For those who are getting married, do not fret or be anxious, there is a new book coming your way. It is written by a senior lawyer, Jennifer Yeo, who is the wife of former foreign minister George Yeo. Even its title is caveated well: "I WANT to MARRY YOU BUT..."
Now, Jennifer is not without experiences both as a legal practitioner and a wife and mother of a daughter and three sons, all of whom are in their 20s. So, she knows what she's talking about.
She said, "Alarmingly, many young couples impulsively enter into it without knowing or considering its legal, economic and social consequences."
The trend of course is unmistakable. Divorce are rising, people are losing faith in marriage, cohabitation is preferred, and annulment has reached its third highest annual figure in 2015. And marriages are breaking up earlier - some even resulting in an acrimonious divorce lasting for years over issues relating to children.
It reports that "Mrs. Yeo sees her new book - I Want To Marry You But... A Marriage Guide For The Young Adult - as a form of social mission to help young people navigate complicated legal rights, responsibilities and implications that come with marriage, divorce and parenthood.
It covers topics such as pre-marital disclosure for dating couples, property rights and financial obligations for married couples, abortion, and maintenance and division of assets in the event of a divorce."
Lesson? Just one. I wonder, can you be over-prepared for marriage?
Nowadays, you go through a rigorous marriage preparation course for 3 to 6 months just to figure out whether you guys are compatible. These courses are mostly provided by religious organizations. The aim is to ensure that the excited newly wed-to-be know what they are entering into.
The course aims to be exhaustive covering such topics like dealing with conflicts and differences, how to reproduce, how to start a family, how to deal with children and disappointment, how to temper expectation, and how to grow old together and not apart.
Now, we have Jennifer's book dealing with knowing your property, division of assets, maintenance and parental rights in the event of a divorce (among other advice).
I guess we as concerned married-for-many-years couples have fulfilled an important part of our social responsibility to fortify the youth of our postmodern society with the requisite knowledge of what to expect in a supposedly destined marital covenant that is meant to last a lifetime.
Alas, while all efforts (and books) are laudably helpful, and they should all be congratulated for their earnest effort and they shouldn't stop doing so, the issue I see about marriage is that it is becoming less of a covenant, and more of a contractual term.
If I take Calvary as an example, it is a covenant of personal sacrifice based on unconditional love. Nowadays, newly wed enter into a commercial union with conditions based on feelings. Calvary counts the cost and bears the Cross. Marital unions of late bears the cross only if the cost is worth counting. Once the going gets tougher, the personal cross is first dragged along, and then cast aside.
And Calvary is about putting the object of your committed love first. S/he always comes first. You may disappoint at times because you are only human, but the covenantal first-port-of-call is to your spouse. You are first to self-reflect, first to say "I am sorry, dear", first to make things right, and first to protect the union with all you've got, and not take it for granted.
But nowadays, in a contractual exchange, when expectations are blown or at the second or third disappointment or when the goodwill and feelings of the wedding night run out or at the first or second siren call of temptation of a better and younger alternative or a fortunate twist of a career choice promising wealth and recognition, the spouse first gets distracted, weary, jaded, and then spent, and finally derail for good.
In my humblest view, for a marriage to last a lifetime, we must go back to basic, go back to putting the union first, go back to extolling it as a covenant of personal sacrifices, go back to our first love, and as a believer, go back to Calvary. Cheerz