I was talking to someone at work last week about this issue and was wondering what you all think. I grew up in Lutheran schools that pretty much required anyone who became pregnant "by mistake" to marry the father... (I went to a Lutheran high school in which pregnant girls "disappeared"--rumor had it that they were asked to leave. So much for Biblical concepts such as forgiveness and compassion...)
I once worked at a place in which almost every girl under the age of 23 became pregnant and was unmarried. I have seen several instances, both Christian and non-Christian, in which the girls married the fathers, pretty much exclusively because they were pregnant.
After a few years... I don't know of any of those marriages that are still together (perhaps one, but I lost track of that person.) All the others I know of dissolved into situations in which one or both partners left for someone else. And again, this has been something I've observed with both Christan and non-Christian couples...
I myself personally do not believe that a couple should automatically marry because of a child. I am NOT in anyway approving sex outside of marriage, but I am also NOT condemning anyone who may have found her or himself in this situation. I guess in my old church, they figured the couple would continue to have sex anyway and that the best solution was to just get married, as well as making the union "legal" for the sake of the child.
This is just me, but sometimes I think marrying just for the sake of the baby (maybe they made a mistake and in reality, don't even really know or like each other) can be an even worse mistake in that, what of it's not God's will for them to marry? The sex outside of marriage was not God's will either, but another wrong won't make it right. I personally believe that the reason so many marriages fail is because many people, myself included, married whomever WE wanted or chose, even for reasons that made sense at that time, instead of what God wanted for us in the first place.
What have your experiences been, and what do you think/believe from your knowledge of Scripture?
I have heard some people say that an unmarried couple who has sex is Biblically required to marry, especially if a child is involved, but I don't know of any passages to support this (?) Please feel free to include them if you know of any.
As Christian singles, others are looking to us as examples of how we live out our faith. The person who brought up this subject with me is not a Christian and wanted to know my personal feelings over the issue. All I could do is tell her what I had observed, and what I believe (I am divorced with no children.)
I am wondering what my fellow Christians have seen, experienced, and believe as well. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts!