Do I Have to Have Your Child to be Your Wife???

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Remember that childhood nursery rhyme that went like this: “_________ and _________ sitting in the tree k-i-s-s-i-n-g. First comes love, then comes marriage then comes ___________ with a baby carriage.”

Lately, I’ve noticed a trend among friends, peers, and acquaintances. It seems like the new thing is baby first and lifetime commitment later. Many people are completely disregarded the “rule” that was established in that old nursery rhyme. I mean even Sinatra sang about “Love & Marriage” and how it goes together like a horse and carriage. If Sinatra were still alive today the song would probably be changed to “Love & Children”.

Perhaps I’m just very old-fashioned and traditional but I’d like a man to make a commitment prior to attempting to impregnate me. Granted, some of my friends don’t want to get married anymore for various reasons. This also bothers me because when did marriage become such an impractical inconvenience? I thought the point of dating and entering a relationship was to find a person who you could see yourself marrying someday. Not on the condition that they have your child first. I guess this topic most bothers me because I was in a long-term relationship with a guy that I thought was leading to marriage. He always talked about getting me pregnant and not using protection. His words only spurred to me set a reminder for my birth control and stock up on condoms. He never asked me to marry him and the talks of marriage were brief and consisted of “one day”. Is marriage really that bad? This guy made it seem like it was a death sentence. But reflecting back, I can see that he was and is a man who never wanted to marry me or anybody for that matter.

Strangely enough he’s not the only guy I’ve ever met to bring up kids first before anything else. There was a guy I wasn’t even sure I like yet who kept asking if I wanted to have children. Do men have a biological clock too or something? Do they figure: “Well I don’t really want to be tied down to one woman forever, but I have to spread my DNA so maybe she’ll say yes to a baby.” Are there men who really think like that?

It all comes down to morals, ethics, and values. What are your morals, ethics, and values? What may be sensible or right for you isn’t sensible or right for me. In the end it’s all about life and how it’s going to play out. A very close friend of mine recently announced that she’s pregnant. This really surprised me because I always assumed she would be married before she had children. She comes from a family with pretty high morals and ethics about marriage before children. A lot of this has to do with her grandfather being a pastor. She has two younger sisters who married first and then had children. So imagine my surprise when I find out, through the friendship grapevine, that she’s pregnant. I’m happy for my friend but am concerned because while she loves the guy she’s with he hasn’t had the decency to marry her. This will be her first child, but not his. I’m just afraid that my friend fell in love with a “serial procreator”.

I understand that life is complicated. I’m not writing this to put down or belittle the choices or circumstances that anyone I know has found themselves in. I just know that for myself, I need a little more than let’s make a baby and have that be our lifetime commitment.

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2 thoughts on “Do I Have to Have Your Child to be Your Wife???

  1. Having a child is a lifelong commitment to the child and a lifelong tie to the parent, unless it’s a donor or adoption situation. The “let’s make a baby” or “let’s have a baby together” whether it’s brought up by the man or woman is problematic if there has been no commitment for the parents to be together. And true, the parents might not want marriage. But if they don’t want marriage because they don’t want to be tied down to that person or any person forever, then perhaps they might want to reconsider recreating a lifelong commitment in the form of a life with that person. Given the legal, financial and emotional considerations, a woman who wants a child but not a husband is better off at a sperm bank.

    The step of marriage also serves as a speed bump. Your girlfriend may be dating a guy who you feel is not marriage or father material — maybe he’s just weird, maybe he’s a bad boy, maybe he’s too old/young/broke or shows signs of meanness or abuse, or cheats. Maybe he’s not too bright. But none of that (except for the abuse) matters if he’s a transitional guy or a boy toy or the relationship will fizzle and burn before any damage is done. When people got married first, the relationship would usually end before a wedding, so there would be no child. If it didn’t end naturally, you could have a heart to heart talk with your girlfriend before the wedding and she could change her mind, or, during the preparations she could meet his family and realize his life is not for her. But when there’s no wedding speed bump, well then, regardless of whether the relationship fizzles, your friend is tied to her transitional man FOREVER.

    I say even if the woman doesn’t actually want marriage, if the guy brings up baby the response should be “Do you want to get married?” and if he says no, he’s not ready for that, then maybe the woman should not be ready to have his baby. Let’s be honest, if the woman is ready for a baby, a woman can get pregnant. But it doesn’t have to be the guy currently on her couch. Shouldn’t he have to do something to earn that distinction? Prove his worth? Except for that 19 kids and counting family, women only have a few kids. Shouldn’t we be very selective and make requirements?

    I know it doesn’t always happen that way, I’m not addressing the accidents or youthful mistakes or even failed birth control. I’m talking about purposeful procreation.

    And you bring up a good point about the serial dads. I have a friend who just did the same. Had her first baby, while it was his second. He didn’t marry the first mother, and he and my friend have not married. And the first child wasn’t a youthful mistake, nor is the second. He gets women and they have his children. And he could do it again.

