I am not an expert in relationships nor a marriage counselor but this report should be a cause for concern  for those who still value marriage as a gift from God. The Philippines, recognized as the only Christian country in Asia and predominantly catholic has reported an increase in annulment cases.

A common ground for legal separation or declaration of nullity of marriage is psychological incapacity, said Solicitor General Jose Anselmo Cadiz, Assistant Solicitor General Karl Miranda and Attorney Christer James Ray Gudiano.

Psychological incapacity can be found in Article 36 of the Family Code and can be cited as ground for legal separation or nullity of marriage. Other grounds include lack of authority of the solemnizing officer, bigamous or polygamous marriages and marriages where one or both parties were below the marrying age allowed by law.

It was learned that among those who filed for annulment, 61 percent were women, 90 percent of them in their twenties while only four percent filed their petitions in their thirties. The same study revealed only 39 percent of men initiated the filing of the complaint, with 70 percent of them in their twenties. It was also found that 25 percent of men in their 30s or 40s filed for annulment. The number of cases filed was lesser for both genders who are in their 40s or 50s.Some 35 percent of married couples filed their annulment cases within the first five years of their marriage.

The OSG report also said that among marriages that lasted for five years or more, only 26 percent ended in annulment suits, while among marriages that lasted for more than ten years, only 17 percent opted to have their union annulled.

“The study noted the longer the parties are married, the lesser chances of them seeking annulment of their marriage,” according to a study by the Office of the Solicitor General. The data from the OSG also showed that 82 percent of those who filed these cases have children – 59 percent having at least one or two children, 22 percent having three to four children and one percent with five to six children. “The children of these marriages are likely to be affected by the separation of their parents,” the same study revealed.

The Filipino family is alarmingly breaking down as it is under pressure by outside factors. Factors that are enumerated by many books and explained by many so-called experts. However, I see the ugly head of economics hanging over marriage that is destroying the basic unit of society.

In the case of the Philippines where there is widespread poverty and inequality, many parties to the married opt for a way out by seeking foreign lovers via the power of the Internet or going abroad.

Domestic conflict often comes from the undeniable fact that current wages in the Philippines is not commensurate to the uncontrolled hikes in basic commodities and services. This brings undue pressure on the both parents to try to make both ends meet. This cause either partner to seek greener pastures abroad. While they say that ‘distance makes the heart grow fonder’, it is not often the case in real situations. The ‘greener pasture’ often leads many to also seek ‘love’. The practical side of love, that is.
Others may argue to the contrary but while there is the ideal, it is more of a rule than practical reality.


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