No marriage, no children

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Some years back a family member suggested to me that I should father a child out of wedlock - intentionally.

‘Every man must have a child,’ he said. ‘Time is not exactly on your side – you can’t wait for marriage.’

‘I’ll only have children if I get married,’ I said. ‘No marriage, no children.’ 
 
I have a lot of close friends and family who are wonderful single parents who are bringing up happy and well adjusted children. It’s not my intention to take anything away from them or others in a similar situation. What follows is my personal preference.
 
There’s always been something alluring to me about the traditional family, where a man and a woman marry and settle down to start a family. There’s something wonderful about two people contracting to stay and love each other - come what may. To me, this is the ideal environment to raise a child.
 
In my opinion parenting should be a shared experience. Only in a marriage do I feel that I will always be there for my partner and children - to share the sleepless nights and midnight baby feedings; helping change the diapers and bathing the children.

I want to be available to help with the kids’ homework and to have time to play them, not forgetting providing the needed discipline and protection from corrupting influences. By supporting and respecting their mother I hope I’ll teach my children respect for themselves and for others. I hope this is fatherhood.
 
I feel there are other advantages of raising a child in a marriage - no child maintenance pay disputes or custody battles. No hurt feelings because of broken promises.
 
And because of the cordial relationship that exists between the parents the child has easy access to both sets of grandparents and members of the extended family.
 
It is these and other benefits that make waiting for a permanent suitable marriage mate worthwhile.

Is Sipho old-fashioned? Is marriage still the ideal environment for raising children?
 
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