License to Love
In a report by The Philippine Star, the women’s party-list group 1-Ako Babaeng Astig Aasenso (1-ABAA) proposed a law that mandates a 10-year validity on marriage licenses. Margie Tajon, spokesperson of 1-ABAA, has a dream that one day, Filipinas can free themselves from the bondage of marriage. Love isn’t easy, but it sure is hard enough for 1-ABAA’s marriage licenses; couples must renew them as good as new, or it will be the hasta mañana for one man and one woman. Should the couple choose not to renew the license, the heartaches come and go with the scars they’re leaving; they’ll be dancing once again and the pain will end, and they will have no time for grieving.
(Mamma Mia, it’s “ABAA, not ABBA.”)
A marriage license is a requirement for a Civil or Church wedding; it is not the manifestation of the marriage itself. It’s what you use to get married. Article 20 of the Family Code does say that your marriage license does expire if you don’t get married 120 days after it gets issued. So I kinda got a kilig moment just thinking about a 10-year expiration date to a marriage license.
Anyway, the 1-ABAA renewable marriage can lend itself well to the redefinition of every romantic cliché in the book. Like:
- “It’s not you, it’s not me. It’s not that I don’t love you anymore; it’s just that our license to love expired.”
- “I wanna hold you till I die. Till we both break down and cry. I wanna hold you, till our license expires.”
- “Sayang… expired na pala lisensya mo… kaya tayo magkakalayo… bakit kaya, minsan sadyang kay damot ng tadhana…”
- “Ikaw pa rin ang laman ng puso ko. Pero, hindi na ikaw ang laman ng wallet ko.”
- “Hindi sa hindi kita kayang mahalin. Darling, sadyang kay haba lang ng pila sa simbahan.”
(On a side-note, the 120-day rush to get married can make those lines sound so cheesy.)
I’m not being funny, but I’m not discounting the inherent ability of people to change the world around them with an idea, no matter how eyebrow-raising it can be. After all, if you love your spouse so much, you wouldn’t hesitate to rush on over to wherever to have your “marriage license” renewed. Or at least, renew your vows.
Ramon Mitra, Jr., has a counterpoint to it: the Bagong Alyansa ng mga Ginoong Sinisigawan at Inaapi ng Kababaihan (BAGSIK), which is very similar to my NAPA-ANDER Party. I mean, the tyranny of marriage is not a problem exclusive to women; there’s the “Yes, Dear” demographic who are subjugated by domineering wives performing social castration on menfolk.
You just don’t consider throwing your marriage out every 10 years, dudes and dudettes. Or just because a few kinks here and there make you consider quitting on the marriage.
Which begs me to ask: if you really love someone, why put a 10-year cap on it? It’s like weeksaries and monthsaries and Valentine’s Day. Sure, it’s kilig to renew and reaffirm your love and commitment to your significant other or your spouse on a regular basis, but it just isn’t fair to treat it with expiry dates. If love is gone, it’s gone; if love is there, it’s there. I mean, that’s the point of all marriage, regardless of method or religion. The commitment to love is long and lasting enough for it to stand the test of time, regardless of caps or intervals. If the love is not there, it’s not there anymore. It’s time to move on. Not because a 10-year lease or license to love says so, but because that’s pondered and felt every day.
It’s marriage; it’s not a one-time big-time, but something you live and affirm. You live it until you can’t stand it, ‘coz that’s what love is.
Don’t get me wrong: I believe that married couples that don’t feel the love anymore should have the benefit of counseled divorce or guided annulment to emerge from the failed relationship as better people. Properties should be divided, kids should be taken care of, and obligations fulfilled. Maybe what we need to do is amend the law on annulment. Or just pass a well-written, well-thought out divorce law.
Although come to think of it, if you set a 10-year cap to actually get married, it can be a very long engagement indeed.