Marriage and Children

United States
March 16, 2007 12:16am CST
Why do so so so many people automatically assume that if you are getting married or want to get married, that means you are going to have kids right away? Espcially in this day and age when so many people are waiting to get married until they are completely confident in their relationships. Sometimes waiting up to ten years to get married, and oftentimes they already have kids by the time they get married. Why are marriage and children still synonymous?
13 people like this
29 responses
@Malyck (3428)
• Australia
22 Aug 07
I have absolutely no idea. Some people and lines of thinking are just completely beyond me. I've found that even people who don't plan on getting married or having children still seem to expect it from those who do get married; if you do one, you must do the other. Personally, I have no reason to get married, I know there is love in my relationship, I don't plan on changing my name, and I won't receive any sort of security from it. I'm more than happy to remain a girlfriend and 'partner'. ... I suppose I'm not really answering the question... I guess it's just drummed into so many peoples' brains that that's the order of events in life - the best that they can hope to achieve - marrying and starting a family (don't forget the mortgage). It's what their great-grandparents, grandparents and parents all did before them, so it must be the 'proper' thing to do. I'm all for choosing your life's path. If I don't want kids or a husband, I'm not going to have them, plain and simple. I don't owe it to anyone.
• Abernathy, Texas
11 Sep 07
Hey Malyck - I'm all for choosing your own path too - even if its a wandering one!
1 person likes this
• United States
26 Sep 07
lol
2 people like this
• United States
20 Mar 07
I would love to know, if you feel like getting married great but who says that means you want kids I sure don't.
2 people like this
• United States
20 Mar 07
I don't really interact with many people in the "real world", but this website is where I hear about it the most. There was a thread a while back that asked a typical "would you rather get married or stay single" type question. Nothing more and nothing less. I posted that I was getting married soon and the person who made the thread actually said "Well then that means you're going to have to be having babies and taking care of the house! I couldn't do it, but good luck anyway". I was amazed that someone actually thought that I "had" to have kids because I was getting married. Ah, well.
2 people like this
@Gemmygirl1 (2870)
• Australia
16 Mar 07
I have no idea why people assume that these days, things are so different to how they used to be. I have a baby girl & am not married, i'm not even sure if we will get married but things are good as they are & no-one has pestered us so i guess that's a plus!
2 people like this
• United States
16 Mar 07
OOPS too late for me then.I have 2 kids and i still am not even close to getting married.I dont think people should have to hae kids if theyre married.Actually now days i think its more convenient not to unless yo really want a kid.
2 people like this
@ethanmama (1746)
• Philippines
17 Mar 07
Because by getting married, you are announcing to the whole world (or at least to your circle of family and friends) that you are starting a family, and people automatically equate "family" with "children". That's not necessarily true, of course, because the husband and wife IS already a family. Now about having children without the benefit of marriage, that's another story entirely. People still get surprised when they hear of a single girl having a baby, because since she is not married, so, as far as everyone is concerned, she does not seem to be starting a family. I think it's mainly just a question of perception :).
1 person likes this
• United States
17 Mar 07
What I meant by "already have kids" is that many people are staying in an unmarried relationship for so long that by the time they decide they are ready to get married, they already have children together.
2 people like this
@ethanmama (1746)
• Philippines
18 Mar 07
"Why do so so so many people automatically assume that if you are getting married or want to get married, that means you are going to have kids right away?" "Why are marriage and children still synonymous?" This is what I responded to. Now are you asking that why people still expect couples who just got married but already have kids to want to have kids right away? My answer would be people generally don't think that way in that scenario. Because whether or not there was a marriage, the family is already there and marriage just made it formal. But if the couple didn't have children yet, people do ASSUME that they want to marry in order to have children, because they are announcing the start of a family by marrying.
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Mar 07
Never mind. I'm sorry you were unable to understand what I meant in the first place, which was evident by your statement about single mothers. I attempted to explain my meaning to you further and you were still unable to understand. I apologize.
