SENIOR family law practitioner and National Population and Family Development Board (LPPKN) pre-marriage course facilitator Pushpa Ratnam says pre-marriage courses can help identify various areas which can be troubled in the initial stages of marriage.
"Firstly, we identified that couples have various expectations of each other and when these aren't related to the other it leads to a very pretentious relationship, ultimately causing the marriage to break down.
"One of the things we always tell couples is that they shouldn't try to change their partner. Unfortunately, one party inevitably tries to change the other and when they don't succeed it leads to nagging. The usual problems involve men who come back late and women who spend too much time in their parents' house.
"We need to teach married couples to accept each other. It's not wrong to have expectations, but there needs to be some form of compromise.
"Another problematic area is finance. Many newly-weds find that they're spending more money after marriage than before. Many wonder why they are swiping their credit card more than their spouse.
"Many also find themselves in the situation where one party spends lavishly. A good rule of thumb is if one party is thinking about spending more than RM500 on an item, it must be discussed with the other first.
"Sex is another area which can lead to arguments and dissatisfaction. Watching porn is one of the reasons some wives cite as the cause of a marriage breakdown. 'I can't take it when he sits down on the sofa and watches those movies', some clients have complained. How can both parties be comfortable with each other? Those are the things which should be ironed out before they walk down the aisle.
"We also advise clients to be adventurous with each other. Small things like foreplay in the morning or flirting with your spouse can help strengthen a marriage. And it should not be just the man who initiates.
"A husband and wife relationship needs a lot of nurturing. We often teach young couples that marriage is a reservoir of love. If you keep pumping your marriage with lots of love and affection, no amount of arguing will be able to break it. Marriage is a very wholesome union where both parties need to love, trust, understand and work with each other. If you are not able to do that, things will definitely go wrong."