Almost a months ago I wrote a blog about why I do not want to get married. Overall, I believe marriage is a personal choice, not the next rung on the ladder of life and not needed to commit to the person you love. I very much appreciated those of you who liked and/or left comments of support. One comment though stated that my future children will not care about my reasons and that parents should put their children first. I replied to this comment to make sure I understood (“Are you saying that parents should be married and that puts their children first?) and asked if they could explain to me their reasons for believing this. I have yet to hear back and may not so I wanted to explore my understanding of this comment.
Are married parents better than unmarried parents?
First, what do you think?
Please feel free to elaborate in the comments. Any comments that are attacking in nature will not be posted. I respect your personal experiences.
I did do a bit of research to find out what SCIENCE says. Some research from 1998 has some pretty disappointing statistics on unmarried parents. Today Parents did a poll that showed unmarried, single mothers are just as good at parenting, the fathers tend to be in the picture and are not looked down upon by their married counterparts. The Telegraph has statistics saying that almost all couples that stay together while raising children are married. Umarried Equality says that children do not care if their parents are married and said that having family commitment ceremonies strengthen the family bond. The Washington Post says that couples having children without getting married is growing and the stigma around it is lessening. And since 2002, where I live, and more recently in the USA, same-sex couples couldn’t legally be married but they could be together and they did raise children with great success.
I respect data, but there are MANY factors that go into assessing if parents are successful at parenting. I feel that to say that marriage means better parenting is a big a jump. I do honestly understand the reasoning behind committing to being married means commitment to the children. I grew up with married parents. My parents are committed to each other and to myself and my sisters. I also know people, some of my close friends and family, who’s parents were married but then divorced. Stats Canada says, “In 2008, 40.7% of marriages were projected to end in divorce before the thirtieth wedding anniversary.” In the cases of my close friends who have divorced parents, their parents were better able to care for them as a result of the divorce. For some, they did lose relationships with their fathers but, hey, some people shouldn’t be parents. I also know of one couple who were not married when they had their daughter and actually didn’t get married until she was about 8 years old. Everything was fine and they decided to get married when they wanted to.
Since 2002, where I live and more recently in the USA, same-sex couples couldn’t legally be married but they could be together and they did raise children with great success.
I personally feel that it is more about the people in the relationship than whether they are married or not. I found it difficult to leave a bad relationship when we shared a cat! I can’t imagine “easily” leaving a relationship that wasn’t working out if I had a child with them. That’s personally not how I work. I do acknowledge that I am only trying to start a family and am not yet pregnant. I am completely open to the fact that I may change mind once there is a child actually involved. For now though, this is where I stand.
I’m not looking to change anyone’s minds. I just hope that we can continue to lessen the stigma around unmarried parenting and respect people’s choices.