SC annuls marriage; Chinese husband avoids SEX with wife


Man has not invented a reliable compass by which to steer a marriage in its journey over troubled waters. Laws are seemingly inadequate. Over time, much reliance has been placed in the works of the unseen hand of Him who created all things.

Who is to blame when a marriage fails?

In this case, the lower court (Regional Trial Court or RTC) issued a decree of annulment of the marriage on the ground of psychological incapacity against the husband, in favor of the wife. The husband, a Chinese, felt upset by this decision so he went up to the Court of Appeals (CA) but turned out to be unsuccessful. The CA sided with the RTC. Also upset about the CA's ruling, the husband went up to the Supreme Court.

Even up to the time of the filing of the petition for annulment of marriage filed by the wife, there was still no sexual intercourse between them since they got married. The wife alleged that the husband does not want to have sex with her. The fact remains that there has never been coitus between them. At any rate, since the action to declare the marriage void may be filed by either party, i.e., even the psychologically incapacitated, the question of who refuses to have sex with the other becomes immaterial. The doctor said, that he asked the defendant to masturbate to find out whether or not he has an erection and he found out that from the original size of two (2) inches, or five (5) centimeters, the penis of the defendant lengthened by one (1) inch and one centimeter. Dr. Alteza said, that the defendant had only a soft erection which is why his penis is not in its full length. But, still is capable of further erection, in that with his soft erection, the defendant is capable of having sexual intercourse with a woman.

If a spouse, although physically capable but simply refuses to perform his or her essential marriage obligations, and the refusal is senseless and constant, Catholic marriage tribunals attribute the causes to psychological incapacity than to stubborn refusal. Senseless and protracted refusal is equivalent to psychological incapacity. Thus, the prolonged refusal of a spouse to have sexual intercourse with his or her spouse is considered a sign of psychological incapacity.

While the law provides that the husband and the wife are obliged to live together, observe mutual love, respect and fidelity (Art. 68, Family Code), the sanction therefor is actually the "spontaneous, mutual affection between husband and wife and not any legal mandate or court order" (Cuaderno vs. Cuaderno 120 Phil. 1298). Love is useless unless it is shared with another. Indeed, no man is an island, the cruelest act of a partner in marriage is to say "I could not have cared less." This is so because an ungiven self is an unfulfilled self. The egoist has nothing but himself. In the natural order, it is sexual intimacy which brings spouses wholeness and oneness. Sexual intimacy is a gift and a participation in the mystery of creation. It is a function which enlivens the hope of procreation and ensures the continuation of family relations.

It appears that there is absence of empathy between petitioner and private respondent. That is — a shared feeling which between husband and wife must be experienced not only by having spontaneous sexual intimacy but a deep sense of spiritual communion. Marital union is a two-way process. An expressive interest in each other's feelings at a time it is needed by the other can go a long way in deepening the marital relationship. Marriage is definitely not for children but for two consenting adults who view the relationship with love amor gignit amorem, respect, sacrifice and a continuing commitment to compromise, conscious of its value as a sublime social institution.

This Court, finding the gravity of the failed relationship in which the parties found themselves trapped in its mire of unfulfilled vows and unconsummated marital obligations, can do no less but sustain the studied judgment of respondent appellate court. (G.R. No. 119190; January 16, 1997)

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