Get married? Why bother?
That’s the prevailing attitude of an increasing number of couples who consider marriage, if at all, only after a child arrives. USA Today spotlights Bristol Palin and Levy Johnston, and their toddler son, Tripp, as symbols of the new trend: child first, marriage second. Recent data shows they have plenty of company: “A record four-in-ten births (41%) were to unmarried women in 2008, including most births to women in their early 20s.”
Perhaps unintentionally, the best illustration of the growing confusion about marriage comes from another unmarried mom, Davie Melton, interviewed by USA Today. She’s conflicted. On the one hand, as “a Christian, I believe you need to get married.” On the other hand, “[m]arriage… is a piece of paper nowadays, and I don't think you necessarily need it to be a good family."
So, is marriage good for children and families, or not? Does it really matter whether Tripp’s parents, Bristol Palin and Levy Johnston, get married?
In spite of the drama in Bristol Palin’s young life, she knows that marriage matters. Bristol explained her reason for getting back together with Levy quite simply. “We were working on our relationship for Tripp,” their toddler son. Her inclination to marry, while certainly intertwined with her feelings for Levy, is rooted in a basic truth: children do best when they are raised by their married mother and father.
While I have no way of knowing whether Bristol and Levy’s relationship will mature into a solid, committed marriage, I applaud their desire to give their son the benefit of being raised by married parents.
How to save your family from indifference towards marriage.