    Perhaps men are biologically wired to spread their seed. and that being close, attracted to and sexually active with a fertile woman heightens their desire to procreate. If so, that’s their job. The flip-side of that (biologically speaking) is it’s the woman’s job to protect the nest and only allow the very best of males to impregnate her, a man who has means, is stable, can and will care for her and the offspring and has desirable traits to pass on to her children. (Biological analysis. I know women can care for children themselves. it’s just easier with the right support.) As far as having means and stability and minimizing flight risk, marriage is the best test. It ties up assets, makes it harder to run, makes it less likely that he can create a new nest that he has to support which would spread resources too thin. Basically, since rearing a human child requires such a long time and such support the female who will be slowed by pregnancy, childbirth and early rearing has to insure assistance or at least a willingness to commit to assist . “Let’s make a baby” does not do that. Evening saying, “we’ll raise the baby together” doesn’t do that. Putting your assets behind it and making it public is at least something. And the father may love and care for the baby/child/teen/adult — but he may not love, honor and cherish and mom.

    For some species the males have to fight it out for the privilege of impregnating the female. That insures that the female is getting the strongest, bravest mate and one who is willing to fight for the privilege.

    Giving the baby his name, and inviting him to the baby shower and delivery room may just satisfy his need to procreate, to show off his product, the fruits of his loins. As for the woman, it establishes paternity and she gets a wanted baby. But it often happens too quickly without the marriage piece. And it frees him to spread his seed elsewhere. Yeah, I know a married guy could do that, too, or a divorced dad. But it’s harder to do that while married.

    No one wants to not celebrate a new baby. So there’s a gag order on saying anything once a pregnancy is announced, though I wonder whether that’s good for other women or girls listening. Seems to me that a lot of trouble and drama can be avoided if people could vow not to make a baby with someone they aren’t married to. (If an accident happens, it happens, but having that promise as a preventative measure might weed out the unfortunates — both male and female.) It does also protect men from getting trapped into fatherhood by a woman who sees potential in him but knows he is unlikely to marry. (See all the male pro athletes who have children very young) It’s not a conservative or religious or even a moral thing. But even stating it here seems almost Victorian. No one wants to judge or shame. And we all know you don’t have to be married to have a baby. And many choose not to marry and it doesn’t mean they will burn in hell. It’s not about that. It’s a matter of protection and finding out the true motives of your lover. Many young women look adoringly into their boyfriends eyes and think “Wouldn’t we make great babies?” But something has to slap her awake to say yeah, but not today. If a woman won’t require something first (like marriage) there is nothing to stop an decision to throw out the birth control in the heat of passion and baby goggles after viewing everybody’s new baby pictures on Facebook. I think both men and women have hormonal surges that make them want babies, babies, BABIES! But we are thinking creatures and we should work against that a bit.

    And I’m not even trying to wag the moral finger. The baby prerequisite could be financial. “Yes, let’s make a baby. But you have to have $25,000 in the bank and add me as a joint owner, take out an insurance policy naming me as a beneficiary, write a will leaving everything to me, and agree to a vasectomy after the child’s birth. The child will carry my name until such vasectomy is completed.” This will provide for some “seed” money (pun not initially intended, but let’s go with it) to cover expenses, protection in case of death, and it will prohibit the dad from making another family. It will also disallow him from claiming this one while making another. I say it’s a win-win. Or, they could just get married.

    And believe me, I know that marriage does not necessarily keep a guy home or from making new babies. I married, had children, divorced and my ex-husband has made more children. But the whole process took years and he was around when our children were very young. And he’s obligated by law to provide some support for the children. And before the children, I finished my education, knowing I wouldn’t have children until after I was married for a while. If I had been okay with having children before marriage, things would have been very different.

    I hesitate to even comment and I applaud your willing to write about it, because there are women whom I respect who have made this choice and it works for them and there is no problem with the guy and they are living like married people anyway. And they are happy and the child is happy and loved.

    But I’m concerned about the other people, the serial procreators (male or female) who seem to make the decision lightly, because, you know, babies! babies! babies! and the celebrities who are role models for it (but who don’t have to worry about the financial piece). Babies are no joke, man.

    Marriage should not be entered into lightly, as the preacher says, but babies? That’s no joke.

    And this brings up the whole marriage equality thing — people who are fighting for the right for their love and relationship to be given legal meaning and public acknowledgement and financial benefits with or without children while straight couples are skipping marriage, saying it’s not necessary to make a family.

    I’m sorry this is so long. Because of my friend it’s a topic that’s been on my mind. She’s fine and seems so happy but had she announced her engagement rather than her pregnancy I would have inquired about her intended’s intentions, his job (or lack thereof) his family, what’s up with his other kid and his mother? And he seems so possessive, etc . . . but not now. It’s too late now. I thought he was just a transitional man after a bad break up. I had no idea he would be the father of her child and she was to be one of the mothers of his. Marriage is a speed bump, man.

    Okay, done.

    • Thanks for commenting. You do have a lot to say on this topic but they are all extremely valid points. Many that I didn’t even think about so I’m glad that you brought them up. Marriage is a hard thing but I thing having a child is the hardest thing a person will do in their lifetime. I just feel like no matter how a person gets to childbirth it shouldn’t be entered into or taken lightly. Also, good point about marriage equality. This is a topic that could relate to so many people in various ways.

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