Marriage: just a contract?

For some moms, marriage is an absolute requirement, but others have learned to live without it, and others don't see what the big deal is at all. What is marriage to you? A prerequisite to parenting or no big deal?

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40  Answers

4 4

I cannot believe how judgemental most of these comments are. If you are married and have children and have a happy family - power to you. You are blessed. Yes I had a child out of wedlock. There was hardly even a relationship there. I would never marry her biological father or any man just to give my child the illusion of a more "stable" environment. Every day I work to become a better person. Every day I read, sing, smile, hug and love my daughter. She tells me out of the blue (and she is only two) that she loves me. She feels secure with me. We may lack routine sometimes due to the nature of having to be homemaker, caretaker and breadwinner all in one. But I do my best to get better at it all. For those who say she will grow up dysfunctional...take a deep look in the mirror. Do you have dysfunctional days as a family? Have you ever had intense arguments with your spouse in front of your child? While my daughter doesn't hear that. I will marry some day, but for me. Not her. When I meet the right person that I am compatible with and love deeply enough to work through the hard times. Until then this mama is independently owned and operated and doing a fine job!!!

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0 11

More power to you and your daughter. I am truly happy she has you for a mom.

0 20

ABSOLUTELY! Single mom of a highly functional 12 year old boy... Left dad when he was a year old. His dad was basically a sperm donar that contributes child support once in a blue moon... My son is top of his class...did all this raising as a single mom...marriage was never even on the radar for me.

0 0

I feel the exact same way. I am probably one of the youngestmothers to comment but I honestly and completely agree. When you have got in the groove of doing this proccess of life on your own, you don't look for a man to complete that. As far as you are concerned it is complete. My happy that the fzther of my child loves our daughter til death of him and does "his best" to provide for her. BUT it is every once in a blue moon I ask him for anything. I am20 years old with a daughter who will be 2 in May and I hav my own EVERYTHING!!! I love to see a story bcuz it makes me realize more and more that I am not the only one in the world doin this single mother thing by herself and loving every minute of it.

0 20

This comment made my heart smile!

0 0

Your daughter is fortunate and blessed to have you. Some of us just happen to have our children in circumstances that may happily include a partner/father. I feel so fortunate that my partner is also the father of my two boys and that we are a team - I couldn't imagine what life would be like without him in our lives. He is a wonderful partner, a brilliant father and loving, giving, patient man, who also knows how to give me space too. Being married is never perfect, but for us it can be wonderful most of the time. Of course there are benefits to having both parents on board if there is love, respect and honesty. But honestly, what is so great about having both parents on board if a child is forced to listen to them bicker and be ugly to each other. Stephanie, as an independently owned mama, you sound happy, balanced, switched on and together to me - and that's what your daughter needs more than anything. Success to you always.

0 0

Go said it all girl!

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Keep up the good work of loving you! I hated single motherhood because I didn't love me.

0 20

Having a child because you want one is totally selfish. A child needs a mother and a father who love eachother and can provide a lving environment to raise this child. That is called stability. Children need role models in their lives. They get this from both their mother and their father. A girl can lose self esteem without a male role model and a boy may not know how to treat a girl . A single parent cannot devote as much effort to raising their child if they are working and dating. Once you become a parent the child should be the focus..

1 8

I always though I will be a single mum - turned out I married a great guy and have 2 girls. I am grateful I have my husband. More importantly, he is great dad but honestly as far taking care of children on the daily basis - he can not match our au pair. Single mums raise wonderful children - some of my girl friends are single mothers by choice but they are all in their late 30-ties, independent, with fairly stable jobs and incomes and understanding of how much sacrifice and time a child will be: long gone are crazy parties: Money goes on childcare, preschool or education not expensive shoes ( at least not as a first priority!). As long as you are mature and ready to love, nurture and support the child then yes you will be a wonderful single mum or dad

0 20

Thank you ladies. It is comforting to know that there are many of us out there. I to am a single mum of a 4 &1 yr old. Their father came & went at his leisur after me being gulable to his lies of him getting a job, being a better father & providing. When i found out i was pregnant the 2nd time, i didnt put up with it anymore. I do not allow him to see the kids amymore as he would make promises yo my son then break them & i wad left wiping tears & makibg excuses on their dads behalf. I am proud to say since having my 1st, i have always worked, completed 4 tafe course, take my kids on 2 good outings a month & in yhe process of purchasing our 2nd prpperty, all with the sipport of $7 p/ wk child support. When i had my 1st, it did bother me that i wSnt married, but i look back & se what i have acheived on my own & realise ivr done better than most married couples.... I have grown so strong, independant & have survived some if my darkest days. I am a wonderfil role model. My som picks flowers for ladies & has beautiful manners. He is very smart & is a 'go getter'. Be proud of yourself single mums... Its a bloody hard job & most married couples strugle together !!! Xo

0 0

I raised my 2 daughters ALONE from the time they were 2 and 3. I worked, managed a home, coached, was room mom, President of the PTA and attended all sporting and school activites They attended daycare daily in thier growing years. Both my daughters are College graduates, working married moms now. Both are healthy, happy and very well adjusted. Both are successful and great mommies. I sacrificied alot but it was WELL worth it.

0 0

Your story sounds like mine and you are right, you will find someone who loves you and your daughter. I have. My daughter is also 2 and her biological father wants nothing to do with her. I would rather not have him in the picture than have her deal with a dead beat dad. He ha never met her. My fiancé plans on adopting her once we get married.

0 2

You go girl! Everyone makes judgements and while we should take others thoughts/comments into consideration, we must remember that ours are usually the most important. Your daughter is lucky to have such a strong, empowered woman for a mother. That is how we are going to change the future for our children, by being strong and doing the best we can. ♥

0 0

You are a true MOTHER !!! God Bless you and your daughter both .... Am a single mother since 6 years to a lovely 7 year boy and we both are now best friends.........My son is my best decision till date I would say.

0 0

I have read most all comments and had respond to a couple of remarks. Everyone has an opinion of their own and because we come from different backgrounds we tend to be critical toward one another and that can be understood to a point~no one knows what path we have traveled in the past, one thing forsure it was a period of time to learn a great deal. And no matter how bad it was, I think this sight should serve purpose in resolving matters toward healing one another: Some of these people need hope, not condemned for their mistakes. Because they're not coming right out for advise or help~ they need inspiration from those who may have something nice to tell them. (Read between the lines) This is not a war between who is right or wrong, or who is religious or not~but a simple task to say , hey I care, maybe I can help. You'd be suprise how effective and how far one nice word is: One nice word is greater and more effective than the words that come from a sworded tongue: It's thrusting and striking, but eventually it does perish~ Good luck to all of you and for those still having problems it will all turn out well~if you believe in yourself and do the right thing in your heart.

6 32

I agree with with Heidi Counterman. I may be 'old fashioned', but that is the way I truly believe marriage should be. Marriage is a covenant union, not just a piece of paper or contract. It is a ceremony for all your family to witness and celebrate the love you and your partner have for each other.

0 1

Totally agree with you. I am happily married but we got married before because we loved each other not because we had a child. She was just an extra blessing. But from the sounds of it your daughter is one lucky little girl and you keep doing what you are doing :-) x

12 0

Don't listen to the haters. You are doing fine. I was married to the father of my children but divorced him when they were 2 and 4. It was so hard but I got tired of pretending that the alcoholic husband I had was normal. I'm now re married but it was really hard to get yo to plaxe I'm in now. I'm sure I was judged as well!

5 0

All thanks to the great Prophet Abuvia who helped me in restoring joy in my marriage again, I think I have lost it until a friend directed me to this great man Prophet Abuvia, he is indeed a very great man, I lost my husband to an unknown woman for six month, I was been thrown out of my matrimonial home along with my 2kids and nobody was able to help me and my kids I went to my mother in-law to complain of my husband attitude and to my greatest shock I was quarreled by my husband people and also thrown out, oh I wiped and wiped no help is coming so I have to meet a friend Mirabel who accommodated me and my kids and introduced me to this great man Prophet Abuvia who I contacted and he told me to not worry that this is the solution ground to my problem so I grabbed the word with courage and faith, he did what he had to do within 4 days my husband called me on phone asking me that where are we that he has been looking for us everywhere that we should please come back home also my mother in-law called and said where are we that my husband have been looking everywhere for us that we should go back home, wow this is joy I was full of tears and don't know what to say, this great man Prophet Abuvia is indeed a superior oh thanks to him again,i love him, you can reach him on his email prophet.abuvia@abv.bg. i promise to share the testimony to the world forever. he has a website too www.prophetabuviasolutiontemple.webs.com

25 0

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0 0

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0 20

Marriage is a huge commitment. A sacred one at that. Everyone needs a witness in life, someone to share all the important parts with. No one wants to win a race if no one is there at the finish line waiting, or in the crowd cheering them on. Life was meant to be shared with some one, and when someone wants you to share in theirs its an opportunity to cherish and hold on to forever. The vows you take aren't just ritual, but a promise to the one you love and who loves you. Marriage is also a lot like being a parent, its not for the weak. There will be rough patches, times when you are clueless as to what to do, but you made a commitment so you wing it. You have to grow with it as it grows with you.So in the end you can look back and say look what we did, and how far we've come, together.That's my opinion of marriage, too bad not everyone viewed it that way.

