”FAILURE IN MARRIAGE CANNOT BE COMPENSATED BY ANY SUCCESS OUTSIDE THEREOF"—thus expressly and clearly says a non-Christian sage whose strong conviction is found written in big bold letters on a huge firewall of an impressive building somewhere in Metro-Manila. The conclusive observation evokes many thoughts and brings many memories. But most of all, it forwards and affirms a loaded truth.
Contrary to the chevalier attitude of many towards the reality of marriage and dissonant with the nonchalant posture adopted by many others regarding the nature of the conjugal state, the marital union of a man and a woman is the causal origin of great happiness or profound sorrows, of deep satisfaction or painful regret. Greatly depending on how a husband and wife perceive and live their day-to-day married life, theirs will be the feeling of fulfillment or disgust, the perception of a blessed or cursed way of living. Why?
The covenant of marriage is the incarnation of the proverbial "Two-In-One" state of life. Husband and wife are two individual persons—with two personalities, two mind-frames, two will-constructs. Yet as spouses, they live one marital life, keep one conjugal home, raise one family. Thus it is that by precisely eating from one table, living under one roof and sleeping in one bed, the two usually become one even more in the persons of their children. This oneness in life and fortune, in spirit and flesh, is what more specifically makes it so sorrowful and distressful when husband and wife tend to be progressively and at times eventually two completely separate man and woman.
The more practical truth of the matter is that marriage is a partnership in its most noble and ennobling concept. Without the least undermining its reality as a "Two-In-One" living status, husband and wife are veritable partners who are and remain equal in dignity, in rights and obligations. Unlike many different partnerships as opted by individuals and confirmed by law, it is understood that a husband and a wife have a partnership that is not only indivisible—it does not accept any other partner therein—but also insoluble—it does not admit dissolution once valid and consummated. The big headaches and deep heartaches in marriage concretely come about when said indivisibility and indissolubility are challenged and at times actually discarded—thereby violating or even dissolving the partnership.
There is one signal, genuine as well as profoundly practical insight in the apparently common and simple word "conjugal" appended to marriage—as an spousal commitment, a marital life, a matrimonial covenant. The word exactly means and precisely implies what it says: One, there is a burden on hand ("jugal") which is marriage. Two, the burden has to be shared by two ("con") in terms of marriage obligations. Three, thus it is that the burden becomes lighter, bearable, surmountable for the partners in and for life.
One thing is certain: It is easy to get married. It is hard to keep the marriage. It is therefore reasonable to inquire more and demand much from a man and a woman—not a boy and a girl—desirous of getting married.
30 January 2008