A wedding lasts a day, but a marriage lasts a lifetime. Or so we hope.
It takes a lifetime of work and commitment to sustain a happy marriage. Sometimes, people start to drift apart and begin to lead their own separate lives. Sometimes, certain visions, values or principles that perhaps both of you used to hold close to your heart get compromised or lost along the way. Sometimes, the love you once felt so strongly for each other gets eroded with time, and at best, you end up feeling like you are just living with a companion or a best friend. In the worst case scenario, you feel like you are now living with a stranger…uncomfortably.
Does this all sound too familiar to you? Why does this happen and when do you call it quits?
I am no marriage expert, having been married for just over 8 years, and I am not about to attempt to wreck your marriage by encouraging you to seek a divorce, which should always be the last resort.
All I wanted to do is to share my views on when and why I would seek a divorce. According to my friend who also happens to be a Singapore divorce lawyer, the lack of communication (and not sexual infidelity) is usually the root of all evil. That is why I think it is important to share your ground rules with your partner and accept each other’s value system before you even get married so that you’re on the same page.
Have you ever been so blinded by love that you would do anything that your partner asks of you? For instance, changing your dressing according to his likes and dislikes, eating the food he likes to eat, or participating in a sport that only he enjoys?
While it is good to take your partners’ likes, dislikes and interests into consideration, striking a balance is crucial as pandering to his every whim and fancy will only lead to a loss of your individual identity. We are all entitled to our own opinions, views and ideals, and I feel that if my partner is unable to understand this and accept that we have differences, therein lies a deeper problem – a lack of respect for me as an individual.
Respect is an important part of love, and if my partner doesn’t respect me, what love is there to speak of?
Some people think that marriage or having children is the panacea to all problems. Unfortunately, fundamental issues like a clash of expectations or values will never go away magically with a marriage certificate or a new addition to the family.
Perhaps your partner wants you to be a housewife – cook, clean and look after your children, but this doesn’t gel with your aspirations of being a career woman or an athlete who loves adventures and the great outdoors. Or perhaps you enjoy the finer things in life but your partner is contented with a simple, frugal lifestyle.
If compromises are made willingly, the marriage might work, but if either party feels coerced or forced to make changes, neither would truly be happy. If the differences are irreconcilable, they will only become more apparent over time and will drive a wedge between both parties.
We know that sustaining a marriage takes effort, but in our fast-paced society, we can get so engrossed with various aspects of our life like work and kids that we end up forgetting to hold our partner’s hands, give him a hug, or even ask him how his day is.
Don’t even get me started on intimacy in the bedroom. I read that men are biologically programmed to require intimacy in the bedroom in order to feel loved (also confirmed this with some friends), but it is the complete opposite for women. Making a conscious effort to go the extra mile usually does wonders for both parties. Always make time for each other, and for us ladies, sometimes it doesn’t hurt to take the initiative, if you know what I mean. 😉
Intimacy is an important aspect of any relationship as it is a special way of bonding and communicating with your other half. Without intimacy, you are no different from being just friends. If left unnoticed and unchecked, a couple could well be seriously estranged in the intimacy department. You may have heard about the 5 Languages of Love – Gifts, Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service and Physical Touch (Intimacy). If you find that you and your partner are just unable to connect well in the language(s) of love that mean the most to each of you even after trying, your marriage will be mundane at best.
These are just 3 signs that a marriage is going downhill and I hope that by penning them down, they will serve as a reminder not just to me, but also to everyone out there whom I care about, to prevent these scenarios from happening in your marriage.
Should I ever find myself falling into a downward spiral, I pray that I will have the strength and courage to communicate with my partner, seek help and only reach out to a divorce lawyer as a last resort.
While I am in a happy and healthy marriage currently, and of course it is our hope that we live happily ever after, I am not ruling out the possibility that people may change, when we least expect it. Because you never know.
(On a lighter note, if you were wondering where these beautiful photos came from, they are actually some of my pre-wedding photos taken 8 years ago by KC Wong of Feelm Photography)