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Should there be an expiration period on marriage as a party-list group suggests?

Lorenzo Fernandez Jr., Cabanatuan City: What happened to this party-list group’s brains? To perceive marriage as a manufactured product with an expiry date is blasphemous, if not demonic.  

Johann Lucas, Quezon City: It’s not a bad idea. But I think it’s enough that there’s already an existing procedure for marriages that fail. Marriage is really a big risk.  

Cheap political trick

Dennis Montealto, Mandaluyong City: In order to get media attention, and therefore, name recall come election time, fly-by-night party-list groups come up with all sorts of hoopla and hullabaloo just to get elected, like courting controversy and espousing issues that hog discussion outlets. Like proposing that marriage should have an expiration to tempt those who feel trapped in their conjugal vows to support these wanna-be representatives in their political quest. Why upset the sanctity of matrimony? Cheap trick.  

A way out of unhappy marriages

J.R. Mondonedo Jr., Parañaque City: Definitely. If I were a congressman, I would pass a law proposing that marriage should have an expiry date of two or three years, which can be renewed up to a minimum of one year and a maximum of three. That way, the couple can sit down and talk about whether they should renew their marriage or not. If one of them breaks the contract before the expiry date due to infidelity, that person should spend his/her time in jail until the contract ends. If it’s due to being a battered wife/husband, then the accused party should pay a penalty and support, depending on what the law would say; otherwise, if both parties agree not to renew, the bread winner should just maintain financial support for the children and everyone would be happy. The reality is that there are so many unhappy marriages in this country. If divorce were legal here and I were a lawyer specializing in divorce, I would be making so much money.  

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There are other options

Germi Sison, Cabanatuan City: The objective of the author of this suggestion could be to ease the process of annulment for separated couples whose reconciliation is beyond reach. Should that be the case, the expiration of marriage will be inconvenient for happily married couples who have to renew their marriage vows come every expiration date. To solve the problem without involving non-interested parties, why not annul the marriage of separated couples with no possibility of reconciliation after five years? That is sensible.  

Manuel Abejero, Pangasinan: Filing for annulment is very costly and tedious and you have to lie about your spouse being mentally incapacitated. Why not a pre-nuptial agreement instead? Putting a time prescription on marriage may not be acceptable to the parents and the proponents may not be happily married.  

This could trigger debates

Manny Cordeta, Marikina City: The proposition, the first of such nature and kind of weird, could trigger rounds of debate. Unlike medication drugs, canned goods, and the like, the subject of life span of marriages should arouse a healthy exchange of ideas, primarily from civil code resource persons, religious congregations, ideally on an ecumenical setting, civic organizations, in order for the proposition to reach second base. Thereafter, addressing all possible avenues, it could be pushed into legislation by the group that conceptualized it, subject to another series of debates among lawmakers and eventually enacted as part of the nation’s law.  

Josh Pacatang, Dipolog City: The term “expiration of marriage” is not appropriate. If the proponents of the idea intend to approach marriage vows in the same manner that people approach any amendment to the Constitution, the marriage contract, vows, and terms can be modified by Constitutional fiat.  

No one would approve of it

Juan Deveraturda, Subic, Zambales: It’s a good and unique idea that could make the Guinness Book of Records that the Philippines, being the only Catholic country in Asia, has put up a law giving an expiration period to marriage contracts. But I seriously doubt if it will be passed by Congress and signed into law by any sitting president. I don’t believe it will even pass the committee-level of Congress. The Catholic Church and all other religious sects in the country would surely lobby and campaign against the passage of such a bill.  

Marriage is a sacred matter that should not be change based on its nature, because God is the one that binds married couples.  Mark Kevin Santos, Nueva Ecija

Miguelito Herrera, Cabanatuan City: What kind of suggestion is that? I do not believe that marriage should be given an expiration period; it’s incomprehensible and the Vatican will surely oppose it.  

It could bring back the spark into marriage

Chaley Lazaro Jr., Ilocos Norte: The initiative to put an expiration period on marriage could bring back the spark for couples who want to renew their vows, while offering convenience for some couples who are just messing around.  

Ed Alawi, Davao City: Why not? Some couples celebrate their silver and golden anniversaries by renewing their vows, so make the marriage expire every 10 years. That’s good for everybody.  

Why not just legalize divorce?

Felix Ramento, USA: Why not try promoting divorce instead? This is a more sensible issue that is a better topic for discussion. Next question, please.  

Col. Ben Paguirigan Jr., Ret., Zamboanga City: Why not enact a divorce law instead?  

Elpidio Que, Vigan: That party-list that suggested marriage ought to have an expiration day must be from planet Mars. Man and wife are married with the vow to live and love together, come what may, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, on life’s narrowing highway. This is vowed both in a church of whatever faith and in civil office wedding ceremonies. What is needed is an enactment of divorce. There are marriages that collapse as the couple trod the said narrowing highway. They quarrel here, there and everywhere because of their irreconcilable differences. To avert violent consequences, like homicide or murder, divorce is the answer.  

