I KNOW of two or so young men who have decided to marry their girlfriends as a result of having made them pregnant. One was in a steady relationship with a university student and had planned to marry her as soon as she had graduated.
Unfortunately, he betrayed her and after that he had made his workmate pregnant. He told me he was just having a baby with her and there were no intentions of getting together as husband and wife. He gave me all the reasons he could of why the two couldn’t just marry. The reasons emanated from differences in denominational preferences to social interests and cultural inclinations.
I come across such situations as I do my chaplaincy. Boys and girls who burn their lustful energies they would never imagine ever marrying but, alas, when pregnant issues come in, they decide to become Mr-and-Mrs-So-and-So. Needless to mention, the pressure that comes from the lady’s family as a result of this unwanted baby.
The woman’s parents will come with all the demands that really sound like a threat of grave consequences if the gentleman would not marry their daughter.
At least he is promised of softer terms of payments for ‘damage’ if he agrees to marry their daughter. Damage? What about the psychological ‘damage’ the young man will experience because of his new status as father and now husband?
Marriage is not a petty issue. Marriage is a serious responsibility and obligation that one should not get into simply because they have a child with someone. Many marriages that were founded on this premise are in the doldrums.
When a situation is allowed to continue where a child or baby defines marriage then we are simply diverting from the divine covenant. God who initiated marriage in the Garden of Eden after making Adam a woman he called Eve said “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and they will become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24) From the Genesis account, marriage precede child bearing.
It was after the marriage covenant that God said, “Go multiply fill the earth.” I know someone out there will give a theology of the old testament that Moses Torah commanded that whoever got someone’s daughter and slept with her, all he needed to do in the morning was to go to this daughter’s parents and pay dowry and that’s it, that was marriage.
It is just wise to look at the bigger picture.
To some extent the fear of raising a child outside marriage are far less than the consequences of two disagreeing people who marry just because of a child. In fact such marriages don’t even last long before the very foundation begins to crumble down. And before the marriage is dissolved, the marital disagreements would have caused some deep psychological catastrophe even to the very child they were trying to shield by this marriage.
The author is a chaplain for Mupapa Secondary School for the Seventh-Day Adventists in Copperbelt Province.