MARRIAGE AND DIVORCE: It is a challenge from Day One
BEFORE I could enjoy my cup of morning coffee to start a good day, I read another high-profile divorce proceeding, this one filed by Katie Holmes to divorce Tom Cruise citing "irreconcilable differences" as the main reason.
Two days earlier, I read of two innocent lives, Faizal Khan, 9, and Aqsa Khan, 6, killed by their father before killing himself because of marriage problems.
Love is the strongest feeling that can bind two adults from different backgrounds to become a married couple. Unfortunately, this feeling tends to fade with time.
In the United States, the divorce rate has skyrocketed to 50 per cent. Malaysia crossed the 16 per cent mark and is moving up rapidly.
In Malaysia, there were 33,788 divorce cases in 2010. Are Malaysians getting married for the wrong reasons?
For a marriage to work well, both adults have to adopt the "give-and-take" maxim sincerely. No marriage is made in heaven. Once a couple is officially declared as husband and wife, the challenge starts and the longer the marriage lasts, the more challenges the couple has to face and tackle wisely.
Never act hastily, thinking a break-up could be a solution to an unhappy marriage. Never underestimate the collateral damage that children have to bear in a break-up.
When I was attending a new year's open house 25 years ago, conducted by one of my employers, I was a young man mingling with the so-called old timers at the gathering. While enjoying my drink with them, a prominent corporate figure uttered these words of wisdom: "A marriage wouldn't last without children."
I was then about to get married and those words made a deep impression on me.
Today, after celebrating my 23rd wedding anniversary, I certainly agree that children play an important role in bonding a family.
In my marriage, I have had many ups and downs, especially in the second decade when we had two children. It was patience and also the thought of the children's future that enabled us to cross one barrier after another, until now.
There are still more barriers that my wife and I have to cross patiently and wisely before we can reach the finishing line.
Too much or too little money can lead to unhappiness in a marriage. I believe compatibility is an important element that reduces friction in a marriage.
Youngsters, especially women, should not believe that marrying a rich man would lead them to a "happy ever after" life.
A healthy, responsible, and wise man can be a more reliable husband and a more responsible father.
Patrick Teh, Ipoh, Perak