2 people like this
@hillock (749)
• Qatar
2 Nov 07
i think they assumed because nowadays the first thing to happen is getting pregnant next is getting married. And in some culture they believe in long term relationship. they want to know if they are compatible! though honestly its such a crap!
1 person likes this
• United States
2 Nov 07
Has the culture really changed that drastically that quickly? My mother didn't have her first child until she was 33 and she was first married at age 22. She had no children with her first husband and was married to her second for two years before she had a child. Now, barely 20 years later, people already presume that anyone who gets married is going to have kids right away? I thought no one thought that way since the 1950's.
2 people like this
@hillock (749)
• Qatar
4 Nov 07
it is very different now. i was asked by my dad if im pregnant and if i did i should get married. oh my! in the first place i was not pregnant, second i dont want to get married just because i got pregnant! jeezzz!
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Nov 07
Maybe that's just where you live. It's not really like that in the US. Most people think it's a really dumb idea to get married just because you're pregnant.
2 people like this
@arkaf61 (10882)
• Canada
4 Oct 07
I really am not sure. But it puzzles me too. Still I see it happening over and over again. I always thought that after I got married even if I wanted to have children I would want to spend some time as a couple before I went on to the parent stage. ANd I did that. I had a very special time before I had kids. I had time and money to do things that I am not able to do now that I have kids.
• United States
6 Oct 07
That's another thing I don't get. People always get all butthurt when anyone brings up the obligations children come with that prevent one from doing many many things. I'm always hearing, "It doesn't matter if you have kids, you can do anything you want even if you have kids. I have 948659 kids and I can still do whatever I want and go out whenever I want". Um, then wouldn't that make you a bad parent? It's good to hear someone admitting it. But yeah, thank you for your comment.
3 people like this
• United States
8 Oct 07
Yeah, well, I hear that from a lot of the moms who are my age(20) who have 2, 3, and 4 year-olds and talk about how they can still go party, go to school and work full-time. It's like...um...no. Also, my best friend's mom was a little irresponsible and I saw the effect on my friend so it really bugs me all the more. She got pregnant when she was 16 with my friend, then ended up marrying the guy and having another one who was "planned" a couple years later. Then he turned out to be abusive, they left him, and she got remarried. Then when my friend was about 12 she had another and then another about 3 years later. On the weekends, she made my friend watch the other 3 kids while she went out to clubs with her friends. Her excuse was that she never got to to it when she was younger, so now she wanted to. It wasn't fair to my friend. She never complained and it taught her some really great life skills, but I still don't think it was fiar for her to have to watch her mother's kids as her own at that age.
3 people like this
@arkaf61 (10882)
• Canada
8 Oct 07
Sacrificialclam you're right, of course it is not possible, not at those ages. Sure people can rely on babysitters, or they can leave the children with parents or family members but that does not work all the time and it is not the best solution either. That's why I'm quite happy that I waited a few years before I had kids. I was able to stabilize my life - never mind that a few curb balls threw off that balance later :) - and to enjoy time with my husband alone for a while. we could travel with no special notice, we could go out even in the middle of the night if we felt so, we had enough money to do those things and it was great. I so often hear new parents complaining about not being able to do this and that, well I never felt like complaining - I had had my fill of going out and traveling for a while LOL
1 person likes this
@mpshiva6 (65)
• India
16 Mar 07
It is essential that anybody has kids only after marriage. Whatever people say about single moms and everyone's freedom to have children even if they dont want to get married, it is a fact that the child without either of the parents do not grow up the normal way. So the idea of having children before marriage should be scrapped. It is children like these who grow up to become problems to the society. They will always have the feeling of not being normal like other kids. They will always lack the presence of one parent. You can see so many childrend born out of wedlock being left at orphanages. These kids are more likely to become criminals when they grow than those who live with both parents. So it is essential to be married before you have a kid.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Mar 07
That's not what I said at all! I said nothing about single parents now did I ask when to have kids, or if I should. Besides, that's not true anyway. A child is far more likely to get screwed up by parents in a loveless or abusive marriage than he or she is to be in a loving home with parents who are unmarried.
