IF marriage is tricky to get out of, are Filipinos working harder to stay married?
Or do couples evade marriage now?
Most intriguing are the recent findings of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) National Appellate Matrimonial Tribunal.
From 2012 to 2013, 186,367 couples said yes at the altar. That’s a 12-percent increase from the previous year, the CBCP was quoted in a June 18, 2013 article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI).
Over the years, the CBCP also recorded a 10- to 15-percent decrease in the number of marriages nullified by the church. The exceptions are Metro Manila and Cebu, where annulments were “high”.
Archbishop Emeritus Oscar Cruz, tribunal head, said that of about 100 cases for nullification handled every year, only 9-10 cases are affirmed.
While more couples tie the knot, cohabitation is also popular. A couple who lives together without marriage can also part “whatever time they like,” said Cruz.
Married couples can also just split and avoid the hassle of annulment. The church calls this “canonical separation,” reported the PDI.
In the 1970s, when my parents made their nth and final canonical separation, society was not as tolerant of broken families. My sister and I stayed with my father on weekdays; with my mother, on weekends. However workable the arrangement was, I was resigned to explaining my odd family ties to homeroom teachers, who were a bit upset I could not pull out a complete set of parents to attend school functions.
These days, “odd” is the new “normal”. When A. and I reunited in this city, we compared who had more grey strands in the head, more cysts in mammaries, m
A. rescues dogs intended for the pot and feral cats. When she goes on long trips, she stews chicken necks (no bones to choke on) and freezes these in ice cream canisters for partner G. to defrost in batches and serve hot to A.’s adopted menagerie.
G. doesn’t love animals, specially street survivors with fleas and an ill-mannered tendency to snap at the hand that feeds them. However, that such an arrangement has prevailed for 20 years--A. doing what she can to make it easier for G., G. doing for A. what she would never do on her own—puts another meaning to “maximum tolerance,” which is an apt synonym for marriage.
Yet, since same-sex marriage is not allowed in the country, A. and G.’s commitment cannot be formalize in church or court.
Are they likely candidates for separation being never ritually conjoined? Will this country run out of chicken necks?
Some fowl-like flexibility is demanded today of couples. J. got married to T. in Vegas. His family disowned him but he stuck to her, even if in family parties, his side was represented by school chums and officemates only.
Then T. got promoted. Soon, J. and T. lived in different time zones. Or perhaps planets? J. considered the canonical solution. Friends brought him to a priest for counseling. Priest said give marriage a chance.
Fortunately, T. made a career compromise. The couple went on a second honeymoon. They had their first child, and then another.
The happy endings did not end there. The priest advising J. also got married.
A rosewood violin immersed in seawater recently fetched a high bid in an England auction. The violin was found in a leather bag strapped to the body of Wallace Hartley, who led his band in playing “Nearer, My God, to Thee” and other hymns while the Titanic sank in the North Atlantic.
Hartley was never parted from his violin, a gift from his fiancée Maria Robinson. The violin has a silver plaque with this engraving: “For Wallace, on the occasion of our engagement. From Maria”.
Maria never married. When she died in 1939, she left the violin to her sister.
If the Titanic had not hit an iceberg, if Wallace had married Maria, would the rosewood violin even be in an auction? If Wallace had married Maria, would they have stayed married? The Titanic was not the only one with a submerged complex.
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* First published in Sun.Star Cebu’s June 30, 2013 editorial page column, “Matamata”