Saturday, July 07, 2007

Crawl-Out Clause

A friend attending law school once told me that because divorce is still considered illegal in the Philippines, sometimes lawyers would deliberately put certain weaknesses and kinks on marriage documents as a way to break out of it legally in the future. Hearing this disturbed me beyond belief. Sure, it's a practical oversight and can be considered smart in a twisted way, but it was like putting a hex on marriage and a couple's togetherness.

Don't get me wrong, I have long ago stowed away my rose-colored glasses behind my closet, almost reaching Narnia. It has paved the way for my cynical evolution. However, I still have great respect for the institution of marriage. I am aware of the fact that in this day and age, marriage has somehow been reduced down to a contract that society unconsciously demands from us -- despite loud and rambunctious protests against it. We all don't have to think like that, do we?

I am aware of most compelling issues that often result to -- no, must result to -- divorce such as domestic violence, child molestation, criminal offenses and such. I absolutely approve of breaking down a family or a marriage if the above-mentioned are concerned as it is obviously for the best. It continuously amazes me how the world can house such sick sad bastards sometimes. However, I still frown upon the concept of divorce because it has evolved into something that people take for granted. Instead of using it as a last resort, it has become a clause that allows one to get out of a binding contract in the drop of a hat -- albeit a very expensive loophole at times.

I shall not even touch on the ludicrous lifestyles of the rich and famous as surely, they have single-handedly created the multibillion dollar industry that divorce lawyers swim in. The phenomenon has trickled down to next-door families and couples who seemingly have the average-joe life that you and I live. I still remember back when I was growing up when kids come from "broken families" instead of the newly coined "single-parent families." Getting a divorce was once the curse that casts you out of the loop straight into the arms of the untouchables. Now, it has become a habit, almost fashionable. It has become as common and expected as getting married.

From what I have learned, when one gets married, there is no turning back. After all, it is meant to be forever (resisting to say "no shit, sherlock" right now). There is no such thing as a trial marriage. Getting to know each other is usually part of the whole dating and relationship process -- thus giving way to the idea of waiting a while before getting married until one is definitely sure. More often than not, divorce is waiting at the other end of the tunnel when one marries for the wrong reasons. Also, some people use divorce as leverage and event as a threat to the other person.

Coming from a society where divorce is still taboo, I do find that the people in it tend to work on their ailing marriages a little bit more. It probably also stems from a culture filled with close family ties, and the repeated reminder of the importance of face value. The problem no longer becomes exclusive to the husband and wife because of the rest of the (extended) family gets involved.

Walking over to the side of the fence, this can also be quite harmful. Not getting out of a marriage because "it's the right thing to do" despite the suffering and misery can take a toll on one's health and self-esteem. Sometimes, we need to know when to throw in the towel because it not only affects us, but also the people around us. This is where Oprah's right in saying that we must love ourselves first before we love other people. For instance, some marriages get through cheating spouses -- but if it's chronically done and will obviously not end, what is the point of staying? Staying married but living different lives is as good as having no marriage anymore, methinks. There's a difference between working on the marriage and just letting it run.

I used to be 100% against divorce because of my ultimate respect for the institution of marriage. I've always thought that marriage was the end all and be all of things, and that no matter what, we're stuck with it that's why decisions have to be made wisely. It still is true to a certain extent, but there really is no way to know everything without running the course of life, is there? People and circumstances change -- something beyond our control. However, with the help of experience and maturity, I have grown to accept divorce as part of the survival process. It is necessary in order to gain access to a second chance. I only disagree with using divorce as a means to repossess life a third, fourth, fifth or sixth (maybe more) time. Surely, everyone makes mistakes, but we need to learn at some point. Someone told me before that making the same mistake twice is stupidity. Touche!

I don't judge people who have resorted to divorce -- no, not at all. If any, my respect and sympathy goes out to them because it must be one of the most difficult decisions they had to make. That's what it should be. It ought to remain being a tough decision to make. It should never be an option that is within arm's length. Otherwise, the world will be one big Melrose Place production where we just swap spouses and continue pouring money into divorce lawyers' banks. And marriage? It will just be another excuse to throw a party...


Blogger mathew said...

wow..empathise with every word..cant think of putting this topic more eloquently..I remember this topic has been a subject of discussion in many blogs and more or less all trifles down to the same conclusion..

I still remember back when I was growing up when kids come from "broken families" instead of the newly coined "single-parent families."

how true..signs of society making divorce ethical!!!

nice to see u active again..!! :-P

3:51 PM  
Blogger Nivi said...