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0 8

Beautifully put. Thanks for sharing! :)

0 14

Nicely shared!

0 0

Nice one Heidi. There wouldnt have been a better way to put it..

0 20

Thanks for reading :)

21 5

It would be nice to have a marriage as the one you described, but often reality clashes with that ideal. Yes, it would be nice to have someone cheering when I cross the finish line, but would my man do that? I doubt it. Would my son do that? Absolutely! Families take all sorts of forms, the common denominator is love. Whether that love is coming from a single mom, or is shared amongst more people in a traditional two parent (of the opposite sex) household, it's still love and shouldn't be diminished by the number of people participating.

6 67

totally agree! :)

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0 0

LOVE is a choice! Outside of family, we choose who we love. Marriage is the ultimate "I love you AND will continue to CHOOSE to love you for the rest of my life"!. I don't believe that people "fall in or out of love". I believe in attraction, leading to getting to know that special someone who compliments who you are, so I'm not saying you could love someone who embodies personality traits that you find repulsive. I also believe that you shouldn't have sex with someone you wouldn't be willing to choose to love for the rest of your life. Before you go off trying to tell me I'm old fashioned, blah, blah, blah......let me inform you that I had a son when I was 25, and had no intention of marrying his father, so I didn't. Life and faith have taught me to believe that my actions were wrong. While I was blessed through my selfishness and have the best son ever (biased mom here), I know that he was deprived of the father he should have had from day 1. I married a wonderful man almost 10 years ago and now my son does have a dad (he was adopted by my husband 8 years ago). Life is easier with two parents, but more than that, through my relationship with my husband, I can teach my son some very important life lessons; how to have a romantic love, team work, communication, etc. Being a single parent is not easy and I know it's not always a choice but in my world, kids would have two loving parents who would be there for their entire lifetimes! My pastor once said the best gift you can give your kids is a great marriage - AMEN!

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So what if you don't have a great marriage? what if it turns into an aweful one? is the best gift you can give your children happy separate parents? Or is it still better to have them in a house with parents who never act affectionate in front of their kids, fight or just basically co-exist and then occasionally have semi-happy family moments together? I think I know what most people will say, but I also fear what exactly will happen when the 'kids are at Dad's' without mom around.

0 4

I think the best gift that you can give your or any child is a happy, loving and supportive upbringing. It is up to each of us to determine if we can provide that kind of environment with the father of the child or not. This should not be a choice of should I be married or not married but instead; What is the best environment for my child to grow up in? The answer should depend entirely on the dynamics of each individual relationship.

0 14

I agree with this statement. My husband and I married for love and planned the births of all 3 of our girls. No one ever knows what tomorrow will bring and sometimes life throws you a curve ball and do to unforeseen circumstance the love loses its steam. It is hard to raise a family in this economy, in this day and age and I have watched my husband work like a dog and. E swept away from us in a sea of financial hardship and struggle. I chose my love well. He respects me loves his family doesn't womanize or galavant. He doesn't do drugs or drink, yet still life sweeps over you, and even if you both keep the faith and marry with the best intentions, it may not be easy. In spite of all of this our girls love both mom and dad. They are fulfilled mentally, physically and spiritually. I would never tell anyone else that you need to be married or not to be a good parent. I would simply tell them that anything in life worth having is hard work. I love my husband but the reality is that when the honeymoon is over and you have to provide for a family, real life begins. There is no perfect world so love large hand your troubles over to someone bigger than you and smuggle those you love everyday while you count each and every blessing.

4 33

This by far is one of the more sincere and honest letters I have read. Thank u for being open and letting people know that marriage isnt all roses without being judgemental and holier than thou . Great Job Jeri because it came from your heart.

72 9

well said jeri!!

737 0

The best gift I was ever able to give my daughter was to be away from her dad, my husband. I held that illusion, then after his third skull fracture, he just started making stupid choices. He took up with my drug addicted half sister, he started treating me like trash, abducted our daughter and took her out of state, he got charged with kidnapping, but didn't serve time, he started stealing from his work and got fired, I'd like to believe he wasn't using drugs, but I'm not convinced. Situations change, I tried to keep the marriage together, dad tried to destroy it. My daughters safety was more important than my marriage. Dad could take care of himself, daughter couldn't.

19 0

I was the child of a single mother and she did great and I love her completely, but it made me all the more determined never to go it alone. I swore I wouldn't have kids until married, because I saw how she struggled, NOT because she was a bad mum for not marrying my dad. Your daughter is lucky to have you :)

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8 19

It is ordained by God that if you are having a "relationship" you are to be married. I just got married on Sunday after living together 13 years!

I had started yearning to go back to church. Several months after returning, I started feeling "convicted" by God and when we went to do the "wild thang" it felt almost like sexual abuse...hard to explain.

I talked to my man, and we decided to get married. I swear in the last month since we decided to do it my love has grown even more!

Like I said we got married a few days ago and it was just wonderful. Even the kids were happy...you wouldn't know it the way they used to act!

I say if you are really in love, go for it. And make sure you include the Lord in your life.

You will be greatly blessed.

Ok, I shall step off of my pulpit now :-)

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0 3

Well said! Children need both parents, male and female, to grow in happiness and love. Each lends a different styling and balanced strengths and weaknesses. The marital embrace was created by God to create life, not only in the creation of a child but it gives life to the union. It's only with the grace of God can that happen. Congrats on your nuptials!:)

0 20

Hmmm yah okay, I don't think so... I know this may come as a shock to you but god is a choice... Believing in god is a choice... Not one that everyone chooses. God has very little, if anything to do with marriage. I was married civilly, by a judge. Signed a paper that was also signed by the judge... Paid my $100.00 to the state and BOOM, I was married. Had nothing to do with god. Piece of paper that basically contracted me and my husband together. That's all...gid had nothing to do with it.

8 19

Thanks for your opinion, but in my case, God DID have something to do with it and though it may be hard to believe, things have only gotten better in our relationship. Yes, you can get married "without God" as you say...I was once. But he's always there and he knows.

17 18

Kayleen Fain-Barr - commented on Dec 28, 2011 "Hmmm yah okay, I don't think so... I know this may come as a shock to you but god is a choice... Believing in god is a choice... Not one that everyone chooses." I'm sorry, but this one was bugging me... particularly the "God is a choice" part. I'll tell you honey, God is not a choice! He has always been and always will be. There's nothing else to it. For people who know God, we feel him. We hear his words. We know he is there and we know He loves us. I can only pray that you feel the peace and love one day that we feel. As far as believing in God being a choice and that not everyone chooses, you are completely right and I can guarantee you that there are 100,000's of us praying for those people... including yourself. I will pray for you too.

1 12

Well Ciara I agree it is something God created. And he created it for it to be man and woman to unite into 1. I believe that both parents in a household is the grounds it was formed on. However, I do know alot of single mothers out there that I believe are doing an awesome job. My hat goes off to them. Although it doesn't make it right but briefly I have custody of 3 grandchildren that was taken from their mother who did not take care of their basic needs. I mean come on that is only natural basic needs. But as all is said I do believe God intened it to be father, mother combination. It is us as society that took it out of content. But my hat is off to the single mothers who do step up to the plate.

127 0

Um...Carolee, fine, if God had something to do with it in your case, then whatever you say. I hope you understand that your faith is only one of many, some of which are polytheistic, and that the world's also home to atheists and agnostics. And we all marry. I think it's the height of arrogance to decide for others that your God arranged their marriages and families -- why not leave it as "this is what I believe about my life"?

61 1

it's so funny how the atheists find the articles about God and jump down that persons throat, good for you Carolee, the atheists need to chill it's like they are so pissed off about something and it almost seems like they are blaming the God that they don't even believe in for it, why do they have to comment if they don't believe He exists, can't wait to read the feedback :)

5 15

Sorry Kayleen but whether or not you believe in God doesn't change the fact that he's there.

