On several occasions, people have married on the basis of a pregnancy. This is even perpetuated by some traditional practices in our society which make marriage compulsory once one is found pregnant.
Such practices are rampant both in rural and urban settings where couples are forced into marriages ‘for the sake of the unborn baby’.
Catherine Malunga, a parent from Chilobwe Township argues that such marriages are necessary and must be encouraged.
“It is about ensuring that the child is born and raised in a conducive environment where both parents are emotionally and physically contributing to the growth of the child.
“Children should be loved by both parents because this brings joy, intimacy a sense of belonging,” she said.
But marriage counsellor Pilira Fabiano said marriage should not be dictated by a mere presence of pregnancy, but should be founded on true love, care, trust and commitment.
“There are issues of trust, love, commitment and financial ability between lovebirds to be considered before a marriage is entered. A pregnancy alone does not guarantee true love, trust or happiness in a union,” said Fabiano.
She added that lovers also have a responsibility of avoiding the trap of unplanned pregnancy.
Archbishop Zakaria Mtukula of the Seventh-day Apostolic said the only logical conclusion of a case where one has been impregnated is marriage.
“For starters, sex outside marriage is a sin and pregnancy is just a fruit of the sin. Therefore, man and woman involved should own and raise the child by marrying. We believe that sex is done by two parties in love; therefore, it is a lame excuse to say they cannot marry because there is no love.
“As a church, we take them through a repentance session and then wed them because there is no any other way out of the mistake,” Mtukula said.
He further said if a married man impregnates an unmarried member, then he is excommunicated for fornication.
“If Christian values have to be upheld and sanity in the church is to prevail, people must take responsibility for their actions. Those who have sex carelessly in the absence of love as some put it must be married, especially where there is a pregnancy,” he said.
Spokesperson for the Muslim Association of Malawi Sheikh Dinala Chabulika said it is abusive to impregnate a woman and never marry her.
“Islam discourages sex outside wedlock, but as a way of repentance, we encourage those involved to get married. Pregnancy shames the woman and her family, therefore, the man responsible can ease the burden by marrying her,” he said.
He observed that men who impregnate women and support children while not permanently attached to the mothers risk repeating the same mistakes because they are left scot free, thereby, diluting marriage values and religious pillars. n