Robert Young Jr., San Juan: The party-list group that proposed an expiry period on marriage is not thinking straight. Marriage is an institution that is the basis of family and society. It is not a can of sardines that expires after two years nor a passport with a five-year validity. If the reason behind this proposal is the difficulty of getting an annulment or a divorce in the Philippines, then the group should ask lawmakers to fast-track the divorce law or simplify annulment procedures. As in contraception, the culprit in the issue is the Church, which is against divorce or annulment. If the Church is not amendable to divorce, maybe Catholics should not get married at all, but simply co-habit. That way, it will be easier to separate from their spouses in case of irreconcileable differences. Another way is to get married abroad if the couple can afford it.  

What about child support?

Joel Caluag, Bulacan: If the party-list group suggested an expiration on marriage, then there should also be an expiration on child support.  

Marriage is sacred

Rose Leobrera, Manila: I’d rather not marry or be attached legally if there is an expiration period because I believe in the sanctity of marriage. How about the family and what would happen to the children? If this will be legalized, then we sin against God. Marriage is not a game; it should take some time and deep thinking before we take the plunge.  

Charlie Libungan, Metro Manila: The proposed expiration of the marriage contract is contrary to the Family Code and to the Church’s teachings.  

Lyndz Go, Metro Manila: It will only mar the sanctity of marriage! Young couples will only marry in haste. What often causes marriages to fail is the immaturity of the individuals.  

Leandro Tolentino, Batangas: What a stupid proposal that is. Where is the sanctity of marriage? ‘Pang communists at atheists lang ang proposal na ‘yan.  Erwin Espinoza, Pangasinan

Marriage as a sacred sacrament is the foundation of a family and should not be treated as a grocery item with an expiration period on its label.  

Dennis Acop, Baguio City: I strongly advise all to be extremely cautious about coming up with these ridiculous proposals, which trivialize an institution not meant to be treated lightly by any individual or organization at any time or any place. Why should there be an expiration period on marriage? Just because there are failed marriages does not mean we have to institutionalize penalizing successful unions, too! Even in this sinful day and age, there are many successful marriages  more than there are failed ones. Coming up with policies that marginalize what has been upheld as mainstream according to virtuous human standards is not only a diabolical mistake but also a gross throwback to everything decent man has achieved throughout his earthly existence. Just because some husbands and wives end up being battered by their spouses does not mean we have to destroy the sanctity of marriage altogether. What about our children? Is there an expiration period on them, too? If there is any value to be derived from marriages gone wrong, it should be towards reminding couples about the importance of finding the right mate for oneself and then practicing integrity on the commitment made between partners. After all, there had been witnesses to that vow, including God.  

Ishmael Q. Calata, Parañaque City: As a man married to the same woman all my life, for this long, I don’t want to even think of this suggestion! For one thing, there is a process to end marriage under valid reasons, which is approved by the Catholic Church, to which I belong. Please don’t tinker with this sacred contract between a man and a woman.  

L.C. Fiel, Quezon City: If marriage were a commodity, yes. But marriage is a commitment, a truth, over and beyond any union or alliance; it is a sacrament.  

A kinder way to end marriages

Renato Taylan, Ilocos Norte: Why not? This is a kinder way of ending disastrous relationships of couples with irreconcilable differences.  

Gerii Calupitan, Muntinlupa City: Actually, that’s an old joke: “Bakit ang driver’s license may expiration, ang marriage license wala? Imelda took that seriously when Imee fell deeply in love with Tommy Manotoc (Borgy’s dad) and tried to legalize divorce in RP so they could have a church wedding, but the Catholic Church protested. If marriage has an expiry, thousands of couples would line up to file their petition to expire their marriage licenses. It will be fun.  

Leonard Villa, Batac City: In the Philippine setting, where divorce is a no-no, this must be given a second thought. It’s a practical solution to irreconcilable married couples.  

Jose Fabello Jr., Cagayan de Oro City: And change the vow to “till the expiration date my dear do us part or we renew”. And the renewal will come with renewal fees, as a revenue-enhancing measure. Good idea! It’s good to know some heads are thinking.  

De facto expirations already exist

Janet Lopez, Manila: We already have de facto expirations being practiced, resulting in very poor abandoned women and children.  

It’s a crazy idea

Ric Vergara, Calamba City: It’s the party-list groups in the Lower House that should be given expiry periods, not marriage contracts. Mga taga-showbiz lang ang matutuwa sa kanila.  

Dino Monzon, Caloocan City: No, marriage via matrimony is one of the seven sacraments. It’s neither a work contract nor a game. The femi-Nazi party-list advocating this is insane.  

