“WHAT therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6).
Strictly speaking the above biblical verse refers to sacramental marriages administered in the Church by priests or pastors. Purely legal marriages are administered by Mayors, Judges, Captains of the ship, and other non-religious legalized persons to perform such task. These non-sacramental marriages are not in the ambit of “What God has joined together.” Since that is the case, this opinion-writer would favor a divorce law covering only purely legal marriages. What do you think?
This kind of divorce, in my thinking will even promote sacramental marriages. Why? Let me explain. Filipino single women and parents not in favor of divorce, will surely reject any marriage proposal that will be covered by such law. Reverse psychology will promote or favor sacramental marriages over legal marriages, “Di ba?”
No doubt about it, that many married tax-paying Filipinos want a divorce law enacted. Hence, why not enact one that will cover only purely legal marriages to satisfy their desire without disobeying (even promoting) God’s law? We strongly suspect that with this kind of divorce law, many legally married Filipino will want or be compelled to pursue Church’s marriage. Social pressure will most probably be exerted to go for sacramental marriages with such a divorce law. Such “out of the box” proposition should seriously be considered by our Church instead of outright rejection and result to a divorce law that will be opposed to God’s law. Think hard of it my fellow Christians.
Yours truly is a product of a legally divorced parents. During the Japanese occupation a divorce law was introduced in the Philippines. My parents took advantage of this for reason of which I really don’t know. “Basta hindi raw sila magkasundo.” Thus, I grew up without my father in the house of my mother’s parents. When my mother passed away, my only brother and I joined our father who works then in Cotabato but with residence in Davao City.
How did the legal separation of our parents affect my brother and I? Well there were some disadvantages but we were able to manage with the help of our mother’s parents and later with our father’s assistance. All is well that ends well with my brother and I. However, I vowed to myself then that when I get married, this must really be “until death to us apart.” And that’s what our marriage is thank God, “hanggang kamatayan.” Yes, we admit that we had encountered some difficulties but because we placed our marriage in the hands of God we were able to overcome these. This is the surest formula of a successful marriage.
Now let’s talk of “divorce-proof” marriage, relationships more difficult to break by divorce. Some call this “covenant marriage.” It had been noted that despite the “many organizations and program that had been established to strengthen marriages and families, the results are limited and not overly encouraging. Marriages rearing shall continue.”
Placing your marriage in the hands of God would mean “clear understanding of God’s purpose for marriage and family. It is important to know the primary reason people experience problems in these areas, and practical things you can do to strengthen your marriage and family.” Get more information on this from United Church of God 2005 Pamphlet titled “Marriage & Family: The Missing Dimension.” One of its articles “God’s Instruction Manual for Marriage” is a very useful guide for married people.
Take it from me, to have a “divorce-proof” marriage is not an easy matter.
It takes strong commitment, hard work, and serious studies. My wife and I used to be Dean of Facilitators of the Marriage Enrichment Program of St. Jude Parish at Malvar, Davao City for many years. We used to hold a week-long seminar for married couples usually with marital problems with the hope that reconciliation between these troubled couples will be achieved. With God’s grace, our batting average was high.
Some of our topics discussed in our seminar were: 1) Synopsis of Family Life, 2) Aspects in Marriage, 3) Love and Courtship, 4) Marriage as Ordained by God, Family Natural Environment and Source of Love, 5) Marriage Enrichment, Marriage Therapy, 6) Effective Communication – Vehicle for Family, 7) Maturity on Conjugal Love, 8) Adjustments in Marriage, 9) Satisfaction in Marital Relation, 10) Parents-Children Relationship, 11) Family and Community, 12) Family Planning Aspect of Responsible Parenthood, 13) We and my Family and my God, 14) The Power of Prayer, 15) Declaration of Family Rights, and 16) References for Family Life Apostolate. Of course, nothing beats biblical principles for divorce-proof marriage.
The late Elpidio T. Elorde, Sr. and his wonderful wife Epifania A. Elorde were the ones, who sponsored us in this noble undertaking. May God bless their souls.
In our Marriage Enrichment Seminar we defined marital love as “a total giving of oneself to the loved one for the wellbeing and happiness of the beloved without expecting anything in return.” The more one gives, the more strong their marriage bond will be. At present, I roughly estimate my giving to my beloved wife about 90% while my wife’s giving to me is about 95%! Obviously, we indeed have a very strong divorce-proof marriage praise the Lord.
Back to the hot issue of divorce. A legislator, based on a TV interview, will soon be filing a Divorce Law bill in Congress. Expect immediate negative reactions from our Catholic Church based on several biblical verses. We do hope and pray that our Church somehow seriously considers our “unique” proposal here that we think will further increase the value of sacramental marriages in our Christian nation. “Render to Caesar what is Caesar and render to God what is God’s.”
Per latest news, “House committee passes divorce bill” which “combined three separate measures filed by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez, and six members of the Makabayan bloc.” Surely CBCP will be strongly opposing this measure. The debate on this controversial issue starts now!