Ongoing programmes for married couples needed

Last year, 601 men aged 60 and older got divorced, more than double the 274 in 2008 while 313 women in the same age group ended their marriages last year compared with 131 in 2008.
Last year, 601 men aged 60 and older got divorced, more than double the 274 in 2008 while 313 women in the same age group ended their marriages last year compared with 131 in 2008.PHOTO: ST FILE

Figures showing an increasing number of seniors ending their marriage after being together for decades is a worrying trend (Divorces among seniors in Singapore going up, Sept, 2)

It is a sad reality that grey divorce appears to be a new demographic trend, and this has accelerated in the past few decades.

Getting married is easy, but staying married is another matter entirely. Even more challenging is staying committed to each other throughout the rest of their lives.

The divorce experience is emotionally and financially traumatic and includes a long list of psychological side effects that so often lead to burnout. Where there are adult children involved, the break-up will wreak havoc as children will have to put their personal lives on hold to handle difficult situations at home.

To help bring down grey divorce, it would be useful to have programmes that help couples value the marriage vows which they took when they signed on the dotted line.

One way is to carry out the Marriage Encounter programme for married seniors every five years. These 10 to 12 sessions have proven effective in getting married couples to value the bonds of marriage.

Couples who have stayed resilient throughout their marriage journey could be invited to share their joyful experiences to motivate and inspire all attending.

Given that seniors may find it a challenge to pay for the programmes, it would help a great deal if such sessions could be fully sponsored or given subsidies by the organisers.

Raymond Anthony Fernando