Today’s question is something I think about sometimes as a possible scenario I run into.

If my girlfriend is pregnant, do I have to propose?

Hm, that’s an interesting question.

I look at my parents. I was out of wedlock. When I, uh…”showed up” my parents were like “might as well”, but, the thing is, from what they told me, they were really on that path anyway. They were basically high school sweethearts and I showed up during their college years so they knew each other and had an established relationship.

That was their decision that may have been accelerated because of me showing up. Sometimes I don’t believe that, though. Sometimes I feel like I’m the only reason why they jumped into marriage. That feeling will likely never go away and sometimes I feel bad because what if they didn’t really want to go that far together? All of these years later, they seem to be doing extremely well so I guess it worked out.

There are plenty of people who have, what I assume from your question, an unplanned pregnancy. A long time ago, (perhaps during my parent’s era) it was expected to get married to the mother of your kid(s) (shame on those of you for having multiple kids out of wedlock!!!!!).

But, honestly, marriage is outside of the kid. It’s outside of being a parent. It’s not an ideal scenario, but you can raise a kid outside of marriage quite easily if you work on it. If you are entering a marriage just because of Billy, you…

If you love your girlfriend and can see yourself with her, then go for it. But if you are EXCLUSIVELY putting on a ring because of Billy, it would appear you would be in a loveless marriage. It would appear you would end up in a constant state of “what if” and regret. But, I think, you should not “have to” do that.

Marriage is serious and involves a full commitment to your spouse; not to raising a kid. You f’d up and had this kid out of wedlock and not getting married means you are raising a kid in a broken home, technically. However, as long as you are seriously active in the kid’s life, it’s really going to be okay.

Others would say you gotta do things “right”. Marry her and live with the family you made. This mistake of having the kid before the ring is not ideal, but I don’t think you getting married is going to teach you anything. Again, being a husband and being a parent are two different things with two different commitments.

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