Saturday, 23 May 2009

Times: Blogs: Marriage is the leading cause of divorce
Saturday, 23rd May 2009 by Alison Bezzina

‘The human person is not an object, but a subject- who deserves respect.'

But ‘cohabitating couples should not be afforded the same status in the eyes of the law as their married counterparts.'

So it seems that not ALL humans are subjects who deserve respect, or at least, not the same levels of respect.

The first statement was uttered by Archbishop Emeritus Joseph Mercieca, whilst the second was penned by Gozo Bishop Mario Grech and to complete this divine comedy, Mgr Anton Gouder went on to say that ‘to hold the best interests of individuals and society at heart, the way forward is very clear: as a priority, to strengthen and support the family and marriage in all its stages, while giving the necessary assistance to individuals who are in other forms of relationships.'

For peace's sake! Haven't we been supporting the traditional family and traditional marriage forever and a day? Haven't we tried them all? Haven't we given married couples all the perks?

  • Joint income tax returns for lower income brackets.
  • Joint home loans.
  • Wedding VAT refunds.
  • Extra marriage leave.
  • An entire court dedicated exclusively to marriage issues.
  • Free family counselling.
  • The automatic right to inherit each other's linen, debts and houses.
  • Free marriage training at Ta Cana.

And what exactly have we ever done to support people in other forms or relationships? None of the above.

No wonder that the latest Lifestyle Survey (2007) issued by the NSO shows that marriage is still the preferred lifestyle choice with 195,708 (64%) people being married and only 6, 073 (1.9%) cohabitating.

Don't the numbers speak for themselves? We've made marriage look so attractive that the majority of people still want to find that special someone to annoy for the rest of their lives.

The same survey claims that married couples enjoy a standard of living that is 16 per cent better than that of their cohabitating counterparts, and probably as a direct result of this, they are also more satisfied with their lives to the tune of 12.5% more than cohabitating people.

So who in their right mind would want to cohabit if they were given the choice to get married? Chances are that many of those cohabitating are doing so because they cannot get married, either because they are in...shock horror....drum rolls.. same sex relationships, or because one or both parties have been previously married.

The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret, but these numbers prove that for reasons beyond my comprehension the majority want it, believe in it, and do their very best to get married with pomp and circumstance, and stay married. Even those who feel that their ex-spouse is as useless as an inflamed appendix which caused a lot of pain, still want to live happily ever after.

The truth is that only Adam and Even had a perfect marriage simply because he did not have to hear about all the men she could have married, and she didn't have to hear about the way his mother cooked. All other marriages are subject to whatever life throws at them and unfortunately a few end up feeling like a triple coronary by-pass.

We can preach that couples who pray together stay together until we are blue in the face, but the truth is that some will also separate because of their religious differences - the husband will think he's God whilst the wife (and her mother) will beg to differ!

It is estimated that by 2015 more than 17% of all marriages will fail, which means that more people will go back to living in single households and dying alone, or cohabitating and falling 12.5% in their ‘lifestyle satisfaction' scale.

So now a government-commissioned Think Tank is proposing the introduction of divorce on a ‘no fault' basis. This means that no matter whose fault the break up is, both parties are treated equally - in other words - you don't get screwed for the screw you got!

I don't know about you but surely you must agree that if a marriage fails, it would better if a couple could consider the option of divorce rather than worse.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on the Times' website.]

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