MALAYSIA — Many marriages end in divorce, but not all of these breakups are inevitable. There’s the frequent case in which two spousescouldsave the marriage if they wanted to, but they either don’t have any faith left in therelationshipor don’t want to put in the work necessary to save a marriage. Is there a way to spur couples on to a path to reconciliation?
The Malaysian state government thinks so. Last week, they announced a new program intended to stabilize and even lower Malaysia’s high divorce rate. They’re teaming up with the Family and Community Development Council to offer a free second honeymoon to any couple on the brink of divorce who wants to save their marriage relationship.
“We hope through this package couples will treasure their marital ties and avoid separation or divorce,” a state official told Malaysian newspaperThe Starlast week.
According to the paper, the government of Malaysia tried out a test program in which a number of estranged couples received a free three-day, two-night honeymoon package. Each of the packages cost the equivalent of $440 (U.S.). Many a couple involved did indeed save their marriage.
This pilot program proved so successful that the nation now plans to implement the second-honeymoon program for real. Eligible for the package would be “couples whose marital problems continued to persist despite [their] having gone through thecounseling process,” according toThe Star.
State officials in Malaysia feel that communication problems are the frequent cause of a relationship or marriage breakdown. A free second honeymoon would give each couple a chance to mend their relationship by getting to know each other’s needs and boundaries again.
Malaysia’s highdivorce rateis most prevalent among young couples, although marriages that are 20 or more years old are also breaking up at a rising rate.
It sounds weird, but maybe they’re on to something. After all, a marriage tends to be at its closest and spiciest during the honeymoon. If other countries follow Malaysia’s example, we might even see a renaissance in the esteemed value in the long-term marriage relationship.