2 people like this
• Australia
16 Mar 07
I don't get this - i am not married but have been in a loving relationship for almost 10 years now, does this then mean i shouldn't have children until we get married? As far as i can see, whether you have that piece of paper that says you're married or not doesn't mean you'll be any less of a parent. I'm not sure what country you're from but here in Australia, there's really no Orphans coz there are so many people willing to adopt & our society here is very good - many parents are helping their children raise kids if they should fall pregnant. I am 100% sure a single parent can raise a child just as well as a couple - you just need to be able to provide a good stable environment, understanding & most of all, LOVE! Just so you know - even though i'm not married & probably wont get married for quite some time, my partner & i have got a beautiful daughter, a stable environment & she has everything she needs.
@Galena (9123)
29 Jan 08
my parents were unmarried. when I was about 6 or 7 we left my dad, as he was a nasty peice of work. my mum worked really hard to raise me single handedly without getting handouts from the government. she taught me right from wrong, taught me about respect, taught me to work hard and that nothing gets handed to you on a plate. I never felt I wasn't normal. I am not a problem to society. I have never broken the law or abused the benefits system. had my parents been married it would have been harder for us to get away from the destructive influence of my dad. I grew up a good person with one parent that cared for me. I missed out on NOTHING by having unmarried parents, or by being raised by a single parent.
• United States
21 Dec 07
Okay, here is what I think...and i read some of the posts, but sometimes there are just to many and so little time :-) I think that people assume that you are going to have kids after marriage, b/c that is like .... the law of life....know what I mean. Um, that is just how it flows.....you meet someone that catches your eye, you date, they sweep you off your feet, you fall in love, you get married, live your life a bit with each other, then it is time to have kids, start a family, raise your family, blah blah blah..then you die. ;-) Not that it has to go that way and you are wrong if you don't...but that is usually the flow of life....know what I'm saying?
1 person likes this
• United States
21 Dec 07
Honestly, I don't understand it. There are so many different lifestyles these days that I don't get why that's still the "expected way of things". Also, a lot of the people who do think that being married means you will have children, do actually think it's wrong if you don't. That having children is the only reason to get married, everyone wants children and anyone who doesn't is heartless, selfish, evil and defective.
2 people like this
• United States
21 Dec 07
Well, that is just crazy. Everybody seems to do things backwards now a days and if you don't want to have kids then fine, more power to you. I am definitely one that can see both sides of a situation and am very open minded. I mean, having kids is very life changing. Most of the time for the better, but it is life changing. You can't go out like you use to, there is much more to compromise. My boyfriend and I get frustrated b/c we can't spend as much time together. I am a stay-at-home mom of a 3 year old, and a 5 month old. I yearn for adult conversation during the day, once he gets home though it is hard to talk....toddler and baby require attention at the same time, dinner is to be cooked, and whatever else....we finally get our HOUR of a lone time when the kids go to bed which is 8 during the winter and 9 during the summer... so, like you care about all of that, I just am trying to say that I understand why someone wouldn't want to have kids, specially right away. I myself love kids and babies even though they are stressful...babies cry that is what they do, so if I ignore her for a minute to do something I need to do, no harm. you know.
1 person likes this
• United States
22 Dec 07
If you love kids, then that's great for you, but some people just can't poke their little brains outside of their narrow little box for two seconds to see how someone else may view a situation. Thank you for understanding.
1 person likes this
@MagieL (266)
• China
10 Dec 07
i don't think getting married meands going to have kids.you can get married frist,and then have kids after one year or two years or more that you like.my sister married and after two years,she and her husband decide have a baby.^^
1 person likes this
• United States
10 Dec 07
I mean having kids ever. I refuse to ever have children, but people seem to presume that being married means I have to.
2 people like this
• United States
12 Jan 08
"kids after one year or two years" What if you never want to have kids? Her discussion was about why everyone thinks that you're married that means you have to pop out kids. My cousin got married about 5 years ago and doesn't want kids and yet she and her husband get asked at least oncea day when they are going to start a family or when can someone expect to hear the pitter patter of little feet.
