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Getting unmarried in the Philippines is not purely a private affair.

Under our legal system,


marriage occupies a support much higher than an ordinary contract. While the act of
marriage is an act similar to entering a contract, the parties to a marriage do not have,
like the case to an ordinary contract, wide latitude or discretion to establish the terms and
conditions of their relationship. Indeed, unlike an ordinary contract, the marriage is not
subject to mutual resolution or termination if the parties no longer intend to be bound by
their agreement. Once married, the dissolubility of the union is subject to state
intervention and approval.

Article 15, Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution states that “Marriage, as an inviolable social
institution, is the foundation of the family and shall be protected by the State”

The Constitutional view thus shows that marriage is a social institution secured form
violation and that the state is mandated to protect marriage. The state has a stake in the
inviolability of marriage because the constitution views marriage as the foundation of the
family. In turn, the family is viewed in the constitution as the foundation of the nation.

Following the Constitution, Article 1 of the Family Code of the Philippines echoes that of
the Constitution. Thus, “Marriage is a special contract of permanent union between a man
and a woman entered into in accordance with law for the establishment of conjugal and
family life. It is the foundation of the family and an inviolable social institution.”

For my argument this evening, I will have to highlight the word “permanent” in the said
provision.

“Permanent Union”: Permanence is a categorical element of marriage. As a union,


marriage is insoluble once it is entered into validly by a qualified man and woman. Thus
it is that marriage is a covenant between a husband and wife, which is lasting,
persevering, continuous and stable during the lifetime of the spouses. On the other hand,
divorce says and affirms that marriage is but a temporary union subject to the desire and
design of either or both spouses. Precisely, the possibility of divorce is categorically
contrary to marriage as a permanent union.
In the negative, we propose that instead of a legislative act legitimizing divorce, the state
should focus in the preparation and education of couples before entering into marriage,
and the rehabilitation of couples in cases of problems arising within the marriage.
The idea behind our proposition negates everything that the opposite house had argued
and may argue, because the state will have to impose stricter and more stringent
requirements for the spouses to know more of each other before they may be permitted
to marry. Also, it is the duty of the state to ascertain that the couples attempting to marry
are mature enough; mentally, emotionally, and financially ready for the responsibilities of
being a part of something bigger. And, for sure, as parents and role models for their future
offspring.
This proposition of ours is more in line with what the Constitution and the Family code
upholds. The state may prevent future family turmoil, affecting not only the members
therein but also the members of the community if the state can ascertain that the couples
are indeed ready for this permanent commitment.
Marriage is a free and deliberate choice of the man and woman concerned. But after their
marriage-in-fact, to get rid of their marriage is already beyond their merely personal
unilateral or bilateral decision. Otherwise, they should not get married all, even but
considering that the qualification of someone as married has immediate reference to his
or her status which does not come or go merely at the will of the husband and/or wife. In
more simple words, those who does not subscribe to the truth that marriage is permanent
as a conjugal and/or family living, should not get married at all. This is but logical, but
rational.
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.