Jade Seah

By the age of 28, most women in Singapore would have gotten hitched, according to Statistics on Marriages and Divorces, 2020 by the Department of Statistics. So, if she’s not married (or planning to marry) by then, a woman is very often made to feel like she’s “left on the shelf”.

As someone who got married at 32, I find this really disturbing and disappointing: Why should a woman’s self-worth be tied to her marital status?

I think it’s more important to find out why a woman wants to be married. Does it reflect one’s attractiveness, desirability and value (and the implied lack thereof, if single)? Does it express a wish to conform, especially in a world where most are coupled up and the thought of being alone can be too much to bear?

This is not a diss on marriage. My parents have been happily married for more than 40 years, and they’ve shown me how joyful having the right partner can be. It’s backed up by research too: Being happily married can make one healthier. Being unhappily married, on the other hand, can ruin one’s health.

The point I am trying to make here is: Please do not rush into marriage.

I have seen many friends hurry into marriage for various reasons: to buy a flat, to please their folks, to move on to “the natural next step”. They ended up losing their government flat – and a substantial sum of money – when they realised too late that the guy wasn’t The One.

If there’s something we can learn from studies about the benefits of marriage, it’s that we don’t need to rush to find a life partner. After all, only those who are in marriages where spouses consider each other their best friend end up significantly happier. Your well-being improves from having a meaningful relationship with your partner, not just because you are known as “married”.

So, never let your family, friends, society or a perceived sense of urgency pressure you into settling down. And here’s some sensible advice: Don’t marry someone you can live with; only settle down with one you can’t live without.

This story first appeared in the September 2021 issue of Her World.