11 0

Putting "God" or religion into your argument invalidates everything you say. No "God/Gods" have ever been proven to exist. No matter how strong your religious beliefs, you need to understand that on a Scientific, Intellectual, Logical, and Rational level....using "God" in debate is the same as quoting Greek Mythology, Unicorns, or Ghosts to support your argument. I'm not saying there's no chance of a God existing....but to not only point the finger at others, but to recommend marriage to others based on what is essentially myth/fiction/opinion is exactly what's wrong with society today. Love should be the focus behind....uhhh....LOVE. It isn't hard to figure out that if you love someone.....you love them. Marriage and Divorce are not proof of love nor proof of morals. It isn't proof that you are good parents or ever will be, and it certainly isn't proof that your relationship is stronger than anyone else's. I don't mind people inserting religious opinions into arguments, but I DO mind when they say things like: "This is LAW" and "God ordained this" and "God created us to _____". None of those statements contain any fact or logic at all and therefore have no place intellectual debate. And they have no place in determining whether or not we as individuals should marry/not marry, have kids/not have kids, or how we live our lives. As the Dalai Lama always has the right words for everyone in this life: "There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and my heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness." And Buddha: "Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it."

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Marriage is a choice but if chosen is a covenant between the married couple and God. Marriage should not be entered into lightly and should be a life committment that honors both the couple, their family and God.

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Marriage is a choice. I chose marriage as my ultimate commitment to my boyfriend. It is the truest expression of relationship for me. My choice for marriage has nothing to do with God. I want to marry because I chose to marry. I don't intend to change my name. I am happy with the name I have now. Marriage isn't about the kids for me. Societal norms are no longer the driving force for marriage.

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Kris, if your marriage has nothing to do with God, whether you believe it or not, whether you believe in God or not, you have no idea whatsoever! the trouble you are brewing, its your choice and the consequences will also be part of your choice.

737 0

For me, it's about faith, not conforming to social norms,( if you knew anything about me, you'd know I don't) I happen to choose to live by faith, I don't think you don't, nor do I care if you have faith. My faith isn't necessarily the answer for you.

0 0

Kris, I love your comments as they are yours and you're not trying to throw or push your personal convictions onto others. I live with a man who has one son who's about to turn 13. He lives with us most of the time as the mother 'forgets' to spend time with him. That's another story. To me, both my boyfriend and his son are my family now. We live together, we laugh together and get through tricky times together. I also believe that love comes in many forms and if that doesn't include a marriage license or a God, then you can still have love. I have friends who are Christian church goers and they never try to push their beliefs onto me, my boyfriend or my stepson. They discuss their beliefs but they know we live a different life and as friends, they respect us for our differences. I am surprised by some of the comments on here that are telling others how to live their lives. Shame on you. Your God would not approve of that behavior. Being judgmental is not a part of God's plan is it? Find your own idea of happiness but don't push it on others.

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HOLY STROMBOLI!!! The amount of prejudice surprises me, simply because most of it is coming from those pulling God in on their side. Marriage can be viewed as a contract with or without God's signature. Allow me to pull a line from the movie Eat, Pray, Love: "Having a baby is like getting a tattoo on your face, you kind of have to be committed." Same goes for marriage, regardless of God's involvement. It's not what's inside of Him that makes it happen, it's what inside of each of us that makes it happen. If you're committed to following His guidelines for marriage and life, then you will follow your heart into marriage and life, not stricken down those who don't and act like God Himself. Let Him be the judge.

The world is filled with way too many weak couples and not enough strong individuals.

I have seen plentiful amounts of families that seem perfect statistically: father, mother, children, and church; that are the most dysfunctional. Whether it's because it is believed to be the solution to the world's equation, or because that path is chosen simply from weakness and lack of making your own path, who knows. If you're chasing your dreams, keeping faith (whether that means religiously, spiritually, or just simply hopeful), keeping truth and self and combining to be true to yourself, your footing will hold strong in the Pursuit of Happiness. Truth and strength will prevail and your children will model it, regardless of marriage or not.

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Very true, and well said.

17 28

I don't believe that all people view marriage as a lifelong commitment. Some people simply view it as a contract, and nothing more. I've seen some really dysfunctional people come from broken homes, and I've also seen some very successful people come from dysfunctional and/or broken homes. The fact of the matter is that, regardless of your religious affiliation, it is best for children to be raised by two people. It is very hard for one person to do it alone. I totally think that there are cases where one person CAN do it, however, it is not easy on the parent OR the children. We're talking about what is BEST for the children, not what makes the single parents feel better about their individual situations. Sorry, but it's the truth. Truth can be hurtful sometimes, but it is still truth. No one is saying that single parents are bad or that they are always dysfunctional or raising dysfunctional children, but it is TRUE that when there are two *committed adults* raising children, it is easier for everyone in the family unit. It is best for the children, overall.

22 0

Well said Nikki Lund. I love questioning things. Why is such a valid question. What is marriage? And where do I stand on this matter? Why is it or isn't it important - compared to 70 years ago? (my Grandparents era - where no one ever divorced) Divorce is such a common thing now days. My father has been married 3 times. There is a higher percentage of blended families. I think marriage is a special thing - but honestly it doesn't hold the same importance as it once did.

61 1

now i don't know if you are judging them because mother father child church---dysfunction, but maybe church is what is keeping them together, even if it seems dysfunctional in your eyes....

11 0

Sarah-- 1 good parent is better than 2 bad ones, no? Realize that even though statistics DO show *some* higher numbers of childhood issues in a single-parent household, those numbers are not in comparison to "married couples". They are in comparison to households that have (to put it simply) "2 humans" in them. There are no studies whatsoever that show married parents raise "better kids" than unmarried parents. I'm sure you're logical enough to realize that the actual number of (responsible) adult living in the household and raising the kids IS going to be technically "easier" simply because there are more adults to help out, pay the bills, watch the kids, etc. If you put 3 nannies and just a dad into the household, you'd get the same results (ie: of course a higher "head count" of adults makes parenting easier), but never has "marriage" vs "non-marriage" been shown to statistically affect children either way (obviously barring things like messy divorces, custody battles, etc). It's simple math: marriage has nothing to do with making raising kids easier/better, it's the amount of adults and the quality of the parenting that makes things easier. A good 2 parent household has never statistically shown to be inferior for raising kids compared against an equally good 2 parent MARRIED household. You're using mathematical stats based on "adult head count" to back up your argument, but "marriage" vs "live-in" (or whatever the case) are NOT part of that particular comparison. You can say whatever you want, but single parents who WANT their kids and PLANNED their kids are not raising dysfunctional kids. Society forgets that many single mothers are given custody of their kids by force whether they have the means to raise then or not and those are the single-parents who are raising dysfunctional children. They typically planned to stay married/stay together and found themselves alone and raising the kids whether or not they had the ability to do so or not. So in those cases, yes the children suffer because the mother was not prepared/expecting to be raising kids alone (ie: father left, father cheated, father is on drugs, etc). Stats regarding single parents who chose, planned, and can handle raising their kids alone show NO significant negative traits in comparison to other kids.

127 0

Sarah -- in fact two parents are sometimes worse than one, and that's well-documented in the children's outcomes. Whenever abuse and/or addiction is involved -- and that's regrettably often -- the children do better when the parents divorce if they live with the one who's got his or her life together. Do the research before you generalize or attack.

9 14

Finally, a comment with logical sense.

48 68

I don't feel that by saying marriage was designed by God and it's not just a contract is a bad thing. I firmly believe that if you don't want to be married, than don't do it. Don't have kids if you have no intention on getting married. If for some reason, the marriage turns out to be a bad marriage and you can't fix it, than it's fine not to stay in it.

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Marriage is instituted by God and compared to the relationship between the church and the Savior. Marriage is a commitment by two people for better or worse. when the worse part is listed in the contract to me it means that God expects us to comply and work things through and knows that it wont be easy because two different people are coming together and spending every moment together and all privacy is aside at that time. times have changed and privacy means nothing anymore so marriage doesnt mean the same thing to many people as they have already engaged in sexual behavior meant for marriage and or lived together. some feel that would help if they get to know each other first like this then decide later not having signed a contract to split up. actually I have seen the opposite happen. people live together for years then get married only for it not to work out and then get divorsed and live not married together and it work out. what happened there is one of the parties was not able to commit totally to the person he was living with. the most important component here is the laws of God stating if a man and woman live together they need to be married and that was to protect us not harm us....the other is the psychological aspect of pain and misery and children. look at all the messed up families and single families there are where people have either divorsed or have chosen to have kids without being married or just not obeyed the laws of chastity degrading themselves by living with low morals and bringing children into this type of world which I feel confuses them and deprives them of a stable loving complete family life.

