If You Are A Citizen of This Country You Can Never Get Divorced!
The goal of the government in the Philippines is simple: they’re trying to prevent a “Las Vegas” mentality, where someone can be married one day and divorced the next, quick as a snap of the fingers. They want their citizens to take this contract seriously, to understand that marriage is a lifelong commitment and that they have to be willing to stick it out in spite of the difficulties. Unfortunately, in so doing, they don’t just trap people who have decided in a moment of fury that they no longer wish to be married. They’re also trapping people who can not safely remain within their marriage and retain their mental health.
For some people, knowing that divorce is illegal is incentive to put in the effort to work on their marriage. The long, expensive annulment process forces them to acknowledge the truth accepted by the Catholic church: a man and a woman joined in marriage have become like one person, and God has ordered that once He has joined them, they should not be separated. Sometimes, this is enough to convince them to try marriage counseling, or to make changes in their relationship, or to put forth the effort to “fall in love” all over again with a spouse for whom their feelings have faded over time.
For most people pursuing an end to their marriage in the Philippines, however, the ban on divorce isn’t helping them make the best of their existing marriage. It’s preventing them from getting away from a bad situation–and that means that they may never be able to move on with their lives.