That Fine Line

I heard a debate the other day on a radio program. The caller was wondering whether she should attend the wedding of a friend who had lived with her boyfriend for years and was just now tying the knot. She wanted to support her friend but didn’t want to make it appear that she approved of her friend’s choice to live with someone to whom she was not married. I can’t tell you the answer that the radio host gave because I got caught up in my own thoughts.

I’ve heard women say that they would not attend a baby shower because the mother was unmarried. They felt that by attending they would be lending approval to the mother’s choices. I understand their concerns as well as the concerns of the woman who called in to the radio program.

We sometimes walk a fine line. We want to make it clear where we stand on moral issues, but we love these people. Here are my thoughts.

Weddings are wonderful events. If asked for my opinion before the event, I’d say that a small family ceremony would be the best idea for a couple that has lived together. However, it’s very unlikely that (a) the bride and groom would ask my opinion or (b) they would follow my advice. I believe that supporting a couple in the decision to get married is more important than letting them know that I disapprove of their living arrangements before the marriage. So, I would definitely attend. I would congratulate the couple and share in their excitement.

Baby showers are a great way to show support for the mother and her baby. As a matter of fact, I’ve been invited to several baby showers lately for women who are not married. Do I believe that it is best to wait until you’re married to engage in sex? Absolutely. Do I believe a child has a better chance if it is born to a married couple? You betcha. Would I have counseled her to wait? You know it. Does any of that matter now? No. The choices have been made. A baby is never a punishment; it is a natural consequence. But, when the invitation arrives I have a choice. I can let the mother-to-be know about my disapproval of her choices by refusing to attend, or I can show loving support to her and her unborn child by drawing near and offering my encouragement. I always choose to attend.

Also, in the case of single moms, they are the ones most likely to need the financial help that a shower affords.

For me, the Biblical admonition to love is paramount. Don’t get me wrong. I can be very direct about what is right and wrong. I do not hesitate to confront sin when appropriate. I’ve had several conversations with young women lately about the choices they are making. I’ve earned that right by virtue of the relationship we have. Generally speaking, I’m answering their questions and giving solicited advice. Unsolicited advice is rarely welcomed or followed.

Finally, if I want to help someone I love and care for to make better choices in the future I will need to preserve the relationship and keep the door to communication open. Skipping the wedding or boycotting the baby shower will probably not help with either of these.


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