By Junel Fiestada

Cartoon by Kent Ian Nellas

‘For richer, for poorer, in sickness, and in health.’ ‘Till death do us part.’ 

That is an example of a wedding vow which bonds a couple and assures their lasting love for one another. However, when the glue of the bond is less adherent, is it worthy of holding each other’s hands?

The House committee on population and family relations has approved the absolute divorce bill and is taking it to the plenary debates. The bill aims to reinstate the absolute divorce which was, according to bill’s proponent Albay district representative Edcel Lagman, practiced before Spanish occupation as well as American and Japanese rule. Lagman said the bill’s approval is “a momentous occasion for countless wives, who are battered and deserted, to regain their humanity, self-respect and freedom”

The sanctity of marriage here in the Philippines is greatly valued. Despite hardships, marriage always succeeds through needle holes. Yet, many marriages cannot be saved by being a martyr, for it might endanger one’s well-being.

When spouses bear their children, their life revolves around them. It is also the reason why many couples stay in a union just because of the children. Fighting behind children’s backs or masking parent’s feelings worked before, but now it can’t. A 2016 British study found that children prefer their parents divorced instead of a heated-household.

With this, the stigma of unhappy children due to divorced parents must be broken. Though there are children that would not prefer their parents’ relationship to tear apart, we also cannot turn a blind eye to the fact that children may want a light environment they can bear instead of witnessing flying plates and cutlery.

Not just children are affected, but the frontline of the relationship, husband and wife, divorce can leave void in their heart. Studies showed that health is on the line as it targets divorced couples's mental and physical health if not managed. This just proves that divorce is a two-way street that both children and parents should face. At first, the initiation of divorce isn’t easy, but through time, the damage left by it will be healed for the better.

Furthermore, wives who experience domestic violence, through divorce, can also show their empowerment by leaving a toxic union. Through this, not only can they feel courageous, but they can regain their confidence and self-love after a time of staying in a rotten marriage.

More so, legislators have been pushing and regularly filing bills on legalizing divorce since 1999. If this is enacted quickly, many victims of unjust marriage should’ve been saved. And now, it has been more than two decades and it is merely moving. The Philippines needs it now. Divorce is not as brutal as you think it is, but not for Robin William’s definition of divorce, “to rip out a man's genitals through his wallet”. Should we wait for it? I think we should not.

Indeed, every marriage is worth fighting for. However, there are times one should leave for one should be saved. Husband and wife are supposed to be the heroine and hero of their families – not the victim of their dysfunctional love.