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sorry to add my own comment...but...marriage is a contract between the man and the woman and God....its three way not two way....if God is included in that contract then your marriage is truely blessed....there are marriages that dont work out...people divorse....but I was always told that both parties really need to repent of their selfish ways....or as in one case I knew of ..one party needed to get psychological help.....my husband and I are opposites and no it isnt easy and we have been married for 42 yrs...we have changed and maybe that is what God wanted...for each of us to learn and grow and change so ....yes there should be a contract but as long as God is included in that contract....It is a choice like anything else in life and you are taking chances but everything in life is a chance you have to take...God bless

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Glad you mentioned that marriage takes 3. When my husband got his ring finger tattooed he insisted that the band have 3 strands - one for God, one for me and one for him and he proudly tells everyone who asks about his tattoo just what it stands for! I also have a 2nd wedding band and the inscription says "You, Me, Him" on it.

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wow he can never say he isnt married huh...its permanent..I dont go for tatoos but hey the guy loves you enough to get something permanent on his finger and acknowledge God in that relationship......its good to always remember that....you are not alone ever..... God wants us to get married ...or have a contract or...a covenant actually....its a covenant between you, spouse and God....otherwise why have a male and female.....to have kids ..ahh called a family ....so God puts a lot of iimportance on families

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Ron can't wear a ring because of his profession, but someone did mention that sometimes people "tattoo" their rings on. I'm not big on tattoo's but I think that is a totally neat idea!

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haha funny you mentioned that my husband hasnt worn his ring for years because of his profession ....he works with electricity...on medical equipment....finally he is wearing one but I think I better tell him dont do that for me....hey we have been married 42 yrs with 5 kids...they are all grown and gone....we are older and have been faithful all that time thru sickness and health ...and with me mainly sickness....so Im glad to have a husband like he is....God bless

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thats awesome Michelle! that is absoultely correct. Marriage does take 3. Whenn i married my husband i promised in sickness and health not just to him but to jesus also. it feels great knowing tha and it makes our marriage so much stronger too. Ive been married for 3 years but have been with my husband for 7 yrs and 8 mths. Everyday i looks foward to seeing him. and seeing him playing with our girls! ♥

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I was looking back at my comments and others...anything in life is a choice...we chose to be loved or to love...some feel love but are afraid of it...we can chose to believe in God or not. we can chose to follow rules or make our own up...life is a sort of gamble..but we all indeed have to make choices..even if we chose not to chose..we have chosen not to chose..ahhaha..Choice is so important...the war in heaven was fought over CHOICE...satan wanted us to be like robots and use his plan...God wanted us to chose Him..not to be forced to chose Him...but every choice we make...has a consequence....wether good or bad...children can go through things in a marriage of two people or a single parent family...but, God ultimately felt that it was best to raise children in a two parent family...to be chaste before marriage and to have children only within the bonds of Marriage...the contract is a covenant...we make with each other and with God...showing we believe in Him and we chose to be obedient to His laws...we cannot expect life to be perfect...we have to be tested and given trials ...so we can grow strong and be perfected so we can live in HIs presence...so however you want to look at it....you chose ..then your reward will more than likely what you chose...

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Marriage is what you make it. Marriage is a personal choice. We no longer live in the age where one is required to marry do be considered living a good life. I am married to my high school sweetheart and we've been together 18 years. However we are a rarity now days. I know how hard it is for me to raise our three children WITH a husband and I have great respect for those raising children alone. I don't judge another's choice based on my own path in life for that would do both parties a huge injustice. We never know what a person has gone through truly. My husband and I have been on the brink of divorce in the past. We have conquered infedelity, substance abuse, and childhood cancer. But we have a commitment to each other and equally share the same belief that, for us, divorce is the easy way out. However, not everyone has that belief or that support from a significant other. All to often we find someone we just know we will love forever only to find out they did not share the same intense feelings. As human beings we naturally crave companionship and intimacy but its not always easy to find that and often our scarred paths have created barriers of trust issues. The main thing is to know yourself, first. Love who you are and commit to becoming a better you. The right person will come along and find that those same confidences you have will be what they love best about you. Your children will see that same confidence and be inspired by you and you will be overjoyed in the end at the legacy you leave your children and the love of your lifetime that came along at "just the right time." Marriage is a commitment between two individuals but in order for that commitment to remain strong, both parties have to share the same values toward it.

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I've read through so many comments on here and, for some reason, yours is the one that brought me to tears. Thank you.

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This, by far, is the best comment I've read on this board. Not preachy, not condemning, not self righteous or condescending... just plain spoken, rational and non judgmental. Thank you for posting.

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Jonelle said: ". . . The main thing is to know yourself, first. Love who you are and commit to becoming a better you. . . " Well done, Jonelle. You are the first poster I have seen in all the threads asking this question and other similar questions (i.e., "who should come first in your marriage - your spouse or your children?") who even remotely touched on the fact that you need to love yourself first. There is a huge difference between self-love and selfishness. With self-love, you honor yourself, you respect yourself, you hold yourself in worthy affection, and you hold your head high. If you do not do so, how is it possible for you to love anyone else? You can't. A relationship based on "needing" another person to "complete" you is doomed to failure. You are putting a huge and heavy burden upon someone else to be your "everything" and that is not possible. No one can ever meet someone else's every single need. Living daily as a good example of a strong, intelligent, caring woman - and bringing the best "you" to a marital union and family - is the best gift you could ever offer to your spouse, AND your children... if you choose to have any... no matter what gender your partner(s) may be... and finally, no matter what God/dess you follow in the private depths of your heart and soul. Namaste.

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I believe raising children within the covenant of marriage is God's best plan for us. Not only does He say this is so, but statistics bear out the benefits to children with two parents who made that promise to God and each other. Love is not a feeling; it is a decision that can become pretty difficult when pressures inevitably occur. Sometimes the promise might be the only thing that holds a couple through to the other side of hard times. There is also such a sense of joy, victory, and deeper love when you've made it through still together, a well-being and security which flow to our children.

On the other hand, children suffer much more than we like to think from not having their parents together. They are statistically much more likely to have behavioral problems, drug addictions, early promiscuity and relationship difficulties. I have lived the cost firsthand through my own parents' divorce and watching my stepchildren struggle no matter how hard we tried to make things 'normal' for them. Successful single parenting can be done; it is just so much more difficult.

That said, I have the utmost respect for what single moms go through. There are times when my tween is pushing back so hard that I really appreciate having Dad step in as a supportive voice. When I am worried about something regarding the kids, it helps so much having someone to bounce my ideas off of and add his own wisdom. Single moms, I know you do your very best and your children will be blessed by your love and courage.

One encouragement I have to put in for those who have decided that God is a choice. Absolutely He loves you enough to give you a choice. He gave you free will, but His existence does not depend on your choice. Choose Him or not, He is. He created you, He loves you, and relationships, parenting and life are all infinitely better when you walk it with Him than without Him.

Blessings to all you loving moms, single or otherwise!

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even children from married conferment also exhibit .behavioral problems, drug addictions, early promiscuity and relationship difficulties e.t.c.people who stay in marriages for the sake of the children sometime`s end up doing more damages to this kids than good due to unhealthiness of such marriages.and it must also be noted there is no perfect parenting either married or single.

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I believe that marriage is a very personal thing to each person and no one can define marriage for anyone else. Sometimes marriage does not work out for a million various reasons and I've learned through my personal experiences that all's fair in love and war. I believe that marriage has nothing to do with the god of the bible as an institution, however for some people that is what it means to them. But people get married who do not believe in that god, or they believe in other gods, or they believe in no god. I think marriage is a government issued license that allows you to be in a partnership financially with someone. People marry for all the reasons you could think of, and in my personal experience, having children with someone does not mean you have to get married, and does not mean that getting married is the best thing for you or your children.

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I agree whole-heartedly

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I completely agree. Could not have said it better.

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hello dear im singal man im looking for gril even old gril ist ok for me if have can you call me i wanto marreid and i wanto make my lief happy and good thanyou

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I think marriage is absolutely necessary in raising children. And for those who say it doesn't matter to the children, it does. When I was a teacher and engaged to be married, every one of my students whose parents weren't married came to me and told me they wished their parents would get married. The commitment made in a marriage sets up a stable foundation on which to raise children and children NEED stability and security. There would be so many less problems in the world today if people would marry before they had sex and children and then stay together.

