If she gets pregnant, is marrying her the "right thing to do?"


#1

Maybe this question should go in the family section, I don't know. If it needs to be moved, that's fine. :)

There is this boy at work. We're not really friends outside of work, but he's my work buddy. :) Recently, he told me his girlfriend is pregnant and they will be getting married in a few months. From his tone I could tell he was upset about the situation, so I asked if that's what he wanted.

He said, "No, but I have to do the right thing."

"Well, do you love her?" I asked? He didn't say yes, instead he talked about growing up in a single parent household and how he didn't want that for his kid.

I understand that sex before marriage is wrong. But it's already been done and now there is a baby on the way. And I know that the ideal is a mom and a dad raising their baby together in marriage, but isn't it supposed to be a loving marriage? Isn't it wrong to enter into marriage if it's just out of a feeling of obligation instead of love? I guess I sort of look at it as taking communion if you don't believe in the real presence.

Am I wrong on this? What advice should I give to him?


#2

It depends on a lot of factors. As part of the marriage vows they ask if the person has willfully come here and is not being pressured. If he is only marrying her because the baby, it is not a reason to marry! If he was going to marry her regardless of the baby (or if, sadly, they lost the baby) then that is another thing. Hopefully, they will go through premarital counseling because most pastors and priests know that no one is to be pressured into marriage (or any other sacrament). He should still be responsible for his child by spending time with the mother and supporting her through pregnancy and childbirth and giving her money and thing for the baby and spending time with the baby. It isn't a bad thing to wait till the baby is born to get married so that everyone is thinking more clearly about the situation. There shouldn't be a 'one' reason to get married. There should be many reasons that factor into it.


#3

[quote="Carina20, post:2, topic:321160"]
It depends on a lot of factors. As part of the marriage vows they ask if the person has willfully come here and is not being pressured. If he is only marrying her because the baby, it is not a reason to marry! If he was going to marry her regardless of the baby (or if, sadly, they lost the baby) then that is another thing. Hopefully, they will go through premarital counseling because most pastors and priests know that no one is to be pressured into marriage (or any other sacrament). He should still be responsible for his child by spending time with the mother and supporting her through pregnancy and childbirth and giving her money and thing for the baby and spending time with the baby. It isn't a bad thing to wait till the baby is born to get married so that everyone is thinking more clearly about the situation. There shouldn't be a 'one' reason to get married. There should be many reasons that factor into it.

[/quote]

I know he doesn't want to marry her. Because until he found she was pregnant, all he talked about was how much he liked this other girl. And he's never really had anything good to say about his current girlfriend. (Aside from sex, that is.) But if even half of what he tells me is true, he should go after full custody. All of that is for a different thread though.

They aren't religious so they will probably just have a civil ceremony, so I don't think there will be any premarital counseling.


#4

The fact that he knows what it's like to grow up in a single parent home, doesn't want it for his child and is willing to sacrifice for the child he is bringing into this world instead of letting the child sacrifice for him says a lot about your friend. We can debate the merits for the adults all day but the child does change the consequences of your options.


#5

[quote="Hat4, post:4, topic:321160"]
The fact that he knows what it's like to grow up in a single parent home, doesn't want it for his child and is willing to sacrifice for the child he is bringing into this world instead of letting the child sacrifice for him says a lot about your friend. We can debate the merits for the adults all day but the child does change the consequences of your options.

[/quote]

Personally, I think "staying together for the child" is bunk. Yeah, it sucks growing up when your parents are split. But what kind of home is it for a child when his or her parents are constantly fighting and don't really love each other? (Which is how it is for this couple.)


#6

[quote="pollynova, post:1, topic:321160"]
he told me his girlfriend is pregnant and they will be getting married in a few months. From his tone I could tell he was upset about the situation, so I asked if that's what he wanted.

He said, "No, but I have to do the right thing."

[/quote]

If he really means that "No," something I cannot personally discern, the marriage vows may be invalidated on the grounds that consent is lacking.

He definitely has moral responsibilities and obligations to any child he fathers and, by association, the child(ren)'s mother(s). Marrying the mother(s) is not necessarily one of them.

[quote="pollynova, post:1, topic:321160"]
isn't it supposed to be a loving marriage?

[/quote]

Whether it's loving or not, it's not a valid marriage without free and deliberate consent. If he's Catholic, he should discuss this with his pastor and/or someone more familiar with canon law and its interpretation.


#7

I think that if he really wants to do the right thing, he will decide to love the girl, and also marry her.


#8

[quote="pollynova, post:3, topic:321160"]
I know he doesn't want to marry her. Because until he found she was pregnant, all he talked about was how much he liked this other girl. And he's never really had anything good to say about his current girlfriend. (Aside from sex, that is.) But if even half of what he tells me is true, he should go after full custody. All of that is for a different thread though.

[/quote]

My husband and I had an unplanned pregnancy at the beginning of our relationship. We ended up putting the child up for adoption. Neither of us were ready to be married or be parents. We ended up getting married about a year after we relinquished custody of the child. It was tough, but that was our situation. He supported me through the pregnancy. It was far from ideal, but we made the best out of a bad situation.

Both of us came from chaotic family situations/single parents and didn't want to raise a child in one. Neither of us wanted to be single parents or have "drama". That was a huge reason why we chose a two-parent (man+woman) Christian family to parent the child. Since we placed the child, the family has adopted several more kids and they were able to parent when we weren't in a position to do that job.

These days, adoptions a lot more open than they have been in the past. We exchange letters and pictures a couple of times a year. Other arrangements are more open and include visitation w/the child and adoptive family.

He has to be honest about where he is in life and adoption might be an option for them to seriously consider. (But that does require both parties to sign away their rights to the child).


