Created By: johnnye on October 22, 2010 Last Edited By: johnnye on November 4, 2010
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Honorable Marriage Proposal

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A man who isn't the father of the child proposes to a pregnant woman in order to preserve her honour in a society with strong views on extramarital sex. Whether this is a suitable basis for a happy marriage largely depends on the work's idealism.

If it happens nowadays, the guy either has a very strict sense of duty or is just in love with the woman and making excuses. Also, expect his actions to be criticised for implying that a single mother can't raise a baby alone.

Sister Trope to Shotgun Wedding.

Examples:

  • In Deadwood, Ellsworth to Alma Garret, as she's bearing the child of a guy who's only (lovelessly) wed for the similarly-honorable reason of dutifully marrying the widow of his dead brother.
  • Strongly implied in, of all things, Lady and the Tramp. After Tramp spends the night alone with Lady, Jock and Trusty discuss proposing to her to protect her honor.
Community Feedback Replies: 23
  • October 22, 2010
    Stratadrake
    The story of the Nativity is not strictly related, but Joseph hesitated to wed Mary because as she had become already pregnant. An angel from Heaven had to step in and tell him it was okay.
  • October 22, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip: Danny proposes to Jordan, while she's giving birth IIRC.
  • October 22, 2010
    rodneyAnonymous
    Honorable -> Dutiful?
  • October 22, 2010
    Pickly
    • Grover Cleveland did something roughly similar in real life. (He didn't marry the person, but did provide child support like money, even though he was only one of many possible fathers.)
  • October 22, 2010
    foxley
    In A Woman Of Substance, Blackie tells Emma to list him as the father of her child on the birth certificate when she refuses to name the real father, so the child will not have the shame of having the father listed as unknown.
  • October 22, 2010
    fawn
    • Strongly implied in, of all things, Lady And The Tramp. After Tramp spends the night alone with Lady, Jock and Trusty discuss proposing to her to protect her honor.
  • October 23, 2010
    henke37
    Joy does an unhonorable marriage in My Name Is Earl.
  • October 23, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Friends: Joey proposes to Rachel shortly after she has Ross's baby.
  • October 24, 2010
    GateauDesPommes
    Oops, sorry about that, foxley.
  • October 24, 2010
    GateauDesPommes
    ^ Not foxley, fawn. Sorry.
  • October 24, 2010
    AThousandWinds
    Sam Clay proposes to Rosa Saks for this reason in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. She's pregnant with his cousin Joe's child, Joe has gone off to war and probably isn't coming back, and he's gay and heartbroken as he's just split up with his lover.
  • November 1, 2010
    amitraday
    Happens in the Naruto Fanfiction Teamwork.
  • November 2, 2010
    Medinoc
    In Emile Zola's book La Curee (The Kill), Aristide Saccard uses this ploy to marry a rich girl.

    (Edit: Damn accents)
  • November 2, 2010
    Nate The Great
    No, Joey doesn't. He just happened to be kneeling near her holding an engagement ring. Honest mistake, really!
  • November 2, 2010
    randomsurfer
    ^That's that scene in the hospital maternity ward, yeah; but doesn't he propose "for real" a little later? I could be wrong; maybe he only considers it.
  • November 2, 2010
    pitman
    Wasn't there an episode of Scrubs with this (season 7-8 I believe), I can't really remember at the moment.
  • November 3, 2010
    johnnye
    If we can sort out the details of the Friends and Scrubs examples, I'll launch this.
  • November 3, 2010
    CrowTR0bot
    Admiral Cole is implied to do this in Halo: Evolutions for his first marriage.
  • November 3, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    Actually, Joey proposes to Phoebe when everyone thinks that she's the one that's pregnant. Once they find out it's really Rachel, he promptly asks the ring back from Phoebe so he could propose to Rachel.
  • November 3, 2010
    Unknown Troper
    In 3rd Rock from the Sun, Don does this to Sally after he sees her trying on maternity clothes with a group of pregnant women. Subverted somewhat, as she never was pregnant to begin with, which she ends up telling him after he proposes.
  • November 3, 2010
    solfieri
    In the novel The Lady and the Unicorn, by Tracy Chevalier (same from Girl With A Pearl Earring), set in the late Middle Ages, Philip marries Aleinor after she gets pregnant from another guy, to help her escape from an arranged marriage to yet another man.
  • November 3, 2010
    PaleHorse87
    Unknown Troper 187.113.220.185 has it right. Made funnier by the fact that Phoebe gleefully accepted Joey's proposal, then seems upset when Joey says he needs the ring back.
  • November 4, 2010
    randomsurfer
    Well, in the hospital scene Rachel still accepts even if Joey doesn't mean to propose.
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