The Heart of Marriage

What is the heart of marriage?

From a divorce lawyer’s perspective, as much as marriage is an institution and an arrangement where two individuals work together to build up a family and a nest egg, it is also one which at the heart of it must contain an element of love and desire. It is not a professional or a working relationship, and at the end of the day, if husband and wife decide that they no longer have any desire for each other, this becomes a real problem between them.

Many years back as a young divorce lawyer, whilst dealing with a case where parties had not had any conjugal relationship for 3-4 years, my lady boss baldly stated a fact to me: that in general men needed to have their sexual needs met every few days, and she found it quite suspicious that the husband and wife slept in separate bedrooms and did not have any conjugal relationship for 3-4 years. We obtained a Private Investigator’s report and found out that the husband was indeed having an affair.

The fact is, generally, when the husband no longer has any desire for the wife, it is not a case of simply “growing old and comfortable”. It may also be a case that the husband has a desire for a third party.

I may have ruffled a few feathers by saying this. But this is also not always true.

Truth be told, many couples, and especially on the part of the wives grow very comfortable, and in fact too comfortable in a marriage relationship which they believe is “ever after”. The proverbial depiction of a wife becoming dowdy and a nag after marriage, instead of the pretty and charming girl during courtship is true in some cases.

The fact is, one should never take one’s partner for granted. In order to safeguard one’s marriage, one should always try to think of your marriage in terms of a contract. If your husband agrees to buy a certain product for example, and then the product turns out to be different after a while, will he not lose interest in the marriage and say that he had made a mistake, and say that the “scales” have fallen from his eyes, and he now see all the flaws in the wife and problems with the marriage relationship?

I am not simply talking about the physical aspect of a married couple’s “looks”. I am also talking about the way in which one treats one’s spouse. Indeed, there are observations made of how some couples wind up wearing matching cartoon T-shirts, and call each other “Mummy” and “Daddy”. Perhaps we moderns should take a leaf from the marriages of old, in which there is some delineation of the space and the roles of husband and wife, and mutual respect and therefore, not couples fused together as an indiscriminate and indistinguishable pair.

It is alright to grow comfortable in a marriage. Just not too comfortable, like a cinema chair in which one falls asleep. In the words of the author CS Lewis when talking about his brief marriage, “For those few years H. and I feasted on love; every mode of it — solemn and merry, romantic and realistic, sometimes as dramatic as a thunderstorm, sometimes as comfortable and unemphatic as putting on your soft slippers. No cranny of heart or body remained unsatisfied.”

May this description of marriage be true in your marriage or future marriage relationship.

Written by Grace Tan, Senior Associate, Golden Law LLC