"This is where Oprah's right in saying that we must love ourselves first before we love other people. "
Cant agree with oprah more.

But dint u question "forever" before??

I agree with you on the fact that we need to work on it , its not some kind of a game, and it shld be the last resort and def a very difficult path to have been chosen

Welcome back!!! You were missed :)

6:02 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

Hey Princess, thanks for stopping by my blog and for the kind comments!

My parents are two people who probably should've gotten a divorce, but toughed it out. I don't know that they're better for it, but there you go. Maybe because society is more selfish than it used to be, divorce seems more appropriate. I think more people are splitting up because they feel they aren't getting what they want anymore.

7:09 PM  
Blogger self taught artist said...

I love your blog because you have a way of writing your thoughts/opinions/beliefs/ experiences, none of which are saturated or filled with dogma or stoic strangleholds. I almost always have an immediate reaction and desire to add my two cents worth. I'm not one to press my opinion onto paper so I enjoy coming here and allowing that to happen.
Having said that....I personally think marriage (and I've never been nor wanted to) is a bizarre thing to do. If you luck out and find someone that you want to keep walking the path of life with great, but to force yourself seems unhealthy. Marriage appears to have more to do with greed and having someone to do for you rather than go through life with. I am not sure how anyone can look ahead 10, 20, 30 years and know they will be close enough to the same person to be able to get along with their spouse til the end.
I can see no reason why anyone needs to do it. Children are more flexible than we are, that isn't to say they don't need role models and anchors of security etc.A marriage certificate doesn't ensure any of that for a child. (plenty of people marry who do not have/want kids so I really wonder what the point is in their minds then) I think ultimately the question is, what is the point of it? Having love for another and being non-attached at the same time isn't easy, but if you are lucky enough to experience that you know it isn't necessary to cling together forever.
Being with someone and sharing your selves and life is amazing, but what does a marriage ceremony and paper have to do with that?

8:02 PM  
Blogger mjd said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

9:01 PM  
Blogger Vengelyne said...

It'd be ideal to find a life partner to share a lifelong marriage with, but when environment changes and needs change, feelings and people will ultimately change, too. These are inevitable.

Dating for many years do not necessarily prepare them for marriages either, based on what the married people who told me.

Sure I'd like to get married, too, but only if I can be sure that the guy would never ever cheat on me. Yeah, I'm cynical in that area. Sigh.

9:08 PM  
Blogger mrsmogul said...

When I was growing up, most of my friends parents were divorced. Not mine! They've been together for 50 years!!!!!

10:07 PM  
Blogger paddy said...

Funny. My eldest girl was sixteen, my boy eleven and my little girl one year old when my wife and I got married (for whatever reason is neither here or there) We were together, had a family a responsibility which came first everytime...never thought of divorce and that is not a joke but a fact. People have lost the meaning of responsibility. It's now just: I want I want I want and everybody can do what they wish to get it.
One thing is for sure if you are responsible and working hard to make ends meet, divorce is/can't be an option (well it can but then you're an idiot) and the law (is an ass) should make sure of that.
Great post Princess.
Y;-) Paddy
PS: I think I'll have a couple of bers tonight and celebrate my family (for all its good and bad sides) we're together.

11:08 PM  
Blogger Princess of the Universe said...

I've found that this era of rampant divorce has made me doubt whther or not there is even a point to getting married at all.
It seems safer (and cheaper) to just not bother.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Crashdummie said...

marrige? uff.

most ppl think and plan for their wedding day, instead of preparing for the marrige and the life togheter.

12:52 AM  
Blogger Enemy of the Republic said...

Marriage is a tough gig. I've been married 17 years, and very few of my friends who married when I did, are still standing. I firmly believe the one out of two statistic is true. Marriage is a rite of passage, not to be taken lightly. I do believe there are cases where divorce is warranted, yet even so, the marriage itself will leave a mark--cohabitational relationships can do the same, but there is something about marriage that makes people feel like failures when it doesn't work out. And if there are kids, whoa baby.

12:53 AM  
Blogger The Acid Tongue said...

the way people treat the so called contract is still ethical in regions around me. i am enlightened to read the new face thqat's so becoming the norm of page3 people.

indeed the most benefiting lot is the lawyers council lolz

On a more serious note, i don't know how people get through year long courtship periods when they have a choice to break up without any consequences.

I'm hooked to the blog!!
gonna be back anytime, expect me!

