More S’pore Couples End Their Marriages Before 10-Year Mark Due To Career & Family Stress

MSF Study Finds Marriages Between Recently-Wed Couples More Likely To End

It’s a joyous affair when couples make the commitment to wed. But over the course of a marriage, they may realise that staying together is not what’s best for them.

A report by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) found that more couples are getting divorced, especially those who were married more recently.


Most marriages dissolve between the 5th and 10th wedding anniversary mark due to the stress of building a career and a family.

Marriages between couples in recent years more likely to end

To analyse the marriage stability in Singapore, MSF tracked 29 cohorts of couples who wed between 1987 and 2015.

The data revealed that marriages were more likely to come apart among those who were married more recently compared to those who were married for a longer period of time.

Among the 2006 marriage cohort, 16% of marriages dissolved before the 10th anniversary. This is nearly double of the 8.7% in the 1987 marriage cohort.

Similarly, 21.1% of marriages in 2001 had dissolved before their 15th anniversary compared to 12.3% of marriages in 1987.

More dual-income couples lead to financial conflicts

The Straits Times (ST) reports that social workers attribute this to increased family stress, especially as more couples are now dual-income.

This means that both partners hold jobs.

couples marriages endImage for illustration purposes

With careers and family to balance, this can put couples in a poorer position to resolve financial and caregiving conflicts.

In unhappy marriages, couples are more likely to want out, causing higher rates of divorce amongst more recently married couples.

Less stigma towards divorce

Shifting perceptions and less stigma towards divorce as well as poor conflict management skills are also important factors.

A spokesperson from Care Corner Singapore told ST that in the 80s, people were more apprehensive about divorce due to worries of life after divorce, and financial reasons.

To add on, National University of Singapore (NUS) sociology professor Tan Ern Ser also told ST that younger couples are also less bound to tradition as well as the idea that marriage is a lifetime commitment.

Separations due to family and career stress

The MSF report also found that most marriages dissolve between the 5th to 10th wedding anniversary.

For couples who wed in 2001, 6.4% ended their marriage in less than five years compared to 9.6% between the five and ten year mark. Comparatively, 5.1% ended their marriage between the 10th and 15th year mark.

This could be because couples married for 5 to 10 years are more likely to have young children.

couples marriages endSource

They will be faced with challenges of balancing career development and raising a family.

According to ST, a Fei Yue Community Services spokesperson felt that this is when many stressors come into play, resulting in higher divorce rates.

In light of this, the life stages of adulting, coupling, and parenting need to be strengthened.

Marriage is a commitment between a couple

Nobody enters a marriage thinking it will one day come to an end but sometimes, couples may choose to part ways due to life stressors or irreconcilable differences.

At the end of a day, marriage is a commitment between 2 people.

Hopefully, when individuals are better equipped with the right tools to manage stress, relationships, and family, a better understanding can be forged between couples.

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Featured image adapted from American Psychological Association.

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