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More Unmarried, Cohabiting Couples Having Babies Together: OK or Put a Ring On It?

Living 2012/04/12 18:29:05
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First came love, then came ... shacking up ... then came a baby in the baby carriage. The number of U.S. women age 15-44 giving birth for the first time while living with a partner to whom they are not married has risen from 12 percent of first births in 2002 to 22 percent of first births between 2006 and 2010, a new government report says, according to WebMD.



Want some more interesting stats from the survey? The average age for a woman to give birth to her first child is 23; for men, it's 25. Also, half of women's first births took place in their 20s; two-thirds of first births were fathered by men in their 20s.

And what about women who were married and women who were college-educated? They were more likely to have a first birth at age 30 or older, compared with women who were not married or who were less educated. So, do you think it's OK for cohabiting couples to start reproducing? Or should he put a ring on it first?
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Top Opinion

  • katy.isodo 2012/04/12 18:48:18
    OK
    katy.isodo
    +18
    I think there are just as many married couples living unhealthy lives.. simply having 'legal binding documents' doesn't create a more healthy environment for a child. Plenty of non married people make great parents.

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Opinions

  • jsbustaman 2012/04/20 09:46:28
    Put a ring on it first!
    jsbustaman
    Marriage can keep a family together, because it's a lifelong serious commitment! If not, why bother considering any long-term relationship? There's no reason stick around?...
  • Commrade#371 2012/04/19 10:05:26
    OK
    Commrade#371
    I sure hope the couple lives together first
  • chastetothegloryofgod 2012/04/16 14:59:55
    Put a ring on it first!
    chastetothegloryofgod
    +2
    I don't think the important thing is a ring, it's just a piece of metal (should be gold imo).
    The important part is the commitment to not walk out on each other and the child/children.
  • Sinister Ken Doll™ 2012/04/16 13:22:26
    OK
    Sinister Ken Doll™
    marriage is outdated
  • Alice Hatter 2012/04/16 13:21:26 (edited)
    Put a ring on it first!
    Alice Hatter
    +1
    that way you wont be looking stupid when he gets up and leaves you for some other girl
  • ttfndude 2012/04/16 03:42:41
    Put a ring on it first!
    ttfndude
    I say this but it is really a much larger question than this. The real question is if we should require anyone wanting to have sex to be grown up enough to decide what they might do with a child should they have one. The truth is noone works at marriage hardly anymore so what's the point but I would like to think in my fake reality couples getting married are smart enough to speak about what will happen when they divorce.....should it happen
  • MiaBella 2012/04/15 20:50:35
    Put a ring on it first!
    MiaBella
    Children have a better chance of scholastic and relational succes if they're raised in a family setting. Finances are more secure when married and even if divorce rate is up, Marriage does give obligations to the man to provide and take responsibility and to the woman to care for the child. Pro Marriage!@
  • shell 2012/04/15 16:52:03
    OK
    shell
    Marriage is overrated.
  • Sarah Alexander 2012/04/15 03:05:28
    OK
    Sarah Alexander
    Marriage doesn't mean a good relationship - my parents were miserable after the first year, but stayed together because they don't believe in divorce.
  • David Hussey 2012/04/14 07:16:04
    OK
    David Hussey
    Whatever floats their boats. Its not like marriage is any indicator of a stable home for the child anyways, I don't see why this should be of concern
  • Kay'Ona Johnson 2012/04/14 06:11:54
  • TheFightingPanties 2012/04/14 02:19:21
    OK
    TheFightingPanties
    it's their family and their business. Like the kids will know the difference either way.
  • ehrhornp 2012/04/13 22:03:00
    OK
    ehrhornp
    Only if they are in a sound, long term relationship. And they should get married.
  • Sexuallobster 2012/04/13 19:36:54
    OK
    Sexuallobster
    +1
    I'm not getting married when I'm older.