On the other hand, one of my HS friends got pregnant right before graduation. She and the guy got married and they are still together and happy.


It's great that the coworker's not trying to figure out how to pay for an abortion, but I'd advise extreme caution if he thinks that getting married because there's a baby is on the way is a best idea in the situation. Sometimes (for the kid) being in a single parent home is a lot than living in a two-parent home when the parents can't stand each other.

It's honorable that he wants to do the "right" thing, but marriage should be a joyful event that shouldn't be rushed into, regardless of the circumstances. There's no reason why they can't get married after the baby is born. And some parents don't get married, but just live together. Or they have shared custody.....

I'm not saying that some of these are ideal choices, but he's not in an ideal position.

I'm glad that he's got a good "friend" in his life w/whom he can discuss these things.

Good luck to you both.


#9

[quote="pollynova, post:1, topic:321160"]
What advice should I give to him?

[/quote]

I would ask, "If she wasn't pregnant would you want to marry her?"

If the answer is "yes," full speed ahead.

If the answer is "no," get ready to pay child support, but don't walk down the aisle.


#10

[quote="pollynova, post:1, topic:321160"]
Maybe this question should go in the family section, I don't know. If it needs to be moved, that's fine. :)

There is this boy at work. We're not really friends outside of work, but he's my work buddy. :) Recently, he told me his girlfriend is pregnant and they will be getting married in a few months. From his tone I could tell he was upset about the situation, so I asked if that's what he wanted.

He said, "No, but I have to do the right thing."

"Well, do you love her?" I asked? He didn't say yes, instead he talked about growing up in a single parent household and how he didn't want that for his kid.

I understand that sex before marriage is wrong. But it's already been done and now there is a baby on the way. And I know that the ideal is a mom and a dad raising their baby together in marriage, but isn't it supposed to be a loving marriage? Isn't it wrong to enter into marriage if it's just out of a feeling of obligation instead of love? I guess I sort of look at it as taking communion if you don't believe in the real presence.

Am I wrong on this? What advice should I give to him?

[/quote]

Are they Catholic? :confused:

My opinion is that they should take good care of each other during the pregnancy, meet and get to know their child together, and consider giving the child up for adoption - even to another family member or someone they both know, if they want to keep in touch with their child.

It's definitely not an ideal situation, but doing right by the child doesn't necessarily mean being forced into a marriage that neither party is ready for or wants.


#11

While I do think it is worthwhile to consider adoption placement, which many find to be a good decision for their children and themselves, I also think it is important that no one be pressured or coerced to place a child for adoption. This should also be an informed decision, not a hasty one, with deliberate consent.

A couple of resources that come to mind:

adoptioncouncil.org/for-birthparents/for-birthparents.html
birthmothers.org


#12

[quote="pollynova, post:1, topic:321160"]
Maybe this question should go in the family section, I don't know. If it needs to be moved, that's fine. :)

There is this boy at work. We're not really friends outside of work, but he's my work buddy. :) Recently, he told me his girlfriend is pregnant and they will be getting married in a few months. From his tone I could tell he was upset about the situation, so I asked if that's what he wanted.

He said, "No, but I have to do the right thing."

"Well, do you love her?" I asked? He didn't say yes, instead he talked about growing up in a single parent household and how he didn't want that for his kid.

I understand that sex before marriage is wrong. But it's already been done and now there is a baby on the way. And I know that the ideal is a mom and a dad raising their baby together in marriage, but isn't it supposed to be a loving marriage? Isn't it wrong to enter into marriage if it's just out of a feeling of obligation instead of love? I guess I sort of look at it as taking communion if you don't believe in the real presence.

Am I wrong on this? What advice should I give to him?

[/quote]

Getting married is probably a terrible idea, in most cases especially if the parties are young the best thing to do is adoption.


#13

"Well, do you love her?" I asked? He didn't say yes, instead he talked about growing up in a single parent household and how he didn't want that for his kid.

Wanting to do the right thing is honorable. Wanting an intact family for his child is honorable.

I know this is a minority viewpoint, but I wouldn't rule out marriage simply because of the unexpected pregnancy.

He has a child. The child has both a biological father and mother.

The question he needs to answer is: “Are you willing to love this girl who is the mother of your child? Are you willing to love her for the rest of your life, and put the good of your family as a first priority?"

I've known people who got married in the same circumstances and decided to love, and their love has grown along with their child. If they decide to love, it is possible. If the parents decide not to love, then adoption would be the better option.


#14

[quote="pollynova, post:5, topic:321160"]
Personally, I think "staying together for the child" is bunk. Yeah, it sucks growing up when your parents are split. But what kind of home is it for a child when his or her parents are constantly fighting and don't really love each other? (Which is how it is for this couple.)

[/quote]

I agree 100%. It would be a disaster ultimately ending in divorce. Marriage is difficult and without love it is miserable. There are other alternatives.

Just some thoughts.


#15

[quote="pollynova, post:5, topic:321160"]
Personally, I think "staying together for the child" is bunk. Yeah, it sucks growing up when your parents are split. But what kind of home is it for a child when his or her parents are constantly fighting and don't really love each other? (Which is how it is for this couple.)

[/quote]

Which is why I said we could debate what the adults should do all day long. That still doesn't change the fact that this child will deal the rest of his/her life with their parents decisions. After all the guys I've seen who consider the child the "woman's problem", he doesn't just go on his way and leave the woman and the child to deal with it. Being concerned and considering your options even if they include personal sacrifice rather than just run shows maturity and responsibility. I guess I'm not sure why it's "bunk" for him to consider the more sacrificial options even if he chooses a different path.


#16

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.