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Justified Love: An Argumentative Essay on Divorce

by Michelle Frances D. Lingat

“There isn’t time, so brief is life, for bickering, apologies, heart burnings, callings to account.
There is only time for loving, and but an instant so to speak, for that.” (Mark Twain as cited in
Waldinger, 2016). Half of the entirety in a person’s life is spent searching for an irrational love
that would complete and make them feel whole. A love further built upon contrary to the untainted
feeling amplifies the ache of each other’s heart induced to half a lifetime fallen unto rupture.
Marriage; a contract of love, a special bond, an eternal promise. But can love still be justified if
you were to stay, where in fact it is detrimental to the physical, mental, and emotional makeup of
a person?

There is no such thing as a perfect marriage, it is inevitable for a couple to experience


complications in their relationship. According to a study, the major dilemmas that partners
encounter in their relationship are infidelity, excessive conflicts, early marriages, financial
problems, substance abuse, and domestic abuse (Scott et al., 2013). The severity of the situation
beyond the control and emotional capacity of the partners may lead to the dissolution of their
marital connection, otherwise known as divorce. The Philippines, as a predominantly Catholic
country, divorce is highly discouraged as it degrades the sanctity of marriage. Also, because of
other available legal options; annulment and petition for legal separation, the necessity for divorce
is disregarded (Patag, 2018). Since both legal actions offer similar benefits and more importantly,
grants the separation of the spouses, why still opt for divorce? Not does the breach of marriage
signify the detachment of the husband and wife, it also affects the welfare of their children in
between. The separation of a child’s parents causes psychological instability as they experience
emotional and behavioral problems, pessimism, and less psychological well-being compared to
those with intact families (Fagan, n.d.). The biggest influence in a child’s life are their parents,
they serve as their support system and guidance all through out their childhood until adulthood,
when a strong bond of that by blood is severed it causes a deep emotional scar within them.
Although with these presented arguments against divorce, my stand will not waver in favor of the
dissolution of marriage but only under these specified grounds: (1) Adultery, when one or both
spouses engage in extramarital relationships with others during the span of their union, (2)
Desertion, when a spouse abandoned the other, physically and emotionally for a prolonged period
of time, (3) Domestic Abuse, when one spouse subjects the other to any form of violent and
physical attacks or emotional and psychological abuse such as threats against life and other abusive
languages. The crucial differences of divorce, annulment, and legal separation are the technicalities
in legal papers, eligibility to remarry, and the required parameters that should be met to be applied
for a legitimate separation. Annulment cancels the marriage between a man and a woman. Legally,
it declares that the marriage technically never existed and is not valid. Under the 1987 Family
Code of the Philppines, a marriage may be annulled if any of the following grounds ensued from
their union: lack of parental consent in certain cases, insanity/psychological incapacity, fraud,
marriage by force, intimidation, or undue influence, impotence, and if one party has contracted a
sexually-transmittable disease. The process of annulment may last from one to ten years
considering the congestion in Philippine court dockets, unlike with divorce which only takes six
weeks up to twelve months depending on the gravity of the situation (Patag, 2018; Pamaos, 2007).
While a legal separation is judicially recognized as the separation between spouses. Although, it
does not end the marriage, it still prohibits the spouses from entering into a domestic relationship
with another person, thus may not remarry (Griffin, n.d.). The grounds for legal separation are:
domestic abuse, physical violence or moral pressure to compel the spouse to change religious or
political affiliations, attempt of respondent to corrupt the spouse or their child to engage in
prostitution, or connivance, final judgement sentencing the respondent to imprisonment of more
than six years even if pardoned, drug and substance abuse, homosexuality, bigamy, sexual
infidelity, attempt against life, and abandonment (Pamaos, 2007). From these set parameters, it
can be deduced that extreme domestic abuse, abandonment, and desertion are not included in its
requirements for eligible legal nullification of marriage, while for the petition for legal separation
only accepts these grounds but on the terms that the spouses are still acknowledged as lawfully
wedded husband and wife. The petitioner could never possibly completely cut off the unhealthy
relationship with their spouse, and it deprives them the chance of finding a new love, and an
opportunity for experiencing true happiness with others. Living in the midst of conflict is
detrimental to a person’s well-being. High conflict marriages, without much affection turns out to
be very bad for the health, perhaps worse than getting divorce (Waldinger, 2016). Research also
suggests, that children adjusts well two years after the divorce, while ongoing parental conflict
increases the risk of psychological and social problems of children. Parents even separated, could
ease their child’s transition, through open conversations, maintaining close contact, and providing
constant love and support to them (Herrick et al., n.d.). Commitment is not the only virtue that
should be weighed in a relationship, it is about the integrity and quality of it. Healthy relationships
make up a good life (Waldinger, 2016). Commitment is more than the loyalty of a person to its
partner, but it is the devotion of being a husband or a wife to their beloved.

“When something hurts your eyes, stop looking at it. When it hurts your ears, stop listening to
it. And when it hurts your heart, stop justifying it.” (Anonymous, 2018). With the points presented
above, conflicted marriages may opt for other legal actions, but base on certain parameters set, the
most practical litigation on pressing matters that require immediate legal attention that most
importantly affects the physical, psychological, and emotional makeup of a person is divorce. And
although family relations may be affected, sustained care for the child caught in the separation
may actually improve the psychological state of the child through learning acceptance. Never
vindicate extreme physical or mental agony for the name of love, a justified love is free from any
kind of oppression.
References:

Waldinger, R. (2016, March 13). The Good Life. Retrieved from https://singjupost.com/robert-
waldinger-on-the-good-life-at-tedxbeaconstreet-full-transcript/

Scott et al. (2013, June). Reasons for Divorce and Recollections of Premarital Intervention:
Implications for Improving Relationship Education. Retrieved from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4012696/

Patag, K. J. (2018, March 20). Legalizing Divorce in the Philippines: What you need to know.
Retrieved from https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2018/03/20/1798661/legalizing-divorce-
philippines-what-you-need-know

Fagan, P. (n.d.). Effects of Divorce on Children’s Health. Retrieved from


http://marripedia.org/effects_of_divorce_on_children_s_health

Banks, L. (2009, September). Legal Difference Between Annulment and Divorce. Retrieved from
https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/whats-the-legal-difference-between-annulment-and-divorce

Pamaos, F. (2007, January 11). Annulment, Divorce, and Legal Separation in the Philippines.
Retrieved from https://jlp-law.com/blog/annulment-divorce-legal-separation-in-the-philippines-
questions-and-answers/

Griffin, C. (n.d.). Ending a Marriage: Divorce, Separation, and Annulment. Retrieved from
https://www.justia.com/family/divorce/docs/ending-a-marriage-faq/

Herrick et al. (n.d.). Healthy Divorce: How to make your split as smooth as possible. Retrieved
from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/healthy-divorce.aspx