• United States
12 Jan 08
Thank you. That's exactly what I mean.
@stacyv81 (5904)
• United States
16 Jun 07
I agree with you. Just as I already have kids but am not married, people wonder why and try to talk me into getting married, I have no clue why they are considered synonymous still, but I wish they werent
• United States
17 Jun 07
Thanks so much for your responce. Lol, it seems we're rather opposite. I'm getting married but I don't want kids, you have kids but don't want to get married. I'm sorry they keep pestering you about it, too lol.
2 people like this
@stacyv81 (5904)
• United States
18 Jun 07
yes. It really isnt that I dont want to be married, as I do want to, I just think that me and my guy will make that decision when we want to. I dont think we should get married just because we have kids. You know? I mean, marriage and children are a decision that should rest solely (sp?) between the two people involved. That is my feeling on it, as far as family and ffriends....well, they can be there to support you in your decision, but that is about it ya know?
1 person likes this
• United States
19 Jun 07
I'm sorry, that's what I meant lol. But yeah, I agree. People get just too fricken nosey sometimes.
2 people like this
@jay_em93 (99)
• Philippines
16 Mar 07
that's because it is what usually happens nowadays,that's why when you get married they would always think that you're pregnant, of course if you're not then you should be proud to tell them that, it's nice if you don't always follow the trend.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Mar 07
I'm not pregnant and I don't intend to be. I'm very proud of my decision, but I'm just sick of these preconcieved notions of what's "right".
2 people like this
• United States
12 Sep 07
Thanks ^_^
2 people like this
@cuteypie (20)
• United States
25 Jan 08
Because silly society thinks that way.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jan 08
And why would anyone think that a marriage isnt a happy one without rugrats. Children dont bond a marriage if anything in alot of cases they break one down.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jan 08
Exactly. Thank you.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Oct 07
One word, Tradition.They just assume that if you are getting married, you want to start a family because that's what it used to mean.But news flash, there are couples that can never have kids yet they are married. and like you said, there are couples that are together and have kids and they will never get married.It is all up to the couple, not the outsiders.
1 person likes this
• United States
23 Oct 07
Lol, now I have "Fiddler on the Roof" stuck in my head. But seriously, thank you for understanding. It's refreshing.
3 people like this
• United States
23 Oct 07
Fiddler on the Roof is one of my favorite films!Take care.
1 person likes this
@chrysz (1603)
• Philippines
29 Jan 08
I don't think they are synonymous because now, I have two kids but I don't plan to get married yet. Fist and foremost, children or having them should not be the main reason for marriage because it will only make you more pressured. MArrying should be done mainly because you want to live with that person together. HAving a child should be considered a bonus and a blessing but it is never a neccesity. If you are confident that you and your partner doesn't need a child to strengthen your relationship, then so be it.
• United States
29 Jan 08
Thank you for your reply.
1 person likes this
@cotruelove (1038)
• Denver, Colorado
25 Jan 08
lol.....well, I guess I have a different take on the reason. Different generations have different ideas. I know my mother freaked in the 60's when I lived with a man and wasn't married to him and didn't marry him. When I got married to some one else, my husband didn't want kids, and I did, then he wanted them, and I didn't, but all the generation older than us, thought I must have been pregnant to have gotten married. Must have been the longest pregnancy in history because the child wasn't born for 18 months after the ceremony. And that pregnancy wasn't intention and was back when we didn't know that birth control pills didn't work under certain conditions. We made the best of it and loved the child but not because it was expected of us. I've been pretty outspoken over the years and let many people know that the decision of children or not doesn't have anything to do with being married. It is the decision of the two people who get married or not. And in some cases, it is the woman's decision because the man vanished. I hate it when I hear families expect a newlyweds to have a child as soon as possible so they can have grand babies. I just think a lot of people are control freaks and want to determine the actions of some one other than themselves and should mind their own business.