C.K. Yeo, Iloilo City: It would have been unthinkable to suggest an expiry period for marriage 20 years ago. But in this age of cyberspace, maybe it’s okay. Let’s limit marriage to 10 years. Let’s go even further, support our children only until they are 18. The SSS and GSIS should limit their pensions to 10 years and after that, you are on your own. Maybe have an expiry for friends, too. But wait, who’s going to take care of the children after 18? Who’s going to take care of our parents or us when the contract expires? Setting expiry dates on some things are wrong. They are okay only on food, passports, and registrations. The party-list group didn’t consider emotional attachment between couples, parents and children, and old people. We are not robots. The party-list that suggested this must be crazy.  

Lolong Rejano, Marinduque: A better program is much-needed to rehabilitate contracting parties on the issue of marriage other than this inhuman proposal, which only tends to reward the evils of society.  

It’s detrimental to family and society

Ella Arenas, Pangasinan: No, there should never be an expiration for marriage because you will only be breaking God’s law that a husband and wife should be as one. Besides, it will gravely threaten the very foundation of the family, which is the basic unit of society. At stake here will be the breakdown of moral values. Just imagine the consequences.  

Rey Onate, Palayan City: It is a direct assault to the very foundation of our society, the family. We should not give credence to the idea of losers. Ho-hum!  

Cris Rivera, Rizal: No, it’s a blatant disregard of God’s law on marriage. It favors an increase in the incidence of broken families. It’s a one-way proposal that is detrimental to children’s well-being.  

Pedro Alagano Sr., Vigan City: It’s a ridiculous proposal that should be junked outright, as J.C. Sison said. While it may be good for philandering husbands and adulteress housewives, it is traumatic to their children.Eventually, the foundation of the Filipino family will crumble. It’s a waste of time and money.  

Ignacio Anacta, Metro Manila: There is already an expiration on marriage; it’s when one of the couple dies. If this party-list is proposing an expiration date similar to that of a driver’s license, then they are crazy! These people most probably have very bad marriages! They should know that marriage is both a license and a blessing to have a family and the family is the basic unit of mankind.  

Edwin Monares, San Mateo, Rizal: Marriage is no ordinary contract. Putting an expiration on marriage will ruin the very foundation of the society, the impact of which will adversely affect the development of the children. We should rediscover the intrinsic value of marriage through the effective education of future parents.  

There are adequate steps in place

Louella Brown, Baguio City: There should be no expiration period on marriage. We have adequate laws that serve as remedies to marital problems.  

Jimmy Donton, Puerto Princesa City: The expiration period on marriage is a Philippine version of annulment, which was coined to avoid using the term. Annulment is not accepted as the legal means to end a marriage.  

Marriage is a lifetime commitment

Rudy Tagimacruz, Malaybalay City, Bukidnon: Unlike drugs that become stale, a marriage gets more solemn and valuable as it ages. Leave expiry dates to food and medicines.  

Jim Veneracion, Naga City: Marriage in church is a life-long bond and should not be trifled with an expiration date. This party-list group wants their cake and to eat it, too.  

Ricardo Tolentino, Laoag City: “Till death do us part” is the vow we make in marriage. The suggestion is nuts.  

Fortunato Aguirre, Bulacan: Yes, there is. It expires upon the death of a partner for their altar vow states clearly, “Till death do us part”.  

Ruben Viray, Antipolo City: Marriage is a promise of love between two people and it has to be nurtured and protected and never be broken. It is an eternal partnership of two individuals that love each other. This union must stay strong against all odds. It should never be treated like an ordinary commodity that has a shelf life because these are two human souls joined together for the rest of their lives. I honestly believe that the party-list group’s suggestion was ill-advised and should be disregarded. Perhaps legal separation can be considered, but not divorce.  

Luisito Vallo, Pangasinan: It makes me smile to think that in 2006, I proposed, as a joke, to my lady co-workers that marriage contracts should be like all licenses that should be renewed by couples after every five years. I didn’t imagine that a party-list group, feminist at that, would actually propose such a bill in Congress. It is making a mockery of the sacrament. There shouldn’t be an expiration on marriage because it is a lifetime vow. My advice to those seeking an expiration on marriage is: Don’t pledge to live together in sickness or in health, ‘till death do you part if you are not 100 per cent sure of your commitment.  

Ruel Bautista, Laguna: The Catholic doctrine states, don’t separate what God had put together.  

C.B. Manalastas, Manila: No way; marriage between spouses is a contract for life which is ‘till death do us part.  The suggestion may be good to some, but it will be contrary to the accepted general norm of marriage in accordance with the Church and state laws.  

Marriage is not a commodity

Armando Tavera, Las Piñas City: The proposed bill on the expiry of marriage doesn’t make sense. They should have first filed a bill on the proof of purchase of marriage.  

Rico Fabello, Parañaque City: What happens to promises under the sacrament of marriage? Will all of those just be broken? Marriage is never a forced status. Why marry if you think you have the potential to have to “renew”?  

Views expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the editorial position of The STAR. The STAR does not knowingly publish false information and may not be held liable for the views of readers exercising their right to free expression. The publication also reserves the right to edit contributions to this section as it sees fit.

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