I am twenty-nine and I lived with my girlfriend for three years, exactly the age of my son. From the beginning I didn’t get along with my son’s mom…. We tried to make it for his sake, but it just didn’t work. After a lot of fights, we decided to break up.

I want to be responsible for my son, but I’m now afraid that God might get even with me for not having stayed with her…. What should I do?

Dear Friend,

We imagine that when you first were intimate with your son’s mother, it didn’t even cross your mind whether you could get along with her for the rest of your life. You, like countless other men and women, believed that you could have a physical relationship without any consequences. And, just like many of them, you found out that there can be life-long consequences for that single night when you didn’t control your impulses.

In your case, it’s interesting that you are now concerned about the consequences because of believing that God may punish you for leaving the relationship. We only wish you had been concerned about them before you slept with the woman.

From what you tell us, you never made any vows to this woman, nor did you legally marry her. And you never pledged to love her forever nor to care for her in sickness and in health. So by leaving her, you were not breaking a vow that you made before God.

However, when you chose to have a sexual relationship before marriage, you implicitly vowed to become morally and financially responsible for any child that would come from the union. You probably didn’t think about it or consciously agree, but when you procreated a human being who is a part of yourself and your DNA, there were life-long consequences.

If you stood in the middle of a busy street all day, and a car accidentally hit you, it would not be because the driver was trying to punish you. You put yourself in the street and in the position to have natural consequences, so you would have no right to blame anyone else for your injuries.

Your son needs a loving environment, whether he is with his mother or with his father. He needs parents who can respect each other and decide together about his discipline and welfare. And he must be provided for economically until he is an adult. These are your responsibilities and your consequences.

If that means that you won’t have enough financial resources to get married or have other children, then you will have to postpone those relationships. Your son came before marriage, so he must come before a potential romantic relationship. God isn’t going to punish you for leaving the woman, but He does expect you to accept the consequences of your actions.

You probably think that this sounds harsh and unforgiving, but God is neither harsh nor unforgiving. Instead, He is a loving Heavenly Father who cares so very much about your little son that He wants him to have a loving and dedicated earthly father.

We wish you well,