Traditionally, it is expected that when a man impregnates a woman, he has to take responsibility for her and the child by marrying her. Unfortunately, this has led certain women into using pregnancy as a means of ‘trapping’ a man that appears to not want to settle down quickly.
On the other hand, some men with commitment issues and cheating habits will use this to justify their philandering ways. Granted, there are couples that are enjoying happy marriages despite marrying as a result of pregnancy. However, the question still remains; must you marry your baby daddy even though you or he is unwilling or not ready to do so yet…or ever?
Does pregnancy equal love?
There is a general assumption that for two people to have sex, they must be in-love with each other. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. The thought truly sounds biblical and it is romantically enticing except, there’s no backing for it. If we were to be really honest, I think most of us would agree that a large percentage of consummated relationships are a result not of love, but of physical attraction or mere lust.
Unfortunately, the process of fertilization never factors in the lovers’ emotional motives during sex. If the biological environment is fertile, then yes, a baby will be made.
Responsibility for Love
There is so much pressure from society and from the family to have a pregnant unmarried woman marry the man responsible. The argument is usually that if the couple indulged in sex, then they should bear responsibility for their actions by doing ‘the right thing.’
Other families argue that marriage is a way of protecting the girl or woman’s honor, including that of her family. Some parents are known to say things like, “you ruined our child and now no one will want to marry her.” They deem the girl/woman as no longer marketable to other men. And if that’s the case, naturally, they feel marrying her off is a way of saving her.
They say the child must not be born out of wedlock. This is how teenagers that have had the misfortune of falling pregnant young end up marrying young.
And there is the gentleman who would rather marry the girl than risk paying money for both ‘damages’ for pregnancy and lobola (bride price). He figures that it would be cheaper to just cover the bride price than be charged for both.
Either way, the underlying assumption is that marriage is the correct course of action to take. But what happens when the couple or one of them isn’t ready for marriage? What happens when there is no love? And most importantly, what happens when the man in question feels ‘forced’ into the marriage?
What happens when there is little or no love?
There’s a population of people that believes that marriage does not always equal love. And maybe they’re right in their assertions. However, it is one thing to completely not believe in it and a whole other thing to be under the illusion it exists when in reality, it doesn’t.
Love is rarely considered a factor when dealing with unwed parents. Marriage appears to cover all the possible negative consequences of falling pregnant out of wedlock.
Unfortunately, the cover in most cases only holds for a short while. Thus, due to the recurring misconception of love as a driving force behind intercourse, many couples forced to tie the knot after falling pregnant find themselves in unhappy marriages.
Immature love can crack under pressure
When two people are forced into a life-long binding contract, resentment grows. Granted, the child will be born in a traditional family setup, except, it takes far more work to make a marriage work.
There is even more work to make a home a conducive environment to raise a child in. What usually enables most couples to succeed in these areas is love. Love has the ability to instil in humans the desire to become better versions of themselves. There is a reason why they call pregnancy marriages ‘short-gun marriages.’ The couples do not have enough time to fully equip themselves with what it takes to be married emotionally, psychologically and even financially.
Fortunately, this is something that can be corrected as long as the couple commits to making things work. Unfortunately, the ‘pressure’ that comes with such rushed marriages has the potential to destruct couples from what they ought to be doing. Instead, they focus solely on the ‘inconvenience’ of their new reality as parents.
Marriage isn’t the only option
Indeed marriage sounds like the best option for couples being pressured to raise their child in a traditional family set-up. However, if both or one of you isn’t so keen on the idea of marriage, then it is best to consider other options. What might appear and feel like pain right now might probably be the best decision you would have made about your life and that of your child.
Some solutions appear to fix the problem permanently when in reality, they carry long-term problems. On the other hand, some solutions might temporarily bring you pain, shame, and embarrassment, but with them comes a lifetime of happiness and self-growth.
Even though marriage is the ideal set-up for raising a family, it is not the only means of doing so. You do not have to get married to someone that does not love you or someone that isn’t ready to do so. It is possible for a father and mother to raise a child together without necessarily having to live together. Yes, there will be challenges but they are far less traumatic than the risks that come with being in a loveless marriage.
However, if you do find yourself in such a marriage, it is imperative that you get the necessary guidance to help build and shape your marriage. Marriage in itself is neither a solution nor a destination. It is a journey, one that is evolving and challenging.