Wednesday, March 30, 2016

NOT DIVORCED BUT GRADUATING FROM MARRIAGE

Shojiro Shindo and his wife Kimiko on
a trip to Nagasaki Prefecture in 2013
I learned a new word today - 'sotsukon'. It's a Japanese word that means 'graduation from marriage'. (Read the interview with Shojiro, 71. He and his wife Kimiko, 69, are happy with their 'sotsukon'. The Japan News)

When the children have grown and flown the family nest, longtime married couples go through a period of re-adjustment. It's make-or-break time for the relationship. The marriage either strengthens as the couple have more time for each other, or crumble as they constantly bicker and get on each other's nerves.

Blessed are couples that have remained loving, caring and committed to their marriage vows. Unfortunately, marital break-ups among older couples seem to be the norm these days. In the US, more than half of all gray divorces are to couples in first marriages. Indeed, 55 percent of gray divorces are between couples who’d been married for more than 20 years. (Washington Post)

Gray divorce on the rise in S.Korea
Gray divorces are on the rise, even in Asia. And it's usually the women who initiate the divorce. (AARP). As late as the 1980s, it was unthinkable for a woman to seek a divorce. How would she support herself? Besides, a divorce meant telling the world that her marriage was a failure. That would be such a loss of face.

Today, Asian women are no longer afraid to seek a divorce as they are able to fend for themselves financially. Society has also become more accepting of divorce.

For those who do not want to go through a messy and often expensive divorce, there is 'sotsukon'. This is not the same as 'estranged' which implies the couple living separately on unfriendly terms. In 'sotsukon', the couple lead separate lives but remain in touch, and still enjoy activities together.


'Sotsukon' is gaining popularity in Japan, and why not. It's the perfect compromise for couples who still have some affection for each other, but want to have the freedom to pursue their own interests and lifestyle.

Expect 'sotsukon' to catch on too in Malaysia and Singapore.

2 comments:

Antares said...

Wow, we were ahead of our time! :)

Michael Manago said...

I also learned a new word, too. I find this article informative as I didn't know that oldies are still prone to split ways with someone they've lived for so long.

I can't however appreciate it because I am a widower. Even if my wife is still alive, it would be unthinkable to split ways after having successfully raised our two wonderful children - http://www.agewithcharm.com/