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A child can feel stable and secure with one parent. I have raised my child since day one by myself. Regardless of my poor choices - I have created a positive consequence. My daughter is amazing. Children brown nose their teachers. When I was a kid I used to wish I was adopted and that my real parents would save me from actual real parents. When they fought I wished they were divorced. The grass is always greener on the other side. My daughter is growing up to know that she is loved and it doesn't take a man to be a strong, successful woman.

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Of course a child can be stable with one parent. However, how much more stability and security will that child have if they have two parents who are committed to each other and to their family? It is simply better. And I resent your statement that children brown nose their teachers. Little children (I'm talking kindergarten here) say what they think and feel without filters. You can tell which ones are, as you say "brown nosing" and which ones are speaking the truth.

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Like I stated earlier, I just got married after 13 years together. Our kids, whom we raised range in age from 14-32...all of them were super happy when we got married! This was despite all of the problems raising them...bi-polar in one, plain anger in a couple of others. Now I wonder if things wouldn't have been better if we had married earlier and the kids had that "security"????

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Jenna, think a little, please, before you post. A teacher should do that much. Millions of women in this country are single mothers through no fault or desire of their own. Their husbands or boyfriends were abusive, died, or ran off. Other women got tired of waiting for a decent man to come into their lives, and adopted or had children alone, after first making sure that their lives were stable and secure enough, and that they had enough family and community support. What earthly purpose does it serve for you to tell women who do triple duty every day that their children don't have enough -- but yours do? Do you think it's kind, or sensible? Apart from which...your story about the children coming to you struck me strangely. Around here, about a quarter of the kids in each of my child's classes have come from single-parent households. My impression is that so long as they're getting what they need, they go back and forth about what they'd want, just as any children might. My daughter, for instance, sometimes wishes her dad and I were married, and sometimes she doesn't, because then she couldn't have cats (I'm allergic). Her friends from big families sometimes tell me my daughter's lucky because she has (what seems to them) all the time in the world one-on-one with her mom. And sometimes my daughter envies her friends with stay-home moms, because she imagines the life is all cookies and American Girl dolls. Other times she's proud to have a mom with a prestigious job -- or is respectful of all I do -- and says she wants to be like me. Even when she's not asking for something. ;) When she was little she wanted me to remarry so she could be a flower girl; now she's horrified by the thought. Our district is very careful to teach children that there are all kinds of families, none necessarily better than any other. We have married parents, single parents, widowed parents, solo parents, lesbian and gay parents, grandparents-raising-grandchildren, adoptive parents. We have them from all over the world, with many sets of values. We also have teachers who get married, but in general they keep this sort of information to themselves, and my daughter will just come home saying, "We have to call Miss So-and-so Mrs. This-and-that now, because she got married." So when you tell your story, it does make me wonder how you presented your engagement to the kids, and how much you made it a classroom story. Every nice teacher's going to get some degree of "I wish you were my mom," but it seems to me that a responsible teacher is aware of that sort of thing, and also helps the children feel proud of the families they have.

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So your children had behavioral issues and mental disorders while you and your husbands weren't married, but were raising then together.....and now magically those disorders have gone away now that you are "legally married"? Because according to some of the posters here, 2 parents + marriage = kids who are awesome while parents who are NOT married = criminals/drug abusers/mental handicaps. So if you're in agreement with those posters, are you telling that your marriage certificate made those problems go away? Are your kids perfect now? I doubt it. I'm not picking on you personally but basically you just told everyone here that you and your *current* husband have always raised your kids together (therefore they have had emotional problems early on while having 2 parents) but that they were "happy" when you got married. That's great, but did their "problems" go away when you signed a certificate? No. The point being that 2 good parents are 2 good parents (married or not) and 2 bad parents and 2 bad parents (married or not) and the same rule applies to single parents, divorced parents, widowed parents, and gay parents. On a side note: A majority of mental disorders are biological/neurological "misfires" or chemical imbalances that have nothing to do with environment, mood, or social situation. Very, very few mental disorders/medical disorder are because of coming from "married parents" or "single parents" or anything at all. While those things can EXACERBATE the symptoms themselves....so can stress, poor diet, seasonal changes and everything else under the sun. Kids don't magically develop mental disorders just because their parents aren't married. And their problems/disorders also don't magically go away when you sign a marriage certificate. If only the other posters here had a firm grasp on actual Medical and Scientific evidence that says MOST childhood disorders (except in extreme cases of sexual abuse, violence, etc) are chemical (ie: medical) problems and NOT "mood" problems. I just want to make sure that others here aren't offering myths up as facts.

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Marriage to me has NOTHING to do with god, it is all about the commitment between 2 people regardless of gender. I was 3 months pregnant when I got married but had been engaged for about 2 years and been together for about 7 years at that point. I felt it brought us closer together as a couple and completed our family, we have now been married for almost 3 years and have 2 kids together and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Tiffany, God has everything yo do with why your marriage is so successful!

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Why is marriage a requirement for ANYONE? If it feels like a requirement, then please, save yourself the time & hurt & don't go through with it. I know some young moms feel like they need to marry the child of their father. This is NOT true. I had my first child before I got married. His dad was constantly bugging me to get married, & I refused until he learned to straighten up. I'm glad I listened to my heart. He ended up physically abusing me, & thank God I have a family that is there for me & came to get my son & I. I am now married to a wonderful man whom I have another son with & he also has a daughter from a previous relationship. I am so thankful that I waited for the right man to come along.

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basically I am glad for you that you found mr right....sometimes we jump the gun and do things ahead of time..God has laws that we need to follow if we dont then we suffer as you did...you didnt want to marry that guy because he was abusive and right you were on that as you would have been miserable the rest of your life...but having children before your married well, then your stuck taking care of the precious child alone...plus having to deal with his father......if we followed God's commandments and wait till married and till we feel we found the right one as you did then you wouldnt have suffered so much....sorry for your suffering..I know others like th is as well......its hard but you did learn something...marriage isnt easy because its two different people from different families and we were all taught different things..but for now...I am so h appy for you that things turned out good....my sister was like that as well and is very happy now....God bless you....children are so precious....

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Dusty, I've done alot of research from the very start of mankind through the years and never did I find requirments for sign contracts: It was usually the fathers approval or somewhat a family member that gave their sacred blessings to the two in wed: This all came about in earlier years to support the legal system and their laws and to worsen all matters a divorce was the greatest evil sin and who should ever do so was treated like the dirt under their feet~The woman was judged for the worse:Somewhere in Genesis I had read that if the man is the cause for the seperation the woman is forgiven and visversa if the cause is the woman: I can tell you this~five people can read the same line and come up with five different opinions: This world and wars have been over religion and politics and really not worth the effert it takes to prove a point~But know that your choices are yours and seems to be from your heart, loving those who are not yours and not stuck with them as if you were doomed: Children need all the love and support they can get from us, wheather they belong to us or not! No one knows how your shoe fits, until they try it on and when Jesus dies he left no one in his place~He wouldn't have been that harsh on you. Take care and many happy years to come to you!

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good for your Dusty!! i believe that people shoul be toghether because they love each other , not just because of the kids. they need to see a stable relationship.

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Marriage centered on God, then kids. It's the way it was intended to be. Children need both a male and female figure in their life. Relationships will always have struggles, but if this is the focus than nothing is too big to get through.

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God is a non-point because Scientific evidence of a god doesn't exist. So when you count that out of the equation you're left with "marriage centered on kids". Nope. I find that as a single parent my son and I work as a team and communicate MUCH better than regular, 2 parent households. We are closer, we have respect, and we work together to be a great family (although a small one being just myself and him). Male figures can be found anywhere if you have good people in your life. I don't date, but I do have two parents who are married, stable, and good role models (ie: don't drink, don't smoke, don't curse, have high expectations, work ethics, etc) and since I work in a males-only career (Machinist), I have tons of platonic male friends who provide the fun "guy stuff" and allow him a myriad of family and friends who provide positive role models of all sorts (myself, his grandparents, my friends, and even my ex boyfriends who I have good friendships with stop in and hang out with him, get him gifts, play sports with him, etc). It's not about a positive male role model needing to be ROMANTICALLY attached to the household nor living in the household. It's about having good, solid adult role models in his life. Whether male, female, adults, kids, friends, family, and loved ones. Male and female role models don't always come as a "package deal" and you're assuming that a dad simply being "present" is better than no dad, but having positive role models that are much more than just "present". I feel marriage and romance is selfish and that a parent should always make their child their one and only concern. Marriage and relationships and dating are distractions from your Darwinian duty. We are meant to be born, to grow up, to procreate, and die. That's it. And the concept of "dads being involved" is actually "new" in the scheme of time. Anthropologically, the "norm" throughout history was that females banded together and raised their children (both male and female) as a group/community and the fathers were literally NOT allowed to be involved in the parenting in any way. And when the younger male children grew up, they were also excluded from the community of women. Humans have short memories and forget actual facts quickly. Humans were never "meant" to raise kids together and the concept is a "new" idea. Anthropologically and Scientifically speaking, men were not to have a say or hand in raising children and were not even allowed to live with the children.

