The article on “Amicable Divorce” refers (Straits Times, 6 Jun).
A divorce is a deviation from original intentions and an outcome that no one desires when first thinking of marriage.
As such, instead of focusing primarily on the duration and steps required to legally exit from a marital relationship, let’s first retrace the typical journey one takes to enter into such an exclusive union, to begin with. An over-simplification of legal requirements to exit from marriage would have the unintended consequence of decreased due care to enter into it.
The institution of marriage is at its very heart a solemn commitment between two consenting adults, involving a process of serious discussion and deliberation, usually amongst trusted family and friends, and culminating in a thoughtful, holistic decision. Such an approach should ideally be unhurried to improve the odds of the marriage withstanding the test of time, tribulations and temptations.
The vows made in marriage literally speak of lifelong commitment, in prosperity and/or adversity, health and/or sickness, till death do us part. If new laws allow the most sacred of human relationships to be readily and easily dissolved, the institution of marriage will in due course be disrespected and disregarded. Beyond the immediate fragility of marital relationships, the extended bonds that tie families, communities and country together will be unfastened and lost.
Perhaps the greatest pain and anguish experienced when a divorce occurs, is mostly seen but least heard from the children involved. Children are the true collateral damage, with untold degrees of emotional scarring, often irreversible and irreparable. For this reason alone, strained relations between their parents should be given adequate opportunities and help, to heal and make good, so that the potential lifelong pain inflicted upon their children thereinafter would not be hastily weighted and wrongly measured.
Divorce is always a difficult and delicate matter. As suggested in our submission, a nuanced approach could be adopted (Focus on the Family Singapore, 3 Jun). This may include lifting the time bar and the requirement for justification for divorce, in extenuating circumstances such as when a spouse has no support or is in an abusive marriage.
Apart from downstream interventions, we could also look upstream and midstream. Pre-marital counselling and support for couples throughout their marriage life will help them fulfill their serious lifelong commitment.
May wisdom, grace and prudence prevail over convenience and expediency.
Focus on the Family Singapore
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