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Putting the Cart Before the Horse

April 4, 2006


In a recent interview, Tom Cruise stated that he plans to marry Katie Holmes after their child is born and the Mission Impossible 3 film is released: “First the baby, then the film. Then, in summer, we want to get married. I won’t let this woman get away.”

Hmph. Well, at least he has his priorities!

I used to work with a young woman who’d had a child with her boyfriend. Someone asked her if she planned to marry him and she responded, “No… not yet anyway. We don’t know each other well enough.” Before I could censor myself, I blurted out, “Oh, no, only well enough to have a child together.”

Sadly, I was more embarrassed by my bluntness than she was by her child’s illegitimacy.

I’m wondering, at what point did marriage cease being a prerequisite for childbearing? I was raised in a time (not so terribly long ago) when having a child out of wedlock was considered shameful and wrong. I am going to be politically incorrect (and risk getting flamed by my stalker) by saying that I still believe that having children outside of marriage is morally wrong and socially irresponsible. I also believe it is detrimental to the children, but that’s a topic for another day.

See that cart-before-the-horse illustration above? The horse could probably still drive the cart forward by pushing instead of pulling… it might work, but not as well as it would with the components in the proper sequence. Why? Because it was not designed to work with the cart coming first.

Similarly, I believe that it takes two people to make a child simply because it takes two people to raise a child. Parenting is not a one person job… and I speak from experience. I was a single parent for 4 years after my divorce. It isn’t easy, and it isn’t the way God intended it to be. The bottom line is that if you can’t (or won’t) commit to being married, you shouldn’t bring a child into this world.

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