How Young Is Too Young For Marriage?

He wanted to know what I thought about child marriages and the appropriate age for a child to get married. He said his 10-year-old daughter wanted to marry her 13-year-old boyfriend and he was looking for advice.

My very first thought was that this was a joke. A 10-year-old girl marrying a 13-year-old boy? I worked through the other emails I’d received that day and tried to ignore this one.

Try as I could to ignore it I kept thinking about that email and wondering why a father would even take such a request from his daughter seriously. Or did he? I wasn’t sure if he was just trying to see how much of a rise he could get out of me with such a question or if he genuinely was looking for advice.

Without anything but those few words to go on I decided that perhaps this man was a single father faced with a precocious young daughter who was doing her best to turn his world upside down by demanding the impossible. Maybe she wanted him to pay more attention to her. Maybe she was holding him responsible for his marriage failing and the fact that her mother and father were no longer together.

Whatever the reason behind this man’s question, I responded with an answer that I didn’t expect to be the only one that mattered or the completely proper response in every situation. He asked for my view and that’s what he’s got.

In my opinion, I do not believe that anyone who is not old enough to live independently is old enough to get married. In other words, if a child must depend upon a parent or another adult for his or her care and support he or she is too young to get married and start a family of his or her own.

A parent is under no obligation to give a child who is not of legal age permission to get married just because the child insists. Some states set absolute age minimums even with parental consent. So, let me add that I don’t believe that if a couple needs parental consent in order to get married that they are old enough.

Even if only one member of the couple needs consent and the other is well past legal age I personally don’t believe that the marriage should take place. In the first instance neither child has had enough life experience to be ready to make such a commitment and in the second instance the younger member hasn’t had enough life experience even if the older member of the couple has.

I wonder if that young couple is still together or if an addition year’s worth of maturity has opened their eyes to other options for their lives. I wonder if that father has learned that not every request from his daughter should be taken seriously.

Though this youngster isn’t even a teenager, I’m sure email from teens in love will increase as a result of my statements. And I do understand that if you are the teen in love, your love is different, your love is stronger, your love will survive to the end of time.

Believe me when I say that you have my sincerest wishes that your story is different than the majority and that you won’t be visiting this blog in a few years needing support to survive the loss of a love you expected to last a lifetime.