    If I need a legally binding piece of paper to stay with some one with the rest of my life, then that's not love. If I stay with some one without it? That's love.
  • Willie 2012/04/13 19:21:14
    OK
    Willie
    Half of those who get married first are going to get divorced later on. Where's the difference? The real question is whether or not there are two people involved who are both making a firm committment to raising a child, not whether or not they are living under a state or church sanctioned arrangement.
  • BigFig#9 2012/04/13 18:04:36
    OK
    BigFig#9
    OK BUT - be careful. A Couple needs to consider the sensitivities of all family members and be able to live with the impact this choice might have on others. If you REALLY REALLY love GrandMa and if you're sure this will break Gramma's heart and possibly alienate Gramma and you then maybe there's some value to a ring.
  • Ron 2012/04/13 17:51:07
    OK
    Ron
    I don't care if they ever put a ring on it.
  • benjordan03 2012/04/13 17:31:49
    OK
    benjordan03
    Get married for the tax breaks, not for the kids.
  • ChocolateAttack 2012/04/13 17:30:16
    OK
    ChocolateAttack
    it depends on the relationship tho
  • AdrianaE.Loera 2012/04/13 16:54:28 (edited)
    Put a ring on it first!
    AdrianaE.Loera
    +3
    My grandmother used to say that shacking up with a man is like keeping a wild horse in an open stockade. Marriage effectively closes the gate and even though they can still jump over they will definitely think twice about it. When there are children involved I think it is an appalling show of immaturity and irresponsibility to not get married, for damage control there IS something called a prenup. Most people need to be reminded of their obligations every so often or they tend to end up following their emotions straight into disaster.
  • Sexuall... Adriana... 2012/04/13 17:20:38
    Sexuallobster
    +3
    So..

    1. Men are all untrustworthy.
    2. Only men can be unfaithful.
    3. Marriage is the only way to make sure that it doesn't happen.
    4. Marriage somehow makes you a better parent.
    5. Not getting married.. leads to disaster..?

    look what I learned on Sodahead today.
  • Adriana... Sexuall... 2012/04/13 18:07:38 (edited)
    AdrianaE.Loera
    +2
    It is a well known fact that men do tend to leave their partner with the kids far more often than vice-versa. Not to mention that cheating on one's spouse vs. one's roommate-with-benefits carries more serious consequences so people are less likely to do it. This doesn't mean that women don't cheat as well. But fear of repercussions is, sadly, what keeps many people in check even if it is at a subconscious level. My point is that having children out of wedlock will weaken your case in court and will make it a lot easier for the other parent to shirk his/her responsibilities.

    I don't think anyone could argue that insufficient income etc. is not detrimental to the long term well being of any child. In some cases the end result can certainly be disastrous, boys tend to turn to crime more often and girls tend to become unwed mothers themselves often at a very early age. Sometimes the parents give up too easily instead of working on saving their relationship. So they go through life bouncing from one dysfunctional relationship to the next. That doesn't seem like a terribly happy prospect for anyone.
  • katy.isodo Adriana... 2012/04/14 22:50:35
    katy.isodo
    So.. anyone who chooses to not get married can't have a devoted and close relationship but is classified as 'roommates with benefits". I think it's far more socially acceptable to get married, but that doesn't mean it's always the best for each situation. I agree that in some instances you are right.. but to classify it as always one or the other.. a bit of black and white thinking?
    In todays society, people cheat.. and even if men do so more often, generally I find it takes two to tango. What led that man to cheat? Are there other issues going on in the relationship? Dragging a guy into a relationship isn't going to keep him from being himself - if men are going to cheat.. well they are going to cheat. I don't need some legal or religious document to assure me that my partner won't break our agreed trust with each other.
  • MOMMA THOMAS 2012/04/13 16:36:34
    OK
    MOMMA THOMAS
    SOME FOLKS ARE BETTER OFF NOT MARRIED....IF THEY CAN AFFORD THE KID.
  • wgossett99 MOMMA T... 2012/04/13 17:50:05
    wgossett99
    +1
    If they shouldn't be married, why do you think that they could effectively raise a child?
  • MOMMA T... wgossett99 2012/04/13 18:01:34
    MOMMA THOMAS
    IT CAN BE DONE.....THEY JUST DON'T HAVE "A CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE."
  • wgossett99 MOMMA T... 2012/04/13 18:10:18
    wgossett99
    Of course, it CAN be done.

    But do you truly believe that most people who have a child out-of-wedlock will actually be good, effective parents?

    (Side note: Please don't use ALL CAPS. It's like you are shouting.)
  • MOMMA T... wgossett99 2012/04/13 23:21:12
    MOMMA THOMAS
    SORRY THE CAPS OFFEND YOU, WGOSSETT99. HAD A STROKE, EYESIGHT IS FAILING.