1 person likes this
• United States
25 Jan 08
That would make sense except it's not my mother who is on me for it. It's just people in general. When I first got engaged, everyone asked if I was getting married because I was pregnant because I was 19 at the time. Well, that was almost 2 years ago. And these were complete strangers! And other than that, people are always trying to talk me out of getting married because at my "age" I should be "free". Sorry, but wtf does that even mean? They usually say, "Well, you shouldn't be tied down by a husband and kids." Um...what kids? I don't have kids, I don't want kids, I'm not going to have kids. I just don't get it.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jan 08
I get the feeling that you feel that people who do get married and have kids, those kids turn out worse than those people who just live together/do not get married and have kids. That married couples are more likely to abuse kids than single parents. I hope that is not true. But let us get down to the subject. Ten years to feel that a couple living together can finally have the confidence to get married after they have had children? Now they have to go and change forms, their children already accept that living together without the benefit of matrimony is best and will not doubt maybe not get married even after a ten year waiting period? Some people are not good with infants, they are better with older children and if they are, they usually do not marry right away. They wait until they are at least in their thirties. So if you cannot stand babies or children but can get along with a girl of around twelve, wait to get married then and adopt or do fostering. Some people think that others are not ready for marriage, and they discourage them from getting married until it is too late for them to have children. Even though it might hurt a bit for someone to feel you are immature, why not cultivate these people as friends and then you will not have a problem. They will gang up on you and discourage you and make sure all the eligible young men keep their distance.
• United States
17 Jan 08
I can honestly say that I have no idea what you're talking about. I never said anything about whether a married or unmarried environment is better for children. Quite frankly, I don't care. Nor am I asking when you think I should get married. I AM getting married. In 4 months to be exact. No one is "keeping young men away" from me. I asked why, when everyone has children at all different ages in all different circumstances, do people still think that getting married automatically means you HAVE to have children? I don't want children, I won't want children, I refuse to have children, so why do people feel the need to assume that because I'm getting married that I HAVE to have them. Nothing you said has anything to do with that.
2 people like this
• United States
10 Dec 07
Maybe cause back in the old days thats how it worked..i mean cmon they couldnt see past the ankle without getting perversed thoughts....kids before marriage was unthinkable.
• United States
10 Dec 07
But that was over 100 years ago. People think I'm ridiculous for acting like a lady, but then they turn around and foist some "barefoot and pregnant" BS on me?
2 people like this
@kaevielf (246)
• China
16 Mar 07
If people assume that if you are going to get married or if you are married you are going to have kids, perhaps those people believe that one of the reasons you get married is to answer the call to procreate. The Bible says,go ye and multiply. If for some reasons, married couples can't have kids,they can still be a part of the role by adopting children and raising them or helping them to be the kind of persons they want to be. Just an opinion.
1 person likes this
• United States
16 Mar 07
Sorry, but no. I GREATLY disagree. Marriage is about love, committment and partnership. Not "the call to procreate". Not everyone is Christian and not everyone wants kids.
2 people like this
@artemis432 (7474)
• Abernathy, Texas
11 Sep 07
I think its conditioning. We are conditioned to think - still - in this day and age that not only are we SUPPOSED to get married but we're SUPPOSED to have kids too. I'm all for being your own person. Not dressing, acting and grooming yourself based on how others think you should. I was, am a free spirit and traveled a lot and felt sure I would never get married or have a kid - because it would get in the way of my adventures. I like to set off for unknown lands with little more than a plane ticket and a job offer. I wondered how I could do this married. Yet I was asked in the only way I would say yes, spontaneously and not for a long drawn out deal. We were off to Vegas the next weekend to go through the drive thru of the Love Chapel. That was years ago. We have and will share many adventures - together. So again to draw this back to the specific question, I think its conditioning. We live in a dictarship of sorts of society and conditioning and when we don't adhere to this there is usually hell to pay. In the form of people constantly on our backs asking us, in all manner of ways why we don't conform to society's view of how things should be. That's how I see it at least. Great topic Gloom. I will definitely see what else you have!
1 person likes this