According to the United Nation (2011), divorce is when a married pair decides to legally part ways in front of a court of law which then allows them to remarry later on. There is a constant increase of divorce in our society today, especially among younger couples, and the reasons to why have become a topic of great interest. Teachman (2002) supported the fact that couples who marry earlier in their life have a higher possibility of separation or divorce compared to the older generations. Didonato (2016) stated that couples who tie the knot below the age of 25 are 50% more likely to get divorced compared to couples 25 years old and above.
There are several researches that have been conducted in the West however, there is hardly any research done on the factors that affect divorce among Malaysians. The purpose of conducting this study is to investigate the factors that contribute towards the rise of divorce among Malaysians especially between the ages of 21-30. There is hardly any statistical data of divorce rates in Malaysia that is provided by the Malaysian government. According to TheSunDaily (2017), the statistics will only be made public by the end of this year (2018). The rises of divorce among Malaysian’s between the ages of 21-30 could due to age, financial status and a woman’s independence along with other contributing factors.
Dahl (2010) suggested that dropping out of high school to marry and begin a family can have several negative outcomes. One of the problems could just be due to age itself. DiDonato (2016) noted that couples who marry later on in life are more financially stable; they know themselves and what they want of life and have dated enough to know what they are looking for in a marriage. In other words, most couples who marry young do not really know what they want out of life, and quite so often just settle before even exploring and knowing what they want for their life let alone to start a family.
Teenagers hardly know what they want after they have graduated. There is evidence that marrying before 25 years old is connected to higher divorce rates. He suggested that “self-selection” is a component of the reason. As Wolfinger said “scholars have long known that youthful marriage is a string predictor of divorce” (2015) high school relationships give teenagers this exhilaration of being mature and finding “the one” which in turn may lead to “jealousy, insecurity, pressure from parents and friends, and tearful doubts about the future”. Most teenagers are not mature enough to be able to handle their thoughts and emotions in a proper manner; they are a bag of erupting hormones and just spill every bit of emotion they feel. Imagine, teenagers getting married with all these negative feelings just boiling on inside of them. It can be understood that most couples who legally wed before the ripe age of 25 lack the mellowness, managing dexterity and social maturity to build a strong and healthy marriage.
Early marriage, especially during the teenage years, has a higher divorce rate than when marrying in their 20s. It was clearly understood from Wolfinger (2015) that teenagers are constantly developing and changing compared to during early 20s and early 30s. Raising Children Network supported this suggestion as they found that a child’s brain does not stop developing until they reach their mid 20s (2016). This suggests that most children are not mature enough to make life changing decisions till they are at least 25 years old and above.
Found in the Conger Family Stress Model, financial tension affects marriage by its pressure and weight on married couples’s communications and relations. This statement was supported by Papp, Cummings and Goeke-Morey (2009) in their study where they discovered extreme and recurring arguing was about money. Other studies also found that economic distress is a prominent analyst of relationship excellence, even though prejudiced financial methods were frequently related to relationship measurements than point measures. In contrast, other researches could not discover any proof and verification that economic factors influence and destroy marriages. According to Conger, Elder et al (1990), the financial tension does manipulate the woman’s view on the marriage; however, it does have an encouraging effect towards a man’s enmity and unconstructive effect towards a man’s relationship tenderness.
Even though Conger, Elder et al. (1990) were worried about the suggestions of economic difficulties in marriages, it appeared logical to propose that the financial difficulties can influence living together as well. A research topic utilizing a mock-up of both couples who live together and married couples and came to discover that true family happiness was slightly related towards household revenue and financial stability. Brown (2003) also found that educational achievement encourages and supports constructive relationships between couples who live together. Ultimately, many other researchers have brought to light and discovered that financial stability is optimistically linked towards couples staying together, happily married.
The soaring increase of failed marriages and divorce that humanity is dealing with is believed, to a firm degree, to be associated with an elevated number of women in the work force. Becker (1991) declared that women’s participation in the occupational force is noteworthy to the extreme raise of divorce rate in the 1970s and 1980s. This is because women spend extra periods of time at work rather than doing housekeeping and looking after children and that makes them not as competent in dealing with house work. Furthermore, research completed by Liu and Vikat (2004) suggests that the participation of nuptial suspension is openly comparative to the fraction of divorce.
Malaysia is in face of the crisis of failed marriages and divorce as the rate of divorce has increased at about 105% throughout the interlude of about eight years commencing in 2002 until 2009. The Department of Islamic Development Board (JAKIM) exposed the most recent data in 2010 that an average of 77 Muslim couples end their marriages every day. This means that about three married couples get divorced every hour in Malaysia. JAKIM in 2009, also revealed that at least one divorce case was recorded every 15 minutes. In 2011, JAKIM also stated that 21 percent of six hundred fifty one thousand eight hundred and fifty one muslim couples who married between the year 2005 and 2010 had previously broken their matrimony within 5 years of matrimony. This is verified by JAKIM that one-third of married couples end their marriage at some stage in the initial five years of their nuptials. Young married couples between the ages of 31-35 years old have the uppermost rate of divorce in comparison to those of other ages who marry. Past researches have revealed that the age of marriage, degree of edification, the subsistence of offspring and place of dwelling are amongst the noteworthy aspects that add towards the possibility of nuptial dissolution. It appears like the occurrence of divorce is predictable as humanity is moving in the direction of globalization. The way the public views divorce and divorcees has been changing as people are becoming more tolerant and consider that divorce is the greatest choice to exit out of a difficult and challenging marriage for an improved and happier existence in the future rather than being inside an unhappy marriage.
Farzanegan and Gholipour concluded that the rates of divorce among Iranians are controlled by economic reasons (2014). The majority of Iranians who filed for divorce were due to little life contentment from the increase of property and homes. Couples who were faced with these difficulties found it difficult to accomplish shared perception ensuing in the beginning of the end of their marriage. The National Organization of Iran concluded that there are sixteen filed divorce cases per hour. Also, a great number of divorces are among young couples below the age of thirty. It also found that husbands who do not work and contribute towards family and house expenses are a big cause of failed marriages and divorce.
The economic recession between 2008 and 2011 was the main cause of divorce in America. The recession created stress and strain on individuals which in turn caused marital problems. According to Cohen (2014), factors like employment layoff, house foreclosure, pay cuts and paucity contribute and can usually be the cause of divorce.
In Europe, especially in England and Wales, divorce is heavily influenced by the age of marriage. Lampard (2013) found that women are most likely to experience “marriage dissolution” if they marry young. Marrying young does not allow the couple sufficient time to choose their partner wisely, which may then cause frequent disagreement that leads to arguments. This is caused by the absence of experience and permanence in a young woman’s socio-economic repute. However, the results also show that women who marry at a later age have an increased divorce rate as well. It was found that women who are educated and already have a stable and reliable job before marriage have a higher rate of divorce later on. Lampard (2013) believed that the expectations of a well-educated and successful woman of her husband are high and they expect their men to be as equals to them. If the husband does not meet the standards and expectations of the woman, it most likely leads to failed marriages.
Furthermore, individuals who have issues with managing their feelings can also lead towards failed marriages. Paola and Gioia (2014) believed that women who are intolerant, edgy, easily annoyed usually end up in failed marriages. Moreover, they suggested that fortitude and tolerance are the answers towards a healthier and happier marriage. If the pair is both intolerant and easily annoyed it affects the quality of their marriage. Their study also showed that couples who have higher earnings and live within the city have a higher rate of divorce compared to couple who lived in the countryside and had lower earnings. They also found that if women earned more than men, this will most likely also lead towards divorce.
In Japan, it was found that most divorces were due to the dissimilarity in edification among marital couples. Raymo, Fukuda and Iwasawa (2013) claimed that the divorce rate was higher among married couples where the women do not have a good education and lack the skills required for a better paying job. This in turn leads to smaller number of job openings and makes the women more financially strained. This leads towards the women leaning on their husbands for financial support. Amato (2010) had the same opinion that edification features have a significant effect on marriages. He also found that individuals who had higher education were more likely to have stronger and lasting marriages. In contrast, there have also been instances where women with higher education get divorced but it is not very common. Raymo, Fukuda and Iwasawa (2013) also found that women who have higher education but do not have good careers and cannot support their family and house tend to divorce.
Also, divorce is very common among second time marriages as well because most individuals do not learn from their first marriage and do not improve their communication or relationship skills to better the marriage. Whitton et al. (2013) claimed that individuals who do not improve or change their mistakes and weaknesses that they experienced in their first marriage can also lead to problems in the second marriage that may lead to divorce as well. Hosegood, McGrath and Moultrie (2009) found that between the 2000 and 2006 marriages in the rural Kwazulu in South Africa were influenced by the apartheid guiding principle and work immigration. Most marriages among the people of South Africa were deemed unsuccessful because a number of them are not able to discover contentment within the marriage they have built. The marriage that they had built lacked stability. This could have been caused by the social and political constitutions that sometimes cause direct or indirect distress among the South Africans. As there is an increase of women who work in South Africa, women do not need to rely on men or their husbands to help buy necessities and pay the bills. It can be seen that in today’s modern era, the role of husband and wife has changed a lot and that it does cause a dramatic change in the role of marriage as well.
It can be seen in Malaysia that the rate of divorces are increasing every day. Reasons to the rise of said cases are due to individuals or the couple together. In 2008, Chlen and Sarif found that in agreement with the laws of Malaysia, couples can divorce only if one or both have committed adultery, domestic violence and abuse and treating each other in an uncivilised way.
Moreover, Chlen and Sarif (2008) found that the multiracial Malaysian society divorce due to the causes. The reasons include, changing religion, loss of love and feeling of romanticism and emotional issues. The reasons stated are not the only issues that cause marriage failure; issues with communication, having trouble following the law, issues in bed (ie: sexual intercourse), issues with drugs and alcohol, inconsistency in their place of work, young marriage and issues with health are also some of the many other contributing factors towards failed marriages and divorce.
In conclusion, there are several factors that contribute towards failed marriages and divorce. It can be seen that the factors that influence marriages vary from country to country and that there is hardly any research done in Malaysia to understand the undermining cause of divorce among Malaysians between the ages of 21-30. More research should be conducted to analyze and find the rooted causes of failed marriages to hopefully be able to help Malaysians identify the causes of marriage dissolution and then further research can be conducted towards finding solutions to help couples reach their relationship goals and not be intimidated or scared to make the marriage work.
This study summarises the issues faced by other countries along with a little bit of knowledge regarding the factors affecting the rate of divorce in Malaysia especially among the youth at between the ages of 21-30. Marriage failure and divorce can be caused by the age of marriage, educational level, financial stability, maturity and many other contributing factors. After going through details and past researches, it is very difficult to find any research done that focuses toward the rate of divorce among Malaysians between the ages of 21-30 years of age.
As the highest rate of divorce in Malaysia is among the younger generation, more studies need to be conducted to find out the actual factors that contribute towards the constant increase of divorcees in Malaysia.