As we have previously mentioned in the I Love Being Happily Married Facebook page, George and I are currently expecting our first child, due early this summer.
Getting Educated on How to be Better Parents
Given the fact that our lives as we know them are about to change forever, we opted to educate ourselves on the matter by signing up for an intensive childbirth preparation class, which we attended this past weekend.
The first thing that caught my attention was noticing that all the other expectant couples (8 to be exact) were very supportive of each other despite the anxiety that bringing a baby into their lives can possibly bring.
Like George and myself, they seemed to see this period of their lives as a new adventure, as something challenging, yet exciting. Most important, they all appeared to be Happily Married.
During the course, we all learned how from the moment the pregnancy test comes back positive and for the years to come, this journey is anything but easy (as if my 24-hour heartburn and intense lower back pain hadn’t shown me that already… Not to mention my growing belly that now makes me look like I swallowed a watermelon – whole!)
Facing the Unknown as a Team
The main thought that kept coming to my mind was “how can someone willingly go through all this without the support of a partner?” Furthermore, how can women today be advocating for “single motherhood” while many other couples insist it’s completely perfect and healthy to raise children out of wedlock?
Call me “old-fashioned” or whatever… All I know is that after learning everything that bringing a child into the world implicates, I just cannot understand why anyone would think that marriage is not necessary to raise a child in a healthy, happy way.
Bringing a new life into the world has the potential to throw your life completely out of whack, and the only thing that can possibly give a person some mental comfort (and to some extent, sanity) is knowing that you are not alone in this journey, that you have a partner who will be there to support you and who will stick around to experience the exact same thing that you are going through.
I know that many people who have or currently are raising children out of wedlock might disagree completely with me, but I just can’t imagine what it would be like to go through such a dramatic life-changing experience without the certainty that there is a partner who has signed a legal contract and with the promise to be by your side every step of the way… Even worse, a single mother voluntarily choosing to face parenthood on her own.
It’s the Kids Who Pay the Price
Studies show that children who live with their own two married parents enjoy better physical health, on average, than do children in other family forms. Additionally, it has been reported that approximately 70% of inmates in state juvenile detention centers come from single mother homes. And of all single mothers, 41.3% are classified as single mothers due to choosing to raise their children out of wedlock.
Further research published by FamilyScholars.org has shown 30 reasons why it matters if couples get and stay married, many of which are related to family and children.
No wonder even famous co-habiting, almost “anti-marriage” couples like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, are deciding to formally tie the knot, claiming that it is the best thing for their children.
I don’t think it’s best only for the children – it’s also for the couple itself since raising a child can bring many challenges, both expected and unexpected ones.
Benefits of a Committed Spouse in Your Corner
Who couldn’t use a little help by sharing the responsibility with a truly loving partner who has made the promise and a legal commitment to stick around? How can a child grow happy and healthy within a household lacking the stability and predictability that only a solid marriage can create?
Let me tell you, after spending a weekend learning what to expect during childbirth and the first few weeks after giving birth, these statistics don’t surprise me at all.
And I know that if there are any single parents by choice (not by circumstance – Widows do NOT fall within the previous statistics) still reading this post, they may completely disagree by giving me countless exceptions to this fact.
All I can say is that, whether I don’t argue that there may be multiple exceptions to the previous statement, they are still exceptions.
Raising a child is perhaps one of the most challenging – and rewarding – experiences that any person can have. And that being the case, there’s no better way to get through this wild ride than by sharing it with another person who loves you enough to make the promise and legal commitment of being by your side “for as long as you both shall live.”
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Photo credit: jonathan.youngblood