult to sustain a loving and giving partnership. Money issues, unwillingness to negotiate and unreasonable behaviour are also factors that can lead to a breakdown in the marriage.

During courtship and in the first few years of marriage, there is usually a lot of affection. However, as the years go by, living with the same partner under the same roof can result in strains in relationships when a spouse does not give the partner the undivided attention that he or she needs.

When a wife feels neglected, stressed out or just plain bored, and needs someone to talk to, and if there is a man who is willing to lend a listening ear or to comfort her, chances are that a relationship can develop.

With women now better educated and financially secure, they are prepared to risk everything for more excitement in their lives.

The key to keeping marriage vows intact is to learn to be forgiving and to listen to each other, seeking understanding when tensions are high.

It is sad that we will listen to our boss, co-workers and friends, but when it comes to our own spouse, we turn a deaf ear. When couples take each other for granted and do not know how to value each other, relationships turn sour.

Raymond Anthony Fernando

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on May 22, 2016, with the headline 'Work at keeping marriages alive'. Print Edition | Subscribe