The Filipino Concept of Marriage
It is a given fact that Filipinos do have a different way of looking at marital relationship compared to westerners and other Asians. Spousal relationship in the Philippines is not an equal alliance but unequal relationship wherein husbands are perceived and expected to lead while wives should be subject to him. The wives take a secondary role. The biblical concept where it is said that husbands should be the head of the household is taken by Filipinos as gospel truth which should never be violated.
It is also worth noting, and alarming that marital break up is on the rise. As one writer puts it, “(i)n the Philippines today, marital dissolution leading ...view middle of the document...
” (Dayan, page 43)
It is very common here in the Philippines for a couple to get married at a young age. Considering that the unemployment rate in this country is high, it is doubly hard for them to get employed and to be financially independent from their parents. This is one indirect cause why extended family is prevalent here. As much as the couples want to separate from their parents, their financial dependency does not permit them to do so. To quote Dr. Dayan, “(t)here is the immaturity of marrying at a young age and being without a job to assure financial security. The ‘solution’ to their predicament, which is living with either partner’s parents, soon become the ‘problem’ when the in-laws become snoopy, give unsolicited advice, or cause a son/daughter to remain permanently dependent on them.” (Dayan, page 56)
Living with the in-laws is not perceived here as a problem. In fact, it is well accepted fact or norm that newly wed should live near the in-laws. Such setting, on the contrary, is perceived as positive where family closeness is cherished. In the Philippines, we see extended family as healthy and should be emulated. Because of this, the spouse should endure any emotional hardship for the sake of the unity of the extended family. “No matter how seriously the wife has been hurt, everyone knows that mother-in-law’s trouble is not enough reason for the break up of marriage.” (Lapuz, page 58)
Presumably, “…all Filipino couples have to contend with in-law problems, if only to a small extent. They are very much part of the scene. But not all such problems become a major threat to the wife’s equanimity or the stability of the marriage.” (Lapuz, page 56)
The Biblical Principle of Leaving and Cleaving
The Bible teaches us that in marriage, the spouse should leave his or her parents and be one with the husband or wife. “A man and woman enter into marriage out of their own chouse and by their own effort determine its failure and success.” (Miranda-Feliciano, page 106) This is always overlooked in the Filipino marriage. The economic (especially when the couple don’t have jobs) and social (society tells us that it is good to be united with the family of origin) reasons make this impossible.
The Filipino family is characterized by enmeshment. Being detached is perceived as negative. But this poses a problem in any couple’s relationship. “Prolonged dependency on one’s parents diminishes the chances to develop one’s capacity to relate fully to another person. The commitment is still to one’s parents, which always be tinged with its origins from dependency, thereby inhibiting the development of autonomy.” (Lapuz, page 63)
It is a commonly accepted truth that a triangulated relationship is dysfunctional while a dyadic relationship is...