12:53 AM  
Blogger Crushed by Ingsoc said...

I'm Catholic, so were I to marry I couldn't divorce. I wouldn't enter into an agreement I couldn't keep.

I'm not sold on the whole marriage ideal- I think the money wasted on weddings- usually at least 10k per couple could be better spent on any children they have.

1:01 AM  
Blogger goatman said...

The society in which we live doesn't exactly make living together and raising a family easy, marriage or no. With half again as many souls shuffling around this country as when I grew up its easy to lose faith in a future and sustain a present in a gentle and loving way. A future with limited median-level jobs for those who didn't attend higher education, outrageous housing prices and cost of living with attendant money-grabbing habits of lenders, profit first mindset in many endeavors, fear of letting the kids out in harms way of either war or molestation, increasing exposure to crude sexual people and their base habits, and general suspicion make a country that I don't think I would want to grow up in again given the choice.
(I am really not this negative but sometimes its hard to keep the faith)
Banter on!

1:34 AM  
Blogger Lou Lou said...

unusually for someone of my age, i feel divorce is a last resort. i was brought up by two fantastic role models, my parents who have got through a lot, they've been married for 45 years this year.
marriage is something you work at, these days people throw it all away for the slightest whim.
me, i'll stick at it!

2:37 AM  
Blogger Sling said...

I got married forever twice..but they didn't.
You've written beautifully on this subject.

2:42 AM  
Blogger X. Dell said...

Funny. I was just on the site of a cyberfriend who's blogging about her upcomming divorce. One of the things that really strike me as she writes is how taboo the subject actually is, at least for her and many others in the US.

I understand where you're coming from regarding the marriage contracts. In the US, people often sign pre-nuptial agreements, which are, in effect, divorce planning. One can't help to think that this becomes a source of stress on the partners before the marriage (especially since the agreements require negotiation), but also signals to them a likelihood that the marriage isn't forever.

I think you're also wise to note that even though you're really pro-marriage and anti-divorce, you understand that you won't understand all the rammifications of this point of view until you get there.

4:56 AM  
Blogger ThanKwee-Anajo said...

Hi PrincessB!

As usual, your posts are interesting, well written and enjoyable to read.

Very complex topic. If I were to comment on this, I'd end up writing an entire book.

9:06 AM  
Blogger floots said...

thanks for looking in on my site and for giving me the chance to read your work
i found it refreshing to read your views (divorce and discipline)
i was a teacher for many years and never understood why so few people realise that dicipline is at the heart of a good education (in all senses)
i've also been married for a long time (or does it just seem like a long time) :)

1:47 PM  
Blogger drips of paint said...

Hi princess...

marriage = 2 & commitment

.. no more, no less, no need any more definition, not possible to think it out. 2 hearts need to merge into one and only the hearts can honestly tell one and the other person is ready...often we do not listen deep enough.. we THINK with our sensation only...we really do not listen to our heart. we cling onto our senation and project our longing into it, in this case we want a paper to protect ourself! I want one too if that is the case.

On the other hand if both our hearts tell us to go ahead then paper or no paper we are going to go thru with it right? we know there is no need to think about it, we only need to know afterward both parties need to work on it to honour the commitment and reponsibilty that is required.

O.K. I THINK it is not this simple...but since I type out the above already and you give difficult post for me all the time...I surrender..

Love your bantering again..

4:18 PM  
Blogger thisisme said...

It has been interesting reading this today as we've been having the whole will we/won't we conversations a lot lately. As a child of divorced parents, I really want to get married forever, but I'm a firm believer in pre marital counselling. Anything that helps to make communication better is a good thing.

7:25 PM  
Blogger enigma said...

Such a delicate topic written about so beautifully.. hats off!!

I agree with every syllable you have written on marriage and divorce.

Nowadays divorces are applied for the silliest of reasons.I wish people think before they act( be it for getting married or getting a divorce).

Thanks for stopping by :)

9:33 PM  
Blogger RAFFI said...

i agree, today divorce is an accepted aspect of marriage (broken home vs. single family). about 20 years ago, my friend's parents "seperated" for 15 years but weren't divorced, and today they are divorced. it's all too easy to let go, rather than tough out the ups-and-downs of the reality of marriage... of course, this is coming from a single, never-been-married dood. if and when i get married, i want to know that the person i choose is the only one i'd like to be with in our times of good and bad.

