The 2013 Budget released last week has its fair share of debates; but I found myself pondering with the 83% of single respondents in Singapore’s 2012 Marriage and Parenthood Study who indicated that they desired to get married. These respondents also indicated that saving money for housing and wedding, young age and career aspirations as some of the key reasons why they had no immediate plans for marriage. Currently, the national median age for first time grooms in Singapore is about 30 years and first time brides, 28 years.
As I thought over this issue, I recalled what Assoc. Prof. Mark Regenerus from the University of Texas-Austin’s sociology department wrote in one of his articles; he was suggesting that “most young Americans no longer think of marriage as a formative institution, but rather as the institution they enter once they think they are fully formed.” Are our young adults in Singapore thinking the same?
Most of us parents, advise our children to delay marriage until they are financially secure. But really, are we giving this advice because we’ve set our minds on a particular lifestyle that we desire for our kids? May I challenge you to consider that it is through trials and adversaries (including financial ones) that young couples grow and bond. As parents, have we considered that we could give our young couples a little help as they set out in their journey of marriage? Not that we become their crutch, but wouldn’t generous and compassionate help from parents serve to encourage our children at the onset of their journey as a married couple?
We all know that maintaining a good marriage involves a good amount of hard work. Delaying marriage with the idea that it’s going to be fine weather once you’re ‘economically stable’ is almost like believing in a fairy tale. Challenges within a marriage usually start immediately; sometimes even before the honeymoon!
Marriage goes beyond just the beautiful wedding ceremony; and us, parents, need to be mindful not to add our children’s wedding ceremonies to the gamut of ‘social contests’ we sometimes play – prestige, social norms, saving face, etc. Marriage is too serious a matter to be treated as such. Would we consider celebrating the most important moment of our children’s lives in a more consecrated and moderate manner to help them get on with the real journey sooner?
Would these then help our children to embark on this exciting journey of marriage earlier on than later as we did not too long ago?
Mr Lim Yu Ming
Focus on the Family Singapore
Online discussion on this may be found at:
- Making sense of marrying early:
- Seize-the-day attitude not for marriage:
- Get volunteers to push ‘marry early’ message:
The letter investigated into and written by Julie Samuel but submitted under Yu Ming’s name as it was more appropriate for him to front this topic.