January 29, 2023

It’s love month in this time of pandemic and next to the vaccine, there is hope for millions of Romeos and Juliets out there, hopefully more with the Romeos. Having watched our daily edition of Ikaw at ang Batas over at RNG Luzon, a man emailed me seeking advice, as he claimed he was a “battered” husband. I said, “There is no such thing, we are only ‘buttered’ men.”
A lion was getting married in the jungles and the attendees saw a mouse jumping up and down with joy. Curious, they approached the mouse and asked why he was so happy.
“My brother is getting married,” said the mouse.
“Who is your brother?” they asked.
“The lion,” replied the mouse.
“How in the world can a lion be the brother of a mouse?” The mouse, hiding in shame said, “I used to be a lion before I got married.”
Aren’t we all?
The New Civil Code and the Family Code have a whole chapter on marriage aimed to make it ideal and perfect. In real life, however, there is no hard and fast rule to keep the marriage in peaceful bliss.
Admittedly, conflicts and problems are common between husbands and wives. One of the causes of these problems is the lack of knowledge and understanding by either or both of them of their rights and obligations.
Judge Alicia Gonzales-Decano (210 SCRA 688) was quoted as saying, “Wives generally are conscious of their rights but they are not so with respect to their obligations. True to most Filipino women; they always demand respect and love but more often than not, they do not give the same love and respect to their husbands.”
Many men and women wanting to get married believe that marriage is a status of paradise, a state of milk and honey, not knowing the intricate rights and obligations that lie ahead of them.
Many are not aware of the fact that marriage is not a mere ordinary contract but an extraordinary one because it is an inviolable social institution which public policy cherishes and protects. It is the foundation of the family and the origin of domestic relations of utmost importance to civilization and social progress; hence, even the State is deeply interested in maintaining its purity and integrity.
One of the additions to the mutual rights and obligations of husband and wife falls under Article 68 of the Family Code. It provides: “Husband and wife are obliged to observe mutual love and respect.”
The duty to observe “mutual love” has been added because every marriage must be founded on “mutual love,” a love that is not just a feeling but a deep, abiding unity, maintained by will and reinforced by the grace which both partners ask and receive from God, a love that they should have for each other even at moments when they do not like each other, especially when one feels a lack of space between the two of them.
The duty to observe mutual love is a welcome reminder to spouses, especially to those who have been for many years living together. That it is not only during the celebration of the marriage that they have to affirm their love to each other but must be throughout the marital life and for as long as the marriage subsists. Indeed, if love could only be legislated, maybe some nut would file a bill requiring the renewal of the marriage contract every five years or so.
There must be more of it to instill to the spouses that what bound them first, must unwind them last. Besides, marriage as defined is a permanent union, so that it goes without saying, that love to each other must be permanent too, to preserve the sanctity and permanence of the marriage. Without it, the marriage may fall and break. It is said that mutual love must survive the tests of time and be unyielding to the touch of age.
Mutual love and respect cannot be compelled, elicited, or imposed by a court action. If the ardor of affection between the spouses has cooled after some years of marriage and the parties forget or neglect to do the little things manifesting their love for each other neither party can go to court to make the other love him or her again as before.
Inferably, respect and love, must, by both spouses, be reciprocally and mutually observed. The wife is under obligation to give respect (not obedience) to her husband as head of the family and the husband is under the same obligation to respect (not obey) his wife as the queen of the home and the mother of his children. Likewise, they must mutually respect each other as individuals. Mutual respect is based on mutual understanding and tolerance between the spouses.
Literally speaking, mutual respect is the mutual regard or mutual concern and love of either spouse to the person, dignity and integrity of the other. It may refer to the high regard for one’s feelings, opinion, interest, sensitivities, and one’s beliefs.
The spouses have the duty to respect not only the person of the spouse but also his dignity, pride, ideas, and opinion. Getting together well demands also that one has to follow the golden rule, if only to foster that feeling that one is as important human being as the other.
So, there it goes. And as they say, a man is the boss in his house and he has his wife’s permission to say so. Sigh.