Windows and Doors

Windows and Doors

How Young Is Too Young To Get Married?

A trend that was until recently limited to the Hasidic world, is emerging in other parts of the Jewish community. It involves the age at which people are getting married. And it translates into kids (yes, i know thta’s my bias showing) marrying younger and younger.
As recent coverage in Haaretz indicates, 17 and 18 is increasingly normal among a widening segment of the population. Personal experience tells me that the trend is not only limited to the so-called “hill top youth” moving into illegal settlements. The trend includes college-bound 18 and 19 year olds marrying while in school and/or the army. the point is, this is not just the “fringe”.
But are they right? Are they too young to make this decision or are they simply ready earlier than their parents were to do so? Could it be that they think they are ready to make such a significant decison because they live in a culture in which personal decision making is increasingly undervalued and so for them, it’s not such a “big deal” — you more or less marry who is a “good match” and as long as they are “appropriate”, it doesn’t really matter.
How much of this is related to needing an acceptable framework in which to express their sexual desires?
How do we decide when it’s time to get married? when is young, too young?

  • R

    Depends on whether you are speaking in the religious/Biblical, or social, sense. Religiously, boys are considered to be men at age 13. Socially, no one would call a male aged 13 a man. In Biblical days, it would not have been uncommon to mamrry at age 13, 14, 15. Socially, it is not desireable for people age 17/18 to get married.

  • Your Name

    The correct answer to ‘How OLD Must You Be To Get Married’ is 1,235,408,296,300,321 – if you’re GAY in America.

  • patrice

    Okay heres my lengthy answer:
    Its a bit choppy but its my first one!
    A big challenge to marriage is the unexpected challenges that may arise. When individuals are prepared emotionally and financially about the needs of ones future spouse and future family then there will be less unexpected challenges from within their marriage. By reducing the amount of “inner marital challenges” the challenges brought on by society, which lacks God, values, principles and morals, will be a bit easier to overcome.

  • Zvi I Weiss

    People forget that not only did the Talmud encourage [reltively] early marriage — it was fairly common in “the Old Country” not that long ago. To answer this question, one must consider what plans have been made for the future, how the couple has met, what are their aspirations, tc. Can it work? Sure. Will it work? Well, ho much preparation has been done?

  • DannoTPM

    We got married when we were 18 and are still together (32 years). Not sure what society has to do with a biblical question. There is no prohibition against it and throughout history early marriage was the norm not the exception. It might cut down on unwed motherhood, STDs and divorces if the couple grows up together and has to struggle towards a common goal.

  • Harriet B

    I would say that the dividing line is 18. No one should marry before the age of 18.

  • pagansister

    My husband and I were married at 19…we’re 3 weeks apart in age. It’s 45 years later and looking back….I’d do it again in a heart beat! Both of us finished college as married folks. Every situation is different. However, before 18 could be tricky.

  • Lucy

    I do not come from a religous community and I do not share their views on many issues. I am sure preventing premarital sexual encounters and trying to ensure large families have something to do with encouraging such youthful marriage. While there are always some exceptions, people still in their teens really are too young to marry. They need a little time to be adults on their own, to explore their personal likes and dislikes before they choose a life partner. (Again, I realize that many of these groups do not wish to encourage independent thought.)
    Generally, it is best that young people have at least a couple of years out of high school before marriage. (I have taught high school and I loved it…I miss teaching…but while I really liked my students, most of them needed time to mature.) Marriage and parenthood mean knowing how to compromise, be compassionate and teach others how to navigate this very complicated world. It takes time to develop such wisdom. How many years? Depends on the individual. But usually, eighteen-year-olds are not quite ready.

  • Your Name

    I believe that people should get married when they feel they are ready..There is no age that is right for love and commitment, but I do agree that over 18 is a wise choice…
    And, yet, there is the beauty of exploring oneself fully before being married…How can you make a commitment to another without knowing yourself very well first?…That makes you a better partner to them and makes a long, fulfilling marriage possible.
    I got married at 43, after being with my partner for 12 years…We are now going to have a child, naturally or through adoption…
    I know, trust, and care about him very much b/c I know, and trust myself, first

  • Your Name

    I agree with YOUR NAME, marriage at any age can be successful or not, depending on the couple. I married at 16 and my husband was 18. We will be married 48 years this year. I have never regretted our union for a second. However, we did everything upside down. I didn’t get to finish my degree until I was 40. But my husband,my soulmate, was and is the best thing in my life to this day. We matured together because of our commitment to each other!

  • Amy Rosenberg

    If young people get married young, the parents need to help. I think marriage at a young age solves a lot of problems for young people. Many times less than ideal people will become a part of a young person’s life. Drugs and promiscuity can ruin a young person’s life. If the young person has a love interest that is approprate, he or she will not get involved in these problems practices. Young Americans used to date a person from a young age and when a pregnancy occured, they maried. This is less honest, but not too different. And this occured during very repressive eras.

  • Leah

    My sister was 19 when she married, and her husband was 20. That was in 1997, and they have the best marriae I’ve ever seen.
    On the other hand, I was 25 when I marred a much older man in 2007, and we also have a wonderful marriage. I think it depends on the individuals involved.

  • Sean Rhoades

    This is an interesting question. I was recently trying to figure out what the bride price was set at, and I don’t believe the Torah has one set, nor does it have an age set. I know that if a man takes an unengaged damsel’s virginity, he is forced to marry her without the option of a divorce and is forced to pay fifty shekels of silver to the father as punishment. The father can, of course object to any marriage. If she is engaged to be married to another man, and shouts for help, he, the one who lies with her is to be stoned to death. This implies that marriage my have occurred well before the age of what we consider mature. This would protect the damsel from any undesired secret suitors. Then upon the time the damsel was mature, the husband would consummate the marriage, through sexual intercourse, taking her virginity. My guess is that in order to assure she was a virgin, consummation would occur very near the time after she reached puberty. We know that Jacob married Leah & Rachel when he was at least forty-seven, and I would guess they were both either in their twenties or late teens. Isaac married Rebekah when he was forty, she was a virgin, and likely in her teens. This then would make sense that a man, who had established a stable living would be desired as a husband for one’s daughter. I don’t think young boys generally married young women in those days. So, it depends then on the gender as to what age is appropriate, at least back then it did. Today it’s generally the case that American gentiles play the field in their teens, lose their virginity and find all kinds of things out the hard way, then in their twenties marry someone at about the same age, have children, and 50+% get divorced. I believe the Torah has the best laws on marriage, minus the part on divorce. I believe a divorce should be very difficult to get, no matter how rich one is. I know I went off subject a bit, but it’s been on my mind.

  • http://marriedat13 cassie jordan

    hy im 13 and i love my bf he is 17 and want to get married ……………….its no joke ….. what should i do

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