Background: Trisha and Ebert both come from conservative, traditional, strict religious families. Trisha and Ebert are both non-practicing people, but are fairly active members of their orthodox religious community, mostly to keep their parents happy and for business connections. Trisha and Ebert have been together for over a year and have a modern romantic relationship,ie., premarital sexual relations, but no one in their families knows this about them. This fact would be catastrophic for both of them, especially Trisha. Trisha and Ebert both have financially lucrative jobs, yet both still live with their parents. They love each other, but for whatever reason, do not wish to marry each other.
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Problem: Trisha is 4 months pregnant, starting to show, and wants to keep the baby and raise it by herself, without benefit of marriage. Ebert is willing to marry Trisha, but admits he is only open to the idea of marrying Trisha because of the baby on the horizon. He wants the baby to carry his last name in any event. They both desire for Ebert to be involved in parenting, but only as a ‘lives elsewhere’ dad. There is nothing about this scenario that will sit well with The Parents and In Laws, nor their orthodox religious community.
Question: How can Trisha and Ebert move on with their modern lives without alienating their family and religious community?
Dr. Vaune’s Advice: This one is easy. They can’t. Trisha and Ebert have to put on some very big boy and big girl pants and realize that there will be a *hit storm when the word gets out – and it will, and likely very soon. Next, Trisha needs to get her own home asap, in anticipation of being kicked out of her parents. Ebert might as well do the same. They would be wise to consider living near one another for mutual support and parenting facility. Short of changing jobs, moving out of town, and never introducing the baby to its grand-parents, there is no point is trying to conceal the pregnancy or baby after it is born, too many people are likely to find out and talk, since both Trisha and Ebert work in the community. Also, these days it is hella difficult to pull off that kind of secret. If both of them leave town tongues will wag anyway. That kind of tongue wagging often makes stories much more ’interesting’ than they already are, so who needs that nonsense?
Both Trisha and Ebert could benefit from counseling if only to clarify why they are both commitment wary. If they come by it naturally, then at least they are being true to themselves. If it is a result to some subconscious issue or real experience, then they might benefit from working that stuff out and then reconsidering whether to tie the knot.
Their parents will need time to make their peace with the situation, and will likely love the child after getting over the shock and embarrassment they will experience. The community will either take a hard line to enforce their rules and exclude Trisha and Ebert (and ergo, baby) or open their hearts and minds with love and forgiveness and welcome a new member into the community. Typically though, rules and punishment are favored and implemented over love and forgiveness in these types of organizations. After all, if they let Trisha and Ebert get away with breaking the rules how will they be able to keep all the others in line? Only time will tell. But, time heals all wounds eventually, right?
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