In years gone by it was commonplace that if a young lady got pregnant and was unmarried, the young man was expected to "make it right" by marrying her. Pastor Tara Sloan wrote about this recently in one of her blogs, about the term "shotgun weddings." In the past, there was great pressure from society on a young woman to get married if she was pregnant, even if the boy/man was the worst thing in the world for her, or vice versa. The thought was, "you made your bed, now lay in it."
My thought is that one unwise decision should not follow another one. Two bad decisions just add up to double trouble.
At the dinner party, Larry and I were asked, "if one of your kids got someone pregnant or became pregnant out of wedlock, would you expect or pressure them to marry?" We said, "absolutely not." The majority of the people in the room concurred with us, but not all. Some disagreed and said, "What?! Why? Isn't it just the right thing to do to get married if you are pregnant?"
Larry and I went on to explain that two wrongs don't make a right. Taking one bad decision and compounding it with another unwise decision doesn't make it any better.
Now, there are exceptions. If the relationship is a good one that is God-ordained anyway, (besides the falling into sin part!) and the couple would have eventually married anyway -- then going ahead and getting married is a different story. Take my assistant, Cathy, for instance. She is very open about her testimony and has shared it on comments here on my blog before. She and her husband Tom are high school sweethearts. They became pregnant with their first child while unmarried and in high school. They did not get married because they "had to" but because they truly loved each other and wanted to be together for life -- baby or no baby. I do believe their marriage was destined by God although it happened sooner than they were expecting (because of the baby) it's a decision they would have made regardless. Although not "perfect" (none of us are and we have all had our ups and downs in life/marriage) they have had a strong love for all these years and remain more in love today than they were back then and are a great testimony today of Christian marriage.
However, there are also young couples who have gotten married simply because a pregnancy happened, and they never in a million years would have married had it not been for the pregnancy. Marriage is hard enough even without kids. But couples like this are immediately thrown into both roles, and usually don't make it very long. If it's not God ordained in the first place they usually try to keep a sinking ship floating for a few years until they finally divorce -- leading to an even bigger problem of a messy divorce and custody battle. All because they tried to do what was "right". But does God think marriage that is the only "right" choice for one who is pregnant? I don't believe so.
Then there are pure hearted Christian young ladies or men who, although they have not gotten pregnant or fathered a child out of wedlock, have slipped and fallen into premarital sex or they are just "technical virgins". Particularly with a "first love" or if it is the first individual they have been intimate with, they often feel a strong bond with that person and it's no wonder -- they have given a part of themselves away to them. But now they feel compelled that they must stay with that person because of that. How many of you know a young man or woman who is with the wrong person or chasing the wrong person simply because they have this "soul tie" of sorts with them because they have been intimate? What they feel is not really God at all but an unGodly bond.
Hint to parents here: do you have a daughter who keeps going back to a relationship where she seems to be mistreated on a regular basis? You can't understand or comprehend why she does it. She's in a yo-yo relationship, the guy keeps her emotionally dangling, and she keeps going back for more even after she promises you she won't. She might tell you it's true love but it leaves you shaking your head as to why anybody would put up with that treatment. I'm telling you that in many cases it's that she's been intimate with him and wants to make it work at all costs because she's given a piece of herself away. It's an unGodly soul tie, not love. Only when free of this will she be able to move on with her life and God's true plan for her. (Of course this happens to boys too at times but I have seen it most often with girls or young women.) What do you do? Pray your guts out that she'll break free. Sometimes young ladies are so blinded by this, they don't listen to a word you say but you've got to keep interceding her back to her right mind.
I write this blog to encourage those of you who may be making this mistake yourself, or you may have a son or daughter caught in a difficult time of decision. God can redeem the situation and restore your life without making a wrong marriage choice that is going to affect you for life. God can make you clean and forgive you and you can go on without being tied to someone for life who is not necessarily right for you.
If you are married and raising children like I am, this is something to think about. How do you feel about it? When we got into the discussion with our friends at dinner, one couple was shocked to find out how they sharply disagreed. That couple had some talking to do to come to agreement on what stand they would take if faced with such a situation in their children's lives.
How about you? If your son or daughter was faced with an out of wedlock pregnancy, would you pressure them to marry? If your son/daughter or another young person you are ministering to has sex outside of marriage and felt they should marry the person because they were their "first" and lost their virginity to them/had emotional ties to the person but you could see the relationship was clearly bad for them, and leading them away from God's will, how would you advise them? Just something to think about.