By the time this column comes out, the commotion stirred by yet another disclosure of a TV-actress/former presidential daughter about her marriage will have died down. The revelation was made on national television on Sunday. The following day, everyone from strangers sharing the same space in the elevator to bank tellers (while efficiently facilitating multiple bank transactions, I might add) and friends were all a-buzz over the news.
The news didn’t come as much of a surprise. Most of us had stayed glued to our TV sets years ago as the same TV personality laid out all her dirty laundry for the country to see. The much-remembered detail of this confession was that she had contracted a sexually transmitted disease as a result of this particular affair—that, and the fact that she had been physically abused by her then-boyfriend, a detail that most glossed over.
I won’t state the obvious—she should have used condoms or that she should know better and lay off the men who dribble balls already.
The proposal of women’s party list group 1-Ako Babaeng Astig Aasenso (1-ABAA) to place expiration dates on marriage contracts has piqued a lot of interest and controversy.
Specifically, 1-ABBA is proposing to mandate a 10-year limit on the validity of a marriage contract. According to the party’s spokesman, their purpose is “to spare incompatible couples the expense of lengthy legal proceedings before their marriages are annulled.”
In this scenario, the marriage contract would be just like any other contract made in business venture or merger if you will. And upon reaching the 10-year limit, the marriage license would require a renewal much like a passport or a driver’s license. If one does not wish to renew, they would have the option not to.
This option is a lot less bloody that the current practice of getting an annulment which is draining on one’s finances and emotional wellbeing. The judicial process can drag on for years. And ultimately, the final call lays solely in the hands of a judge, who based on the evidence, will decide whether or not to grant an annulment.
It is still baffling that whilst two people can come together in a marriage voluntarily, with only their personal choice being the deciding factor, the same logic cannot be applied in the dissolving of a union for whatever reason.
1-ABBA’s proposal is a practical solution to a plaguing problem about annulment cases clogging the courts, partners staying in loveless shams of marriages because other options are beyond their reach. It is a matter of giving one a right to choose who to spend the rest of their life with—a right that is strangled and stifled in this country; one of two remaining countries in the universe where divorce does not exist.
1-ABBA’s objective is not to mock the sanctity of marriage.
The desecration of marital vows is best exemplified by extra-marital affairs and abusive spouses (this goes for both men and women) who interpret “death do us part” as license to make life on earth a living hell instead of a pleasant existence.
Of course, there are other details that would be interesting to find out—such as what happens if one party wants to renew the license and the other does not. And what about children and other mutual assets acquired during the marriage—important factors that for sure will be fodder for discussion.
Divorce, in my opinion, would be the best-case scenario. But for as long as that continues to be an elusive dream denied by the Catholic Church and their legislative supporters to all Filipinos regardless of religious beliefs, the proposal to renew marriage licenses may be the next best thing.
In any case, at the very least, a 10-year limit on the renewal of marriage licenses just might save us from yet another long and drawn out confession and showcase of soiled linens on national television. Even the juicy, sordid details don’t diminish the fact that we’ve seen this before; that this is a replay with the same damsel in distress again disillusioned by a different man who also happens to be a ball dribbler.
In the meantime, while waiting for the outcome on 1-ABBA’s proposal, may be my friend’s idea have a great deal of potential. Having recently gotten into a new relationship, she still refuses to call her paramour her “boyfriend.” As she explains it, she has imposed a probationary period after which she will decide whether or not to “regularize” him. And until then, full relationship benefits are withheld.
Hang your laundry and air out your thoughts.