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Things are not always as simple as "marriage first, then kids". As long as the children in your lives are happy and well cared for, who really cares. I have seen married couples with unhappy lives and unhappy children. Then again I have seen single parents, both male and female, have satisfying home lives with their children.

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But things can be that simple. If people would live chaste lives, it would be that simple. Today, many people view such a thing as chastity as archaic. Really, all it takes is self control and following through with commitments, especially to yourself. It's not as hard to control that aspect of one's self as society makes it out to be. It just takes effort. And effort is something that many people don't want to give, whether it be for self control or working hard or anything. Really, it should be that simple. That is how God intended it to be. There are exceptions to everything, I get that, but for the most part, it would be that simple if people could exert a little self control and save themselves for marriage.

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I agree... I have been married, not always happily, but commited just the same for 21 years. Our children are 16 and 15. So, for myself, I did and do believe in marriage before children. But for some people that have had children without a marriage, I have seen some work out very well. More often then not, it hasnt been the case and it has made for chaotic situations. I do appreciate your reply, Jenna. :o)

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blah.. blah... blah.. people are not better than other people who have waited for marriage.

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For those who believe Marriage has nothing to do with God, then why get married? “Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother, and will cling to his wife: and they will be one flesh.” Genesis 2:24. The very first books of the Bible which incidentally were written thousands of years before the Bible was created, call the woman his "wife" not partner, not girlfriend. If you don't believe in the Bible, you have the choice to live together as a couple. Modern society even supports civil unions. However do not pick and choose which parts of the Bible you have a right to believe in whether you call yourself a Christian or not. You cannot simply choose to say that Marriage does not COME from the Bible or from religion. Having said that, Marriage is work. It is not easy to combine two different thought processes into one, even if you have the same fundamental values, faith and/or belief system. The Bible, and therefore I, do believe there are reasons for divorce, physical abuse, substance abuse and adultery. No-one should be forced to live in these situations just because they have children. There are christians living as single parents also and what your faith is does not determine the type of parent you are. I also happen to have the unique perspective of being a military wife whose husband is currently away on a year long deployment. I understand the struggles of single parents, and it is probably this that has made me choose marriage over divorce, regardless of the struggles we face as a couple. It is hard when he leaves, it is hard when he comes home and then when he is here, we have to work very hard at our relationship. I am a firm believer in seeking counseling, allowing someone else to mediate, take the emotion out of our struggles, and present possible solutions to our conflicts. Too many people reach a hard time in their marriage and seek divorce without really putting in the effort to see if they can work through it. You cannot compare single parenthood to having a parent in the military or who has passed away. Apples and oranges. These people don't make a choice to separate their families. My children understand whether their dad is here or not, he loves them more than life and will do whatever he can to make it back here safely. We as a family put this situation in God's hands because it is too big for us to control. Regardless of whether you believe marriage is biblically based, or whether you think a single parent can raise a child as effectively as a dual parent household, remember that it takes a man and a woman to MAKE a child and we have to consider the precedent that this sets.

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I had my first two children when I was very young...17& then 19yrs old. They have the same dad who I was not married to and the relationship ended quickly and badly. I don't feel that a person should marry the father of their child just to create a perfect family picture. We all know that looks can be deceiving! I later found the love of my life and we are now married. I think in a perfect world that I would have preferred to find my husband, get married and then have children...would have saved myself a whole lot of heart break along the way but NEVER do I regret my children from my previous relationship and I thank God every day for a husband who loves my children and provides for our family.

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I made the mistake of marrying my children's father just so he could be in their lives. The alarms were going off in my head telling me not to do it, and I did. Now 12 years and two additional kids, dysfunction doesn't begin to describe the relationship I have with their father. Marriage is not to be entered into lightly because of all it encompasses. What is dysfunctional, and even more disturbing, is how the kids may end up by watching two people who clearly don't love each other exist and miss out on living life. I've learned my lesson, a very hard one, and the next time around I will marry for the connection the man and I have intellectually, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. If he can make love to my mind, without even touching me or being in the same space, I can just imagine the fireworks that will go off when we're together.

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I take my hat off to u for staying for so long. I have two beautiful children and am know a single mom since april 2011. I was in a relationship with my childrens father for 8 years and was engaged to him for 4 years. The relationship was very much one sided and while i was trying to plan a wedding and a forever after he was opening a secret bank account, talking to other women on the internet and planing to leave. He was also a heavy drinker from an abusive family. Yes i thought this man was the love of my life but know i see that my children are better off on our own without him. This man truely broke my heart as i would have done anything for him and i wanted to be married. Now i see that my kids are greatful for the job their mum does for them. I work full time and have just bought a house for us. I took them on a road trip to see the nth east coast of australia (im from aust) to see dolphins and whales and their first time at the beach. I create a stable home environment for them and spend time at their school helping out. They know that mum loves them and that she ensures that they are happy. We are a close family now because of it. I did try to work things out with their father thru councelling in which at first he did want to b with me but he then changed his mind once again and stated he preferred to b single. While i raise his children hes planning to spend his mid life crisis in india for two months to go find himself and is internet dating other single mum with kids. I get a little money from him as the govt here makes u pay, hes hiding thousands of $$$ for his trip and conplains about caring for the kids. I didnt want my kids to learn that this is the normal behavoiur of someone who is sapposed to b in love and learn that is ok to b in a abusive relationship. I wanted a marriage and good relationship for myself and for my kids to see this as an example for their future relationships. I was not able to do that at this time so its best for us to b on our own. I will meet someone one day but until that time in in no hurry. If i meet a man in the future i will insure i take my time to get to know him and that he will b completely committed to me and my children. I will make sure that he understands what marriage means to me and its not a just for the moment thing until someone else comes along. Its forever. Well until my time for love again comes along i will just continue to do the best for my children and ensure their wellbeing comes first and that i provide them with wonderful life experiences and lots of love. I know im doing a good job as they tell me im the best mum ever and give me a big hug. Marriage just didnt happen for me so now its my job not to let these kids down. I wish for them to grow up believing that marriage can happen for u and it is a wonderful thing, just make sure that its with the right person who truly loves and respects u.

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Well said!

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"Just a Contract" is a very telling statement, isn't it? A contract is a promise and we are better people if we are promise keepers. And the marriage promise specifically will make us happier and better if we keep it. How could it not? Anyone who is miserable in marriage is already breaking the promises (or married to someone breaking the promises) so they can hardly accurately speak on the benefits of that promise. Ultimately, you can do marriage right, you can do it wrong, or you can not do it at all. Contracts exist to protect us, and help us. To shun them is akin to shunning seat belts. Sure, it may work out fine, but its naive arrogance to think you aren't better off with it. But ultimately, we as a society need to learn to be promise keepers. Marriage is kinda perfect for practising that.

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some statistics. Contrary to popular belief, the divorce rate is not 50%, but closer to 33%. People who live together before they are married but after they are engaged hovers around 41%. A shared belief system (regardless of the beliefs) brings it down to 25%. Measurable institutions with an abstinence prequisite on a ceremony (i.e. No sex or repented sex before marriage) quote divorce rates at 6%. 70% of couples living together without marriage or engagement are no longer together within 5 years (whether kids are involved or not). No long term statistics exist on the remaining 30%, but it is a compound equation, which wouldn't bode well for them. The vast majority of people living under the poverty line are single mothers. Single people have lower life expentancy, higher rate of disease, statistically have a lower income (although to be fair, there would be several reasons for that one) and higher rates of depression and suicide.

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"Anyone who is miserable in marriage is already breaking the promises (or married to someone breaking the promises) so they can hardly accurately speak on the benefits of that promise." I really like this. Very well said.

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also think about this.......how about those people who are promised as children to each other...its not as prevalent now as back then but many of them stayed married forever...and they never knew each otherh they were promised to each other by their parents when they were babies ......it is about getting along...a contract is important because in the bible it talks about it ....God must feel its important and that if we as humans have a contract somehow that must add weight to the relationship....there are some people however who when married after living with someone even for years cant handle the contract because of the responsibility...I knew someone like that and he abused her but never did before....that is sick to me...they had kids and she wanted to make it legal.....she loved him so much that they got a divorse and went back to living with each other but...I think if you live together for a length of time its called.....oh dang it I cant remember....well, they are married because they are living together for a lenght of time just no paper......these are the last days...I believe that...when things that are important are taken lightly or frowned upon....what is right is wrong and what is wrong is right...I have lived long enough now to see it happen....but in all of this being said....we cannot judge one another only God can do that.....we can help and empathize with each other or tell our stories and set good examples the best we can...

