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lpc1998 - 09:25am Nov 17, 2000 SGT (87.)
Monogamy is the Root Cause of Divorce.

As a monogamous society since the enactment of the Women Charter, bigamy and polygamy are illegal in Singapore with effect from 15 September 1961. So it is clear to all who want to re-marry for whatever reasons to get themselves divorced first. Of course, few who want to re-marry would tell their spouses or declare to the whole world that they are divorcing their spouses for the purpose of re-marrying which is also not a ground for divorce. In so doing, they would lose out not only in the divorce settlement terms, but also they would look bad in the eyes of family and friends. They have to make themselves the “aggrieved” parties. Having lived for years with their spouses at close quarters, it would not be too difficult for them to spot their spouse’s weaknesses and exploit them creatively. Once the unsuspecting spouses with ruined reputations are pushed into a mistake that is a ground for divorce, they can then go to the court to have the marriage dissolved with favourable divorce settlement terms. This may explain why some couples quarrel intensely non-stop over almost very thing and are not amenable to reason.

Some people are unable to trap their spouses this way, because they love them and the children. However, when their defences against adultery are overrun these “fallen” spouses would then have to face the wrath and the bitterness of their enraged and “betrayed” spouses. They are despised by family and friends and have poor divorce settlement terms. Such is the irony of life. The strength of the defences against adultery depends primarily on the foundation of the marriage, the state of the relationship between the spouses and the time, energy and resources invested in the defences.

Furthermore, monogamy and monopoly are sisters. Whatever monopoly does to the economy, monogamy does to marriage. The same sense of security and complacency for want of real competition makes a married couple take each other for granted and neglect to take good care of their marriage and nourish it well especially when they are busy with their jobs and careers and over children. This is made worse by the marriage vows that enhance this false sense of security. So many marriages is almost emotionally and spiritually dead within five years. Marriages then drag on for social, religious and/or legal reasons such as providing a “normal” home for the children, obeying the commandments of God or gods, making joint payments of mortgage installments for the home, ensuring observance of property and legal rights and obligations, and for family, social and religious functions. It may still look good from the outside.

Marriage is actually made up of three separate and independent components: the “life”, social and legal components. The “life” component is the emotional and spiritual part of marriage; the social component gives it its colours and beauty and the legal component is the structure of marriage. An emotionally and spiritually dead marriage is like a beautiful seashell you sometimes come across on the seashore. Yes, beautiful, but cold and unfeeling. It has brilliant colours on the outside of a solid structure, but the life in it has long been gone.

In mature monogamies, especially where adultery is illegal or a sin, many people get in and out of marriage like checking in and out of hotels. They have learnt that it is too time consuming and painful to play the “aggrieved” party since almost everybody knows the game. Only the rich have to exercise special care because of the divorce settlement terms. They have invented the pre-nuptial agreements. There is some empirical evidence of this here in Singapore. If you go to the private condominiums where there is a large expatriate community from the developed western countries, it is not difficult to spot old men with young local wives and little children. These old men appear to be 1-2 times older than their wives. It cannot be that all of them are widowers since women generally live longer than men. Some of them must have divorced their wives (and not necessarily the first wife) in their home countries to marry the local girls.

In such societies, the phrase “till death do us part” or its equivalent in the marriage vows is seen as a form of lifetime guarantee. Like all lifetime guarantees available in the market place, the guarantee is for the life of the product and not for the life of the buyer. In the case of marriage, it is for the “life” of the marriage and not for the natural lives of the marrying individuals.

In this posting, words importing the masculine gender only shall include the feminine gender and vice versa as the case may require.

Best Regards.

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