As Jesus Christ said, from the beginning, men and women were meant to marry and become one flesh together as mutual partners, bound for life therefore what God has joined together, let no one break apart. (Matthew 19:4-6). God didn’t want married couples to divorce. God wants us to, “Be fruitful, and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it”. (Genesis 1:28).
Divorce in the Philippines has been an issue for so many years. As a matter of fact, aside from the Vatican, the Philippines is the only country in the world that does not authorize divorce, mostly because of religion (de Leon, 2014). However, The House of Representatives Committee on Population and Family Relations made history when it presented a divorce bill for plenary deliberations for the first time. The approval by the committee came after the substitute bill was passed on by the technical working group led by Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, (ABS-CBN news). The bill consolidated all proposals to legalize divorce and dissolution of marriage. However, it is important to know and realize the different reasons that divorce can affect children, women, men, society, and most importantly it is against the will of God.
First, we need to know what divorce is. It is defined as “the legal dissolution of marriage by a court or other competent body” Oxford Dictionaries (2015). In this, lack of commitment and equality in the relationship, infidelity, marrying too young, and abuse may be the factors to be blamed. (Utah State University, 2015). According to the Philippine’s Solicitor General’s office, 9,117 petitions for annulment were filed in 2010, with women filing 61 percent of them. The Divorce Bill would now permit the individuals to be free of their unhappy and most of the time abusive marriages. However even though people now have the right to leave a bad marriage, divorce should not be considered as an option or solution.
Most divorce advocates give special importance to the growing violence against children and women. According to Gabriela Party-list Rep. Emmy de Jesus they resist the use of the word divorce; among the concerns of House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez that there may be sectors who will object to the use of the word. (cited by Cruz, RG. 2018. ABS-CBN News). But I really don’t think that divorce is the solutions to these problems. The people should know that divorce is not the answer and solution to the growing violence and abuse against women and children. As a matter of fact it actually leads to the increasing problem of immorality and sexually related diseases. And I believe that you will agree with me that these problems are one of the threats for women, children and even family.
“Believe it or not, divorce has health implications. Since stress plays a role in illness, it would only make sense that splitting up would cause symptoms of an underlying illness. If you decide to split, make sure you are attending to good self-care and reduced stress levels”. (qtd. By Dr. Nikki Martinez, Psy.D., LCPC).
But then just because people were given the chance to change while the fact is, it is where the so-called “rights” are abused. It is where most people abuse it for their own selfish search for happiness and use it as their right for their own self-centered thinking that will only put them back to the situation over again. This is why many people divorced not just once, but many times. This right has been proven to be abused as I mentioned earlier. They are not actually giving people the solution to their problems, but a chance to repeat the same mistakes. Divorce is like a medicine but not advisable one. For example, a husband who has been divorced of his wife for being abusive will then just look again and search for another woman to marry and later on will abuse her also the same way he abused the first one. While on the other hand, if the woman has the problem she will also look for another man. And if things do not go well and the situation is same for her last relationship she will then again divorce him and this situation will just repeat. Nowadays, most people don’t want to talk about Immorality except those that are of the religious sectors and religious people.
Secondly, not only that divorce is not the answer to the growing violence it also affects the children. The children are the most affected if couples go through divorce. Divorce and separation have direct impact on children’s growth and development. They are affected in many ways. At first, they may experience intense emotions and feel conflicted loyalties. Children at a young age are sensitive especially in this period when many rapid changes occur with their emotions. Most of the children don’t suffer long-term consequences, but the possible effects of divorce and separation for some are mental health, abuse, delinquency and teenage pregnancy. For some children affected it causes them psychological trauma, with the effects that they will bring into adulthood (Encyclopedia on Early Childhood Development).
Psychologists have researched the effects of divorce upon children’s mental health, and found that there are many negative results. Some of these may not appear until later in adulthood. It can therefore be thoroughly justified that divorce is harmful to children’s moral well-being and behaviour. Children experience extensive loss and unexpected change after the divorce of their parents. The majority of the effects of divorce are unpleasant since children are deprived of a formerly familiar environment and status in the community. According to Nancy Dreger, “In children, divorce can generate personal fears unrelated to their parents or the security of the environment: concern about how friends will react to the news, fear of being embarrassed” (LIRN). The Journal of Youth and Adolescence states that divorce does not damage a child’s existence as, “being exposed to conflict within the family in the form of arguments and violence is positively related to feelings of anger and depressed mood among adolescents” (LIRN). This argument is flawed because the effects of divorce also inflict tremendous psychological damage upon a child.
The biggest factor as to why we should not consider divorce is because it is not righteous in the eyes of God. We need to consider that first; marriage is one of the Sacraments that all Christians must know. Marriage, according to American Catholic, is a public sign that one gives oneself totally to another person. It is especially sacred to Christians because having a church wedding means a person is not only making a promise to his/her future spouse but also to God. In an interview the president of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines Socrates Villegas, revealed the church’s opinion on the issue, telling that divorce makes a mockery of marriage. If divorce is allowed, the sanctity of marriage will be lost. It won’t seem like such an important decision to some because one can always “undo” and “redo”. Secondly, couples will soon choose the easy way out of a situation. The simplest problems will have the power to break marriages apart because couples would see divorce as an option, instead of working through the problem as a couple. As a result of that, more and more couples will end in divorce and will set a bad example for their children. Future generations will put less importance on marriage when they mature and the cycle just continues.
In the book of (Genesis: 2) the Bible clearly says that marriage was the first institution established by God and it is a covenant agreement meant for life, therefore in any situation it must not be violated. When I started reading and searching about God nothing in the Bible that you will see and tell you that God favoured and felt better for divorce. God made man and woman to be united not to be separated if they got into some problem. If you fear and follow the command of the Lord there is no reason that you will agree on divorce. I would say that divorce is divorce, and God hates it. It was only men who want it, not God.
Although legalizing divorce can save many individuals from bad relationships, it can also erase the importance of marriage. People should understand and think first why they marry the person in the first place. People also need to be completely sure the person that they will be marrying is able to sustain a happy and healthy relationship. But the key is to learn about God and accept him as your savior and He will guide you through your life. Look for someone who has the same faith and beliefs like you. Because if we have the fear of God and we understand what morality means, then we can lessen the growing problem about divorce.
Above all, the main key for a successful relationship of marriage is only Christ; the Lord should be the ruler of our hearts and our home. In God there is always hope, always the promise of redemption, always the strength to face all life’s challenges. So even though the government already approved the bill for divorce, we all know now what are the consequences, causes and effects and how we can face it and continue with our life through Jesus Christ our Lord.