Divorce vs Marriage Rate in Malaysia
by Kritik News Team | 21 Oct 2021
Everyone wishes to have a marriage made in heaven. Some people believe that marriage is their ultimate goal, the union of two people’s love, and even a gateway to their happy endings in this life. But little did they know that their marriage would be tested on a whole new level by an unseen, tiny but deadly virus, called COVID-19, causing their sturdy marriage to crumble. But should we let the COVID-19 pandemic took all the blame?
Based on the Marriage and Divorce Statistics conducted by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, show that the number of marriages and the Crude Marriage Rate (CMR) have decreased by 1.2% from 206,352 in 2018 to 203,821 in 2019. As a result, the CMR decreased from 6.4 (2018) to 6.3 (2019) per thousand population. Even though the Crude Marriage Rate (CMR) for the years 2020 and 2021 has not yet been updated, the ease with which most Malay people have chosen to marry during the restriction order may indicate that the marriage rate is likely to rise dramatically. However, that assumption is baseless because, with the announcement of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in 2020, the Government has suspended marriage registration and divorce filings during the MCO’s period.
© 2020 Department of Statistics Malaysia Official Website
The divorces increased 12.0 percent between 2018 and 2019, from 50,862 in 2018 to 56,975 in 2019, contributing to an increase in CDR from 1.6 (in 2018) to 1.8 (in 2019) per thousand population. According to the statistics from the Courts and the Syariah Judiciary Department, approximately 80,000 divorce cases were filed in Malaysian courts during the COVID-19 pandemic period, which lasted from March 2020 to August 2021. With 12,479 Muslims and 3,169 non-Muslims involved, Selangor has the highest number of divorces. This suggests that the pandemic COVID-19 is taking its toll on the rising number of Malaysian divorcees.
But why do divorces occur after they have made vows to marry each other? Don’t they love each other anymore?
© 2020 Department of Statistics Malaysia Official Website
The events of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 have intensified all of the usual marriage stressors, from worrying about your own and your loved ones’ health to enduring increasing financial instability. Well, all relationships have some level of conflict, and it’s normal to argue more during stressful times. However, COVID-19 has added fuel to the fire, making the marriage life issue worsen day by day, especially during the lockdown.
Pandemic acrimony has resulted in a few more fights over dirty clothes, dirty dishes, and savings accounts for some couples. While others have been left wondering about their options for pursuing separation during the pandemic, as lockdown has revealed deeper issues and provided ample time for reflection.
The Effects of Covid-19 on Relationships
Financial stress, boredom, conflicts about parenting, and bickering about domestic tasks are routinely ranked as the most common sources of relationship difficulties by relationship counsellors. With so many couples stranded at home, home-schooling their children, and facing an uncertain financial future, it’s no surprise that the coronavirus pandemic is straining already troubled relationships. Even strong couples who were not experiencing problems before the pandemic and avoided major changes in household health or dynamics may be vulnerable to break-ups and divorces due to financial difficulties during the pandemic.
People becoming unemployed, furloughed, or receiving lower paychecks leads to an increase in marital instability. Reduced income raises the possibility of relationship strain due to disagreements about how to prioritize different types of consumption, and psychological strain raises the possibility of relationship strain, resulting in lower relationship quality due to worries about how to make ends meet.
Furthermore, access to support systems has become increasingly difficult. It’s just not possible right now to vent to friends over coffee or go out for a night on the town. If you’ve been using these outlets to cope with stress or to avoid dealing with more serious issues, you might find yourself in a situation where you have to face your differences head-on.
Given this, it’s no surprise that many couples have reached their breaking point.
The majority of divorce applications from newlyweds are on the rise, owing to the fact that pandemic is one of their major marriage challenges. Moreover, the collective disaster response curve, a model that charts the phases through which a community moves in the aftermath of trauma, is one way of understanding this timeline. The curve depicts an increase in energy and a sense of community cohesion in the aftermath of a disaster—this is the “We’ll get through this together!” phase of disaster response. Disillusionment and depression can set in after a few weeks when the energy wears off. Couples may encounter difficulties during this time.
When people are under stress from outside causes, it is more difficult for them to solve the problem within their relationships, and they may unknowingly take this tension out on each other. It is important to remember that tensions can escalate into violence in the most serious cases. As a result of prolonged lockdowns, children and adolescents, particularly girls, are subjected to increased violence and abuse. This may result in mental health issues among spouses, which are also linked to the pandemic COVID-19.
Previously, spouses could have a brief break from their partner by going to work, and being apart for a short time can rekindle their love for each other. However, being in lockdown, seeing each other for an extended period, or even evading one’s personal time and space could have heightened the stress level. Having a disproportionate share of the responsibility for handling children for homeschooling, doing housework, and working from home causes anger, resentment, and hatred among spouses. Handling everything alone is extremely exhausting because they must struggle to organize time beyond the “bare necessities” of part-time work and childcare during the lockdown.
What actions can we take to avoid this?
Communication is the key to any relationship. Communicate your problems with your spouse even though the matters seem trivial at first, but if they are kept bottled up, they will burst and explode into pain and agony someday. Sometimes, it is important to seek professional consultation. Seek the advice of a marriage counsellor. Don’t keep the unresolved issues between you and your spouse, just because divorce is a taboo subject. If you are a victim of domestic violence, seek help and report the violence to a Social Welfare Officer or a Police Officer.
Although acknowledging actual, substantive problems in a marriage can be a frightening experience, it is also a crucial and optimistic turning point on the path to a healthy future. One of the pandemic’s bright spots maybe that it prompts a reflection on priorities and what truly matters, defining when separation is the healthiest and wisest road forward for two individuals.
Never in a million years would anyone have imagined that when a person marries, they will become part of the divorce statistic. It may feel daunting to make the decision to end a marriage, especially when life has been disrupted by the pandemic at the same time, it doubles up the difficulties. However, before filing for divorce, it is critical to determine the best path for you and your family and to consider divorce as a last resort in your solution options. If you can muster the courage to face this pandemic with your spouse, you will undoubtedly be able to face any adversities that may arise in the future. Instead of straining our families, may this pandemic strengthen us and bring us closer together as a family. Stay safe!
Mahidin, M. U. (2019). Marriage And Divorce Statistics, Malaysia, 2019. Department of Statistics, Malaysia.
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