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"Anyone miserable in the marriage is already breaking the promises...." yada yada. Let me first say how silly and ignorant this is. My mother was married off at the age of 11 because she was half Croatian and considered "mmixed." She was made to marry a man 10 years older than herself who was a drunk. He beat her, raped her, and held her at gun point for 8 hours when she tried to leave. She had 4 kids by the time she was 18 and was locked in the house. She finally managed to get out from under him for fear of her children. When they divorced HE got custody of the kids. The only way she could get them back according to the courts was she HAD to get remarried! So she married a friend just to get her kids away from their abusive father and then divorced her friend. She raised 4 kids by herself often working 3 jobs and came home with swollen feet so bad that her shoes had to be completely unlaced! She met my father by accident while waitressing in 1977. She had been single for 10 years. So, was it her fault for "breaking the promise?" Or would you have rathered her stay in her first marriage to watch her children become their father's punching bag and maybe even see her as his murder victim? Just saying. Christians should NOT judge. The Bible is very very clear on that! Instead we are to show compassion as Christ did. People who call themselves Christians and yet pass so much narrow minded judgement on others should be shamed. Thank God, literally, he didn't pass such judgement onto us but instead showed us mercy and grace. A little something you people obviously need to learn more about! Just sayin.

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wow how awful this was...your story is sad....it was a crime ....I dont believe in promising babies to each other and then when they grow up they have to marry each other. was your mother promised to this first man as a baby and then at 11 married him...it sounds more like the family married her off for what you said there and sometimes the family is starving and they marry a child off ...this isnt a christian religion that does that....this also sounds tribal or racist because of the mix and then he was awful and evil ....that poor woman and her children....but she will be blessed because of all the awful things she went t hrough to save her children...I dont condone this kind of culture where these things take place...but there are people who were promised to each other who didnt know each other and went through life and lived a good life and that sounds like a certain kind of culture or religion.....there are too many variations of lives....no one is judging....we cant judge only God can judge....I said that before.....we all have lifes variations of what happens to us...I know different people who were married in a christian marriage and it failed and there was abuse....but even the worst things in life can bring about the best in that person.....your mother poor thing has been refined .....we all go through bad things...my health is what is my misery....different countries have different laws and beliefs but even that doesnt mean marriage will be bad....your mom just came across a bad person and her marriage was way too early and her friend helped her to get her children and then she met your father....you never know what can happen in life...God bless you in your life.....its just we in America are putting little importance of marriage in america....and marriage by God....but even then there is no garantee...we just have to stay close to God.....your mother made it through even though it was awful for her..sorry she had to suffer so much.....

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@Jonelle-thats awful, but is exactly what I'm talking about. I don't know what the promises were in his custom and language, but I can guarantee he broke all of them before she left. You asked if she should've kept her promises? Obviously a marriage is a covenant - a two sided promise. Of course she should've left. That covenant was broken well before she walked out. I swear I'm not judging. I breathed a huge sigh of relief the day my mom told me my dad was leaving. They both chose poorly, and my childhood was depressing, but what I saw was two people NOT keeping their marital covenants. Marriage wasn't the problem - my dad was. And in THIS country, when divorce time came, that marriage contract was invaluable to the child support negotiations. @Vickie-its called common law marriage. Its technically valid for any two adults, dating or not, after they've lived together for a certain amount of time. At least here in Canada...

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that was so greatly put vicki! you have grat wisdom.

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I think marriage is important. Today, nothing is for sure, and if you can show your kids how important it is to you, they will see the importance of it too. I do not take it lightly, and they should not either.

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My husband and I are now happily married for 5 years. We were together for 10 years prior to being married. I have to say that being married changed it for me. I feel as if it solidified our being in it together, that there has been a larger commitment made to us, to our future. And yes you do lose the single minded identity because it is no longer just about you, it is always about us and our families future. I personally love and am happier in these last five married years. It is of course a personal choice for each couple and as long as each are happy with the arrangement then that is all that really matters, but it did change for me how I feel about our relationship.Regardless of which way you go legally or otherwise it can all be walked away from so it comes down to the true commitment made by each partner that determines the fate.

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And I don't think it matters to children as long as their parents are committed to them and one another.

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I know what you mean..us too married after 14 yrs..

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"Marriage means I accept you for the person that you are and that I do not wish to change you into someone else. It means I do not expect perfection from you-just as you do not expect it from me. It means I will love you and stand by you even through the worst of times. It means loving you when your in a bad mood or too tired to do the things I want to do. It means loving you when your down-not just when your fun to be with. I love you means that I know your deepest secrets and do not judge you for them-asking in return only that you do not judge me for mine. It means I care enough to fight for what we have and that I love enough not to let go. It means thinking of you, dreaming of you, wanting and needing you constantly and hoping that you feel the same way for me."

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wow!! lee ann i think you said it best. that is exactly how i feel about my husband.. that is how i know i love him and visce versa.. He can drive me crazy, upset me whatever but We both know we are in it for the long haul!!! We love our kids and want the best for them.

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I think marriage is between two people (of any gender, but thats another issue for another time) and not required for raising children. I have a wonderful little boy who I am raising alone, and he is the happiest, most well rounded little boy I know. His father has never been in the picture, and I know he would be worse off if he were.

For all you who are arguing that children are raised better with two parents, would you condem fathers who raise their children alone after the mother dies in childbirth, or military families where the father is either away on assignment all the time, or dies in service to their country? There are more ways to form a single parent household than 'not getting married' are these children better off because their parent 'was' married and through unfortunate circumstances no longer is, than my child who I chose to give life to despite his fathers desire not to, and who is loved just as much as any other child?

Our society has linked marriage and children - through the Christan/religious principles that were overwhelmingly a factor in the creation of our 'norms'. But even then there were single parents, and part of moving foward in time is evolving ideas and 'norms'. How much hate does it take against humanity of various forms (marriage, gay marriage, race, gender/transgender, ethnicity, religion) before people will accept that not everyone is like you, but that doesn't make them wrong or bad?

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Another amazing mom! So nicely put. I love the military/widow analogy. We never know what could happen. Now I should really stop reading these posts and go study so I can get a higher degree, get a better job and serve as an example to my kids!

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Stephanie, you know those children whose father dies in military service or whose mother dies in child birth, the remaining parent has good things to talk about the departed partner, you know that your father is hero because he sacrificed his life for his country, you know that your mom died while giving you life and she will always be a hero to you. but in your case heroic story are you telling your son about his father, without lying really, that he did not want him to be born? or that his fahter has nver been in the picture? some of us ignor the truth even when it is right in our faces. You will be a good parent as a mother and i have no doubt about it, but you can not be a good parent to your son as a father even if you wanted to because you are not a man and will never be a man period!

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I'm not a man - you're right Sharon - but (and I realize I may be in the minority here) when my son is old enough I will tell him that his father is a good man (which is true, no lying) he is a good guy - i believe this to this day - but has made a fairly distinct choice in his life that he doesn't want to be a father - this is simply another disticntion/different opinion that is floating around out there, and while I would like for him to be a father it ultimately is his choice. So no he is not a hero who died for his country or died giving birth to my son - but that doesn't make him any less of a man - and it doesn't make my son any worse off than those other children who only have one parent. Regardless of the circumstances one parent is one parent and those kids turn out just fine. Depending on your political stance you may or may not find this enlightening - both Bill Clinton and Barak Obama were raised by single mothers...and while you may or may not agree with their politics - they still became great men. The value of a child is not determined by how many parents he has but by how those parent(s) raise that child.

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@ Sharon: It takes a village to raise a child and their are many men that can provide "fatherly" advice, time and love. My daughter spends a lot of time with my dad, her papa. I do not talk poorly about him in front of her and her father, too like the other Stephanie's is a good man. He just didn not want or know how to be a father. Their are many truths, Sharon, and your comment is perception, not truth. My daughter will never grow up to think so negatively about other people's situations. I teach her to have an attitude of gratitude, to not be judgemental and to be a good helper. She is 3 now but we will have very open and honest conversations as she is ready for them and asks me questions.

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well said sharon!