    PAPA AND I HAVE 4 KIDS, 4 GRANDS AND ONE GREAT GRAND. WE PREFER HAPPILY MARRIED COUPLES WITH CHILDREN, BUT THAT DOESN'T ALWAYS HAPPEN. WHAT'S BEST IS THAT THE INNOCENT CHILDREN WHO HAD NOTHING TO TO WITH THE CREATION OF LIFE DO NOT SUFFER. THE ONE BORN OUT OF WEDLOCK IN OUR FAMILY HAS PLENTY OF PEOPLE GIVING HER OUTSTANDING SUPPORT. ..IT CAN BE DONE!
  • wgossett99 MOMMA T... 2012/04/16 13:21:28
    wgossett99
    THE ALL CAPS DID NOT OFFEND ME. MANY PEOPLE DON'T KNOW INTERNET ETTIQUETTE. YOUR REASON IS TOTALLY VALID. I HOPE YOUR EYESIGHT IMPROVES AND THAT YOU HAVE A FULL RECOVERY.

    RE: THE CHILD - YES, SOME CHILDREN ARE FORTUNATE ENOUGH TO HAVE A STRONG EXTENDED FAMILY SAFETY NET. HOWEVER, STATISTICALLY CHILDREN OF UNWED PARENTS TEND TO DO LESS WELL THAN THEIR PEERS IN SCHOOL AND TEND TO HAVE MORE BRUSHES WITH THE LAW. THE NUMBERS DON'T LIE.
  • ChristabelLartey 2012/04/13 16:17:51
    OK
    ChristabelLartey
    To each & one their own, as long as my tax dollars are not paying for those children.
  • Vieuphoria 2012/04/13 16:10:40
    OK
    Vieuphoria
    Marriage means nothing is largely pointless in todays society. I see no reason why a ring stops a couple doing everything they would normally do while married. Marriage is a ring and a contract. If you need a contract to tell each other you're in love and are capable of kids etc... then you have a problem.
  • TheBorg Vieuphoria 2012/04/15 19:26:09
    TheBorg
    +1
    I agree with your "marriage means nothing' however it is far from pointless. Non-married people get discriminated against by governments by giving married people special privileges, like insurance benefits, tax deductions, end of life privileges in decision making; there is a very long list of special privileges people get for getting married that two non-married people living together in a committed life-long relationship are not allowed to have. What is appalling is that LGBT people, who have been discriminated against more than any group is fighting for legal marriage so they can be a part of discriminating against non-married people. What everyone should be fighting for is to end the discrimination against non-married people and give those benefits married people get to everyone.
  • wgossett99 TheBorg 2012/04/16 13:22:38
    wgossett99
    +1
    BRAVO!!
  • LittleMistersMom 2012/04/13 15:37:37
    OK
    LittleMistersMom
    +2
    Who am I to judge as long as it's a happy, healthy relationship and the kids are taken care of? I was married when I got pregnant with my first, and was divorced when he was only 5 weeks old, so obviously, marriage doesn't always equal two parents being together for the life of the child.
  • turtledove123 2012/04/13 15:28:57
    OK
    turtledove123
    If you can care for the child on your own then do what you want. The definition for a happy family is different today. If you do not wish to marry, then you should not have to. If you are not asking anyone for a handout, then other people need to mind their business.
  • Megan 2012/04/13 15:26:11
    Put a ring on it first!
    Megan
    +2
    I'd much rather see financially stable parents raise a child, since if you're financially stable you'll be able to give the child a better child-hood and education. Most unmarried couples in their 20s are not financially stable.
  • BigFig#9 Megan 2012/04/13 18:07:44
    BigFig#9
    +2
    Think you're reversing cause and effect. They're not financially unstable because they didn't marry. They didn't marry because they're finacially unstable.
  • katy.isodo Megan 2012/04/14 22:53:42
    katy.isodo
    So.. because you get married you automatically are financially stable? Since when did this happen? Most people in general in the lower 20's aren't going to be financially stable and it's very little to do with not being married, it's to do with just starting out and in life - it's reality. Having said that - simply being poor doesn't harm a child, being neglected harms a child. Neglect can happen in any type of financial situation.
  • glass_butterfly ~YSU~ 2012/04/13 15:13:28
    Put a ring on it first!
    glass_butterfly ~YSU~
    +4
    Call me old fashion but if I'm going to be raising a child with some guy for the rest of my life then I'd like to be married and also above all else love him.

    This is how my brother and his girlfriend live right now with my nephew. We were raised, I guess, in a more "classic" way get married, have sex, THEN if you want have kids. My brother is all over the place... much to my parents dismay.
  • TiffanyBelle 2012/04/13 15:11:30
    OK
    TiffanyBelle
    +1
    jewelry or a government issued piece of paper isn't going to make or break any relationship!!!
    there are lots of competent and loving parents out there who aren't married and also lots of married couples who provide a vile environment to raise a child in.
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