I’m sorry I can’t tell you what to do. This is in line with my belief that a man should make his own marital decisions. I can give you guidelines, help you analyse issues, but you must take your own decision. You can shop around for clarity but you can’t shop around for a decision.
You and this lady are coming from two very different perspectives. She’s coming from a cultural perspective. She believes she should marry the man who impregnated her. You’re struggling with unbelief.
Not much has happened between you since the birth of the child, you said. And now she’s come after a space of about three years to ask what’s happening to both of you. In other words, now that you’ve finished school and got a job, what about marriage? And what about her? According to you however, the only relationship you’ve had is the child.
She got pregnant at 18, you were 22. And you didn’t want the child. Guess you didn’t want to be a father at 22. Unfortunately you can’t erase a child. She’s an irreversible living breathing reality. The question you ask is: Must you marry her because you impregnated her? And should you marry her because you impregnated her? The sex was no doubt hormonal opportunism.
I can imagine how this woman feels – you devirginized her! Loss of virginity is epochal for many women. They remember whom, where and when. You saw a fresh faced kid, and you exploited her innocence with your libido. Only you slept with a very fertile young woman at the wrong time of the month. Perhaps at that time you thought you were in love. Young men often confuse sex with love. But now the biological outcome of your arduous libidinous exertion seems to have cleared your eyes.
Some will insist punitively you marry her since you impregnated her. But I worry about punitive marriages. Punition is a very wrong premise for a marital union. To be honest with you I feel punitive myself, but for different reasons. Given your background and where you’re coming from I’m amazed you would put a strain on your future.
Your background was difficult. Somehow, by the grace of God you’ve been able to acquire a university education. It wasn’t easy. Your mum sacrificed a lot for it. I would have thought such a person as you would see the course of discipline through… That you’d get a job, stabilize, work hard, succeed, and change the trajectory of your destiny. That you’ll follow this course to make a difference in the circumstances of your family… But you had to mess up didn’t you? You had to constrain yourself like one without a sense of history. And now you can’t even afford to be a father – in every sense of the word.
As you’ll soon discover fatherhood is unlike sex. Sex has discontinuance, fatherhood is perpetual. Young men never think of this but the next thirty years of your life are going to be devoted to that child. Her education will consume at least twenty-one of those years. And O yes, there’s something called school fees. You have to pay for 42 terms, at least. You haven’t even started! Next time you want to have sex think of school fees.
The truth is, you’ve already made one mistake. Will the marriage be a second mistake? Only you can answer. If you don’t love this woman and you marry her because of the kid you’ll end up punishing her. And some people punish the mother of their child through the kid, which is absurd. They deny the kid parenthood, abdicate responsibility for support, just to punish the mother. Well, the sex you thought was free isn’t free after all. Baby formula costs money! But if both of you love each other then perhaps you should consider marriage. It’s your decision.
Somehow we think marriage will “regularize” the “mistake” of pregnancy out of wedlock. But marriage is not some correcting fluid. It’s not a retroactive time machine. Can’t backdate the child’s birthday. It’s your decision what you want to do but if you don’t marry her, and things don’t work out for her, you’ll bear a moral burden.
You disrupted her schooling! Though I’m glad she’s back in school. Not many are that fortunate. It takes extra-ordinary effort to overcome the challenges of premature motherhood. Without parental support it’s a difficult endeavour. Not all parents are benevolent.
And if people accuse you of finding her good for sex but suddenly unsuitable for marriage you brought it upon yourself. I’ll advise you take your marital decision like any other marital decision: Will we make a good couple? Will I be happy? Will she be happy? How about long term? The least you can do is be a good dad to your daughter. She didn’t ask to come into this world, you brought her! Whatever decision you take, you will need to work extra hard to take care of your child. You must be there for her. Your father wasn’t there for you and you know how that felt like.
Now let me advise you about your present state: You better not impregnate another woman! Or your life will get very interesting! If I were you I’ll zip up! You have enough on your plate. One “accidental” impregnation is a mistake, two is character. If you have another “accidental child” from another woman you’ll become a parable.
You’ve got a decision to make. Are you going to marry the mother of your child or not? I hope this clarifies your premises for you.
Your mentor, LA.
© Leke Alder | firstname.lastname@example.org