10:50 PM  
Blogger Lavender said...

absolutely brilliant write-up..its one of d more grave matters to think over..n d way u've handled it is amazing !! :)
as far as my views are concerned, i strongly agree ppl and circumstances do change as time runs swiftly n we must learn to accept things as dey shape over yearz..but anything dat violates human rights is definitely intolerable..dats d part where divorce comes into force n thus has its significance..but dat again is a pure game of luck life plays.

11:10 PM  
Blogger Behind Blue Eyes said...

I won't go into a long dialogue, I feel the same way that you do. There is a couple geting divorced where I work. She is 24 and he is 30 They have only been married for 2 years. They are very different and were not a good match. But they both expected that the marriage was forever when they married. They are serious about these things. I think that each thought they would be able to change the other. That she would be able to make him more 'solid and respectable' and he thought he could get her to loosen up a litle. People were criticizing them, thought they should try to work it out. I say, good they figured it out now instead of after 3 children. They shouldn't have married in the first place. Lord forbid if I had to be held by all of the decisions I made when I was 21. Where are you from? Can I link to you?

11:57 PM  
Blogger Annie Wicking and Loman Austen said...

Hi Princess Banter,
Thank you for your comment on my blog.

Please do drop by again if you are ever passing my way.

Great blog you have too.


2:34 AM  
Blogger `NEFTY said...

Whoa, that does seem like some hex... Like the lawyer was doubting && jinxing the couple! O_o

4:42 AM  
Blogger James said...

I believe in marriage. That's all I can say really. Oh,and it has to be a mixed marriage-ie a man and a woman. No matter what the law may now say.

I agree that divorce is to easy to get and often too soon resorted to.

12:16 PM  
Blogger Keshi said...

true...learn to appreciate yourself first b4 getting married..I totally agree.

Divorces r so common these days cos ppl think marriage is easy n should be tried cos everyone is doing it!


12:50 PM  
Blogger Glamourpuss said...

Anyone wanting to get married should undergo counselling. Really, people shouldn't be allowed to walk up the aisle unless their heads are screwed on the right way round. Think how much time, money and heartbreak it would save.


6:39 PM  
Blogger William said...

The influence of Catholicism. No divorce, but you can still get it declared null and void after years and years of waiting, if you're lucky.

8:19 PM  
Blogger Andre Veloux said...

Sorry to disagree again! But I got married safe in the knowledge that I would get divorced if I didn't like it. And here I am 15 years later still married. Nothing is forever, unless you choose it to be so.

11:41 PM  
Blogger Proxima Blue said...

Nice writing style!

I've heard that in the U.S. the primary reason for divorce is Finances. married couples who cannot agree on how the family income should be saved and spent and it just bleeds into all other facets of their marriage.

My husband and I are happily married. It takes effort on both parts to make a marriage successful and good Communication really is the key.

A lot more people need to give serious thought to what kind of marriage they want before they walk down the aisle. Some people feel obligated to get married because that's what couples who have dated awhile do.


1:14 AM  
Blogger Monica said...

none of us (my bro, sis and me) saw iit as that big a deal when my parents got divorced. we were kind of weirded out by how big a deal other people made of it. i guess we got jaded early on.

3:40 AM  
Blogger soul&body said...

I think that when couple decide to get married always think" forever" but in these last years divorce has been something like "normal" thing. Sure its always sad when finish in this way. But then we think why finished in this way, what really happened? I think the main problem is the dialoge, if u dont like something, you should say it, they must be sincere for the things isnt?!
why love finished?! working too much? same routine?! hey improve for keep the flame! doing something diferent, trying another position lol!!! isnt?! do you agree? and about the divorce in philipines being illgeal? i diddint know that!! i think is ridiculous .... i think when a couple cant go more should try with another her happyness is very important!

4:20 AM  
Blogger AVIANA said...

hey sweets....

hmm...interesting one here....

well...i'm skeptical on the whole marriage thing altogether..i come from a family where divorce is taboo but yet unhappiness, lies are accepted....i remember telling my parents when i was like 8 years old that they should get a divorce...they never have....they don't even talk to each other and live on separate coasts......when my parents happen to be in the same house...they sleep in separate rooms...

that is not marriage.....

i'm from the USA where 60% of first time marriages end up in divorce and 80% of second marriages end up in divorce..

i think people have used it as an easy way out but people also get into marriage for the wrong reasons...but no one can judge anybody...

i don't know if marriage is in my future..would like to think it is but i'm not sure

11:02 AM  
Blogger alex said...


"marriage has somehow been reduced down to a contract that society unconsciously demands from us"

Wasn't marriage always a contract??

If marriage is easy, shouldn't divorce be easy too? Getting stuck up in a social contract is not very appealing too.

"I've always thought that marriage was the end all and be all of things"

Many people still think so. :)

I consider it only a part of ones life.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Lord Chimmy said...

I put zero premium in "the institution of marriage." For me, loyalty is everything...legally binding contract or not. The pomp & circumstance of marriage rituals are amusing to me.

It is easier for some people to replace what is broken rather than try to fix it. Marriage is a lot like that in many respects. Personally, if I ever get married I'd want it to work. And, if it needed a little fixing...I'd be willing to repair it. But, then again, I've always had an interest in fixing things. Some people would just rather start all over.

1:59 PM  
Blogger nasia said...

very well written as always...
Hmm.. scary though!! shud we get married?

2:05 PM  
Blogger thethinker said...

Great post.

I think of marriage as something you really shouldn't get into unless you think it's a forever type of thing. It just seems so permanent to me. I don't know, maybe I see my parent's and grandparent's marriages lasting decades and hope that I'll be smart enough to marry and have it last.

2:45 PM  
Blogger Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

Ahh princess. I am glad to be here and readyour writing although this is a tough subject. I know a few that have been there. including myself and it is not easy. It has been 4 years and I still cry about it, but there is no going back.

You are right that divorce has become an outclause for those unhappy and simply unwilling to try to work it out, but maybe it is better that they leave if for n other reason then to let the other person experience love in its truest form.

Ahh, what do I know except that love and marriage people just do not believe in anymore, at least not here. Shameful!

reat post girl.

3:15 PM  
Blogger riseoutofme said...

Where I live, couples MUST do a pre-marriage course if they want to marry in a church ... Not obligatory for Registry Office marriages.

But now, young and not so young couples are opting to just live together instead. Until the going gets tough .. and then one or both of them just walk away .... seemingly regardless of the pain and trauma inflicted on the other person and the children (if any).

Commitment and communication seems to be the key ... a normal size ego helps too.

A fine post.

8:55 PM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I can't imagine getting a divorce. I think if more people take the time to get to know their partner i will work out better. I say live with them first if at all possible. You don't know someone until they share your home.

2:16 AM  
Blogger Arcturus said...

Actually, it's because all those homo gays want to get married in the States that all those traditional marriages are breaking up in Mississippi and Nebraska.

It's in the Bible!

Seriously, though, I had some trouble following this post. I don't quite follow what the moral compulsion to remaining married for the sake of the "institution" of marriage is.

Is this a religious argument you are making?

Typically, in most religious contexts, marriage is the requirement for raising children in a "traditional" way. If you take the child-rearing element out of 9t -- an element that probably in large part is why the "institution" got so heavily imbued with "meaning" stretching back into human prehistory -- then you have a hard time insisting on the sacred and eternal nature of the institution itself. One can only argue it on the grounds of morality itself, and that is a highly problematic case to make and ultimately requires a kind of theocracy.

Then there is the other huge element: the economic security it provided woman in traditional societies.

The reason for the massive increase in divorce in the 20th Century was precisely because women entered the work force in such numbers and were no longer economically dependent on their husbands.

It really is that simple.

You can argue that divorce should be made difficult for the sake of "the children," as in "keeping a family together for the sake of the children," however problematic that is in some instances.

(As a political aside, I'm not surprised that this is issue is a vexing one in the Philippines given where that country and how it is changing.)

But when we are in the realm of consenting adults, I'm not sure why society -- through the coercive power of the state -- has a compelling interest in making sure that two people who dedicated their lives to each other because they "fell in love" remain forever together even when they don't want to be anymore. The state should not be in the business of being moral guiding light -- we have enuf religious fanaticism in the world for that.


4:55 AM  
Blogger Jennifer McK said...

Staying married but living different lives is as good as having no marriage anymore, methinks.

Even though my first marriage wasn't working for either me or my ex, I stuck it out because I believed divorce was just taking the easy way out. It wasn't a choice I made lightly or without tears.
I still believe that people give up too soon, but I also see the damage that can be done by staying...and staying....and staying..when both people are resentful and angry.
As always, you present two sides. What's sad about all the statistics, reality and celebrity eye candy is that is DOES make marriage seem unattainable or a waste of time.
I've been married this time for seven years one day at a time. One day at a time. And we're still happy to be together.
I'll stop now.

7:08 AM  
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5:43 PM  

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