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Love doesn't sustain a vow. The vow sustains the love/// http://youtu.be/I4OK9DmLpCY This wise young man really breaks down marriage YOUVE GOT TO SEE HIS FLOETRY-- amazing and speaks volumes

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its nice you all seem to think that every marriage is a choice. I am a single mom and I very much watched to be a family with her father. However, he made his choice to have nothing to do with either one of us. He wont even acknowledge her existence. So I guess my opinion is you don't need marriage. I love my daughter and she loves me and as much as I would want her dad to love her back, I can't make that happen but I don't think she will grow up to be any less amazing then I know she will. I still love her father and I have to live everyday with the disappointment and the regret of not being able to give her, her father, but not a "stable" life because her life will be stable to her.

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I think if a child has a loving parent, they are very lucky. If they have two who love each other, get along and are in a stable relationship then what a great situation! If those two don't happen to be married, I don't see a problem. I'd rather have one loving parent than two that argue and bicker. Me and my (now but not at the time) husband had been togther for nearly seven years when we got engaged which also happen to be around the time we fell pregnant. I guess for some reasons I would have preferred that our son be born after our wedding (honeymoon etc) but I wouldn't change it for the world.

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Currently, I have absolutely no interest in getting married again. I fought hard to get divorced in order to show my daughter that she did not have to stay married to a man who did not love, respect, or honor her.

To me, marriage is a binding contract that, as such, can be legally undone if either party does not hold up his/her end of the bargain. I've seen married couples cause more harm than good to each other, while I've seen their unmarried (and co-habitating) peers treat each other with far more love, respect, and honor.

I may be running this race without a partner, but I am far from alone. I have my friends and family supporting me and cheering me on. While there is always room for more positive people in my life, I do not feel any desire or obligation to get married. My daughter's father plays absolutely no role in her life (due to his choices), and my son's father plays enough of a role in my son's life without having to intrude on mine.

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Marriage is a committment and requires learning, patience, and mutual agreements. Marriage is work, it is easier sometimes for single parents since they can teach one view, not deal with two views. No lines for children to cross or misunderstand. Yes, marriage is a contract between two people to agree to learn about the other, being patient with the other, and agreeing to disagree respectfully. For children, having parents is like a having a broader view of world- 2 sided cultural view. Some children are lucky to have great parents and some blessed with a single parent, either one takes dedication and work.

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I was married quite young because I believed in the sanctity of marriage. We had two beautiful children but I realised that our marriage was not normal. I went to counselling to try and save our marriage, I begged him to come with me, but he said that the problems where in my head only. He used to tell me that I did not deserve anything good. He would let me buy only the things he liked not what I liked. He controlled every aspect of my life. I had to sit back and watch him go on holidays when he wanted and I had to stay at home with the kids. When I wanted to go on holidays he would take us camping to save money but would spend thousands on his own trip with the boys every year. Marriage is not one person giving and the other person taking all the time. I got a divorce, lived as a single mother and decided that I would never marry again. I met someone and we lived together for 12 months before having a child, it was at this point my older children asked if we would be getting married. It never occurred to me or my now husband how important our marriage was to our children. They wanted the security of knowing that their parents where married. We married and it was the most beautiful day, having our children as part of the ceremony was symbolic as they felt that we had united as a family in the eyes of all that witnessed our marriage. We have since had child number 4 and are extremely happy. Marriage isn't without it's problems but some marriages are worth fighting for. They are not something that should be entered lightly. Marriage isn't for everyone and I know people who are happily unmarried as one of my friends calls it. Everyone has the right to choose what they feel is best for them and their family. Married or not a relationship is a commitment. Having children is a blessing and being happy is the best thing we can give our children.

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I agree with your decision...the first marriage WAS NOT what God wants a marriage to be... The second one sounds much healthier! Congrats!

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To put it this way....I have done it twice and don't care to try it again. It is much simpler to be single and not have to answer to anyone. Sure it gets lonely but if you way the pro's and the con's you are better off on your own.

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Mary, I have to agree with you on the most part. I have been in two long relationships...granted neither one of them was I married but after 7 years with the first one with all the What are you doing? Where are you going? crap it does get annoying. I am debating ending the relationship I am in now after 8 years due to the same stuff. If I go out with the girls for a night then I am a cheating piece of crap and if I stay home I am the loser without friends. I can not win for losing I tell you. Its a shame to because I have not been married but with everything I went through with my father and mother I have learned I will not sacrifice my happiness...even if it means being alone. I do however still have faith and believe that that one man will find me or I will find him and we will be the better half of each other.

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i agree... specailly in india marriage is just a contact when starts from arrnage marriage but as and when you start understanding each other... start compromising for each other suddenly will start realizing that compromising was not so bad... when you start adding on your choice, getting dependent on someone else;s choice.. you feel that someone is there for you, who dosnt love you but who cares for you, whom like to be with you. marraige is not about love its about comapnionship. it is a contact where there is no profit no loss is there is about sharing and compromising to stay happy and to see smile on husbund's face.

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I've loved marriage. But the ease of getting divorced bothers me a great deal, partially because after a 33 year marriage and a 39 year relationship, I've become a victim of "No Fault Divorce," which is what we have in California.

Unless you change the words in the traditional marriage ceremony, or have one that you completely write yourselves that says otherwise, you promise to love and cherish, etc until you die. But the marriage ceremony itself isn’t legally binding. You can change your mind and walk away with every cent you brought into the marriage, and half of everything else? The idea of walking away with no penalty (financial or otherwise) doesn't align with a contract. There is always someone who will raise the issue that says a contract can be broken, but marriage is a contract that can affect many. So, whether it's a contract or not, I guess it depends on who's deciding what a marriage contract is and how easy it is to get out of it.

I love the states contract that have instituted the Covenantal Marriage, where as I understand it, the couple can make the choice. a Covenantal Marriage is an unbreakable contract. If I were marrying for the first time or if I ever remarry and had or have that option, I wouldn't marry a guy who would not agree to the Covinental Marriage.

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I have one clarifying thought about my response above. The Bible says . . . and I don't remember chapter and verse, that we need not promise or swear because our word should be good enough - which I take to mean "binding." This is why I believe that marriage, at least between Christians should be binding based on their word, or their "promises." In fact, the word promise shouldn't even be needed in a marriage ceremony, only the words that say, "I will" or "I do." to the question. The rest is nice (very nice) and there needs to be more working for the sake of the "pomp and circumstance" of the event, but in the end, really frivolous. When people who are not Christians marry, they may not have to be responsible for their words although they may choose to. But Christians should not take the vows unless they intend to keep them. Even when the come to a crossroad in their marriage (which most people do at one point or another), they should still be bound to what they said. God does not leave us because we get bored, gravely ill, too fat, mean spirited, don't have dinner on time, or our butt gets too big, or for any other reason. He keeps his covenant with us. Likewise, our word alone, without even a promise attached should be considered a covenant, between Christians, that is.

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I am a mother of two children with the same father, we have plans to get married in the future but nothing is set in stone. We have been together for close to seven years and I wouldn't change anything, (except getting pregnant so early, I wish I would have waited). But anyway, I don't think that we are doing anything wrong by not being married, and I don't think it affects my children at all. I would like to get married, we are currently engaged but haven't even talked about setting a date.

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I always said: no ring, no baby. My husband wanted babies, so he put a ring on my finger. End of. My husband is everything to me, and I am so thankful for him every day. But I wouldn't have made him a father without that ring.

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I am very old fashioned and I think marriage is more important than anything else. I think it is important for my daughters to see what it really means to be married and to see the sacrifices made by both their father and myself for our family and our marriage. I am blessed to be married and I hope someday my daughters see marriage in the same light.

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I would love to marry the man I've been with for the past 10 years. He is scared of going through with it but not because he doesn't believe in it. In the beginning he opened up to me about his parents and although their is many family members that have had or are in great marriages he is still scared to get to that point. We now have three beautiful children and 10 years and counting of ups and downs, just as many marriages. That is good enough for me. The only thing that bothers me is that my side of the family does not think and treat him as the man and father me our children know him as. I don't like that they do not give the respect that he deserves to manning up and supporting our family any way he can. Marriage is something that should be treated with respect, should be done when two people love each other. It is not a contract although it seems that way. We do not all see eye to eye because we have religion intertwined with this subject. I do believe God does not frown upon mine or any other relationship out there that does not walk down the isle to show their family and friends that they are devoted to each other and their child or children. Also signing that document could affect your life in negative ways, one example is financially.

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There are only up-sides to marriage, not many down sides. This is the wisdom of a person that spent 7 years trying to divorce an abusive, narcissistic fraud. I also believe in living together for at least a year, so you know what you are getting into. After a year, why not formalize your commitment? Spend time slowly merging, but-word of wisdom- merge your bank accounts at the very end and don;t rush into doing that (that is the ONLY thing that is NOT necessary in any relationship). Living the married bliss here after 3 rejects.

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