Work to strengthen, salvage marriages

I share Mr Fabian Ng Yuan Sheng's concern about rushing divorces through the Family Justice Courts (FJC) (Better to focus on reconciliation, healing in family courts; Nov 15).

There are generally no winners in a divorce, and there are more victims than victors.

However, sometimes, divorce is the only way out, for example, in cases of physical, sexual and psychological abuse against spouses and/or children. There are also many cases where couples try to resolve their marital tensions on their own and over years, and then resort to counselling and divorce or separation at the end when there is no more hope to save the marriage.

In these cases, prolonging the agony of a strained marriage does more harm than good to all parties concerned. By the time it reaches the FJC, it is probably difficult to salvage a marriage, and better to engage in "discernment counselling", to help couples and children prepare for a new family life and dynamics.

There are many books and articles written on how to strengthen and save marriages. Yet divorce rates are generally on the rise globally. The probable reason is the changing values and perspectives of society when it comes to marriage and what people expect from the union.

In Singapore, maybe we need to do more in the area of compulsory premarital counselling, and even consider compulsory mid-marriage and late-marriage counselling. This is to help couples navigate the challenges of the various stages of matrimony. And these counselling programmes must keep up with the changing values of society.

Divorces tend to undermine the health of the family unit and hence, the fabric of society, and more must be done to strengthen and salvage relationships .

K. Kuharajahsingam

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2017, with the headline 'Work to strengthen, salvage marriages'. Print Edition | Subscribe