In response to Li Dan Yue’s letter “How to make marriages work” (Nov 8) and Ada Chan Siew Foen’s “Address reasons behind failed marriages” (Forum Online; Oct 30), one of the key reasons for weak, failing and failed marriages is the lack of affection between a couple. This can often drive couples to look for affection outside of their marital relationships.
If we want to safeguard and strengthen our marriages, we need to understand that affection for each other does not appear automatically but must be developed over time with tender loving care.
Happily married couples often say that one of the key ingredients to success in their relationships is the strong friendship between them. If you find that there is a lack of affection in your marriage, work on areas that will strengthen your friendship with each other. If you have issues in your marriage, discuss about them openly and remember not to talk behind each other’s backs.
It is important not to sweep any unresolved anger between the two of you under the carpet. If you are unable to resolve your issues on your own, do seek assistance from a professional marital counsellor. Spare no effort to develop and consistently nurture a best-friend relationship with your spouse.
You must also address your own needs and your spouse’s needs for affection. None of us are ‘affair-proof’ but when your affection needs are met by each other, you will naturally strengthen your resolve to stay faithful to your spouse and be less vulnerable to seeking out an affair.
Finally, if you find yourself in an ‘affection-starved’ marriage, it will help to set very clear boundaries in your professional and social relationships. Remember that even if your spouse is comfortable with your friendship with a particular person of the opposite sex, it pays to carefully evaluate the emotional condition of that person and check if he or she has any unmet needs and desires that could be a set-up for an unwanted affair between the two of you.
There is always hope for our marriages to work out, but we do need to work very hard at building and strengthening our marriages. Couples who have stayed happily married for the long-haul and stuck by each other through the good times and the bad have gained much more than they have lost.
Content Specialist (Marriage)
Focus on the Family Singapore