Social Question

Spinel's avatar

What are your thoughts on a sixteen year old girl getting married?

Asked by Spinel (3220points) January 9th, 2010

I just found out last night that my youngest cousin – who I haven’t seen in about five years – is getting married when she turns sixteen (three months away). So, this got my brain wheels turning…

How to you feel about teen marriages? The good, the bad and the ugly? Inappropriate or just fine?

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68 Answers

faye's avatar

I think it is too young. People change so much by 25, even by 21.

SarasWhimsy's avatar

I think it’s a horrible idea! If I had married my boyfriend from that age my life would be a shambles! It’s way too young to know what you want for the rest of your life. Similar to what @faye said, people change between 16 and 18 even!

john65pennington's avatar

I can’t hardly say anything, since this is the age my mother married my dad. they were married for 52 years to each other.

holden's avatar

I think it’s moronic.

toomuchcoffee911's avatar

Too young. Way too young.

dpworkin's avatar

A 16 year old’s brain is not fully formed, and they are not capable of making this sort of decision on their own. Perhaps, in certain cultures, an arranged marriage at 16 would be OK.

Siren's avatar

I think probably too young, but I guess everyone’s different. However, the question may next be: how young is too young to get divorced?

jamielynn2328's avatar

I became engaged when I was 17. Thank God it didn’t work out because if I had gone through with it, I can guarantee I would have a divorce under my belt. I was a child. Children should not get married.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

Where I live in Canada, I don’t think that most 16 year olds are even ready for marriage. Actually, I can’t even think of one who is. So, I’m going to go with “It’s too young”, at least where I live. I’m 19 years old and I’m still not even ready for marriage.

AnnieB's avatar

I was 16, my ex husband was 19 when we got married….we were together for 19 years (not a solid 19 years) there were a lot of problems…A LOT of problems!!!

A 16 year old isn’t done growing up yet….she hasn’t finished school, or learned what it is to fend for herself yet…

16 is too young!!!

dutchbrossis's avatar

Most of the time it may not work. I wouldn’t say it is impossible for it to work though. I believe it is okay if they are mature and really believe they will stay with each other and have talked about what will be happening later in life. If they know what happens that is. One of my best friends got married when she was 17, still with him and she is 52 now.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’d have to say “too young”, even though both of my grandmothers married at about that age, one at 16, the other at 17. Both had long, happy marriages. It can work but the odds are against it in todays world.

marinelife's avatar

I think it is an absolutely awful idea.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

In these times, in the USA then I think a 16yr old is far too socially immature. Few kids are raised with much family involvement other than parents so there are few examples of relationships to watch (much less finding a healthy one) and then few families think it’s important to teach relationship/marriage skills as if the want of marrying is so outmoded no one will bother to pursue it any longer.

lonelydragon's avatar

I think it depends on a person’s level of maturity and life experience. It’s possible for a 16 year old to have life experience, hence the reason that a lot of us have reported young marriages among our grandparents. In their time, life was harder, and so people matured more quickly. They had enough life experience to create successful marriages. Modern society doesn’t prepare young people to marry and support a family at age 16. So young marriages are unlikely to thrive in this day and time (although it’s not impossible).

poisonedantidote's avatar

personally, its not for me. too young. but its their life and their choice and i would wish them the best of luck.

DominicX's avatar

I’d say: what is this? Utah?

No, but seriously, I think it’s horribly old-fashioned. In the days when this was more common, people didn’t live very long. Well, that’s not the case anymore, so time to move out of the mid-2nd millennium.

Of course, as with all things, I hate absolutes. So I’m not going to say “every time a 16 year old gets married it won’t work”. I agree with @lonelydragon on this one. It’s possible, but unlikely. And I think sometimes when girls are married that young it’s because their parents or society is compelling them to, rather than it being because she’s so in love. Also, $20 says the person she’s marrying is more than twice her age…

Darwin's avatar

The odds of a marriage involving a 16 yo girl being successful long-term is quite slim. Often the partner is also young, or has been poorly chosen, or has a specific preference for very young women and will move on when she gets too old for him.

In this day and age, where two-job families are the norm, and a decent income is generally granted only to those who have college degrees or technical skills of some sort, getting married at 16 often means a life of poverty or struggle because marriage and higher education often don’t go well together.

My grandmother married a man who was 30 when she was 16, largely because she lived in a terribly strict Presbyterian household and was tired of childcare (she was the oldest of 11 at the time, and later the oldest of 12). Yes, her marriage lasted, but that was because the pair had only one child and shipped him off to boarding school, so she could continue in the role of Daddy’s Little Girl. It was also because in those days only “fast” or immoral people divorced, and also, since my grandmother had no skills that would make her employable, there was nowhere for her to go.

My cousin, several generations later, married at 16 and lived with her husband, an unemployed alcoholic house painter aged 46, in her bedroom at her mom’s house. By 19 she had realized that her life wasn’t going anywhere and that whatever little progress she made was being soaked up by bottles of booze, so she divorced.

Fortunately for her, her grandparents died about that time and left their considerable fortune to her parents. Her grandfather had owned a string of “shoppers,” those Penny-Saver-like lists of want ads, and a number of small town newspapers, and made lots of money with them. He made even more when he sold them. She was able to be supported by that money until she got her GED, got through college, got a good job, and eventually married a man her age.

I am skeptical that this marriage will turn out well, but I would always love to be pleasantly surprised. Several of my daughter’s classmates married as early as age 14. She is now a senior in high school, and we see the girls at various athletic events, pushing strollers and looking lonely and depressed.

CaptainHarley's avatar

It’s virtually impossible to say without knowing more about the individuals and their backgrounds and support systems. Statistically, the chances of a marriage surviving drop off steeply when the parties are below the age of 25, and get steadily worse as the ages drop. In this society, most 16 year olds are immature to a significant degree, thus affecting the statistics. Perhaps your cousin is the exception, but I cannot surmise about that, knowing nothing about her or her prospective husband. All I can say is that the odds are against her.

cornbird's avatar

I dont feel she should be married, she is too young for that kind of responsibility.

Spinel's avatar

@CaptainHarley My cousin lives with her mother only. Her mother is one of those, “I’m never getting old” characters and is not very responsible (to say it nicely). Naturally, my cousin was forced to mature early. It still doesn’t set right with me, though.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I suspect that one of the reasons your cousin wants to get married is to get away from home. Of all the reasons to get married, this is one of the worst.

nikipedia's avatar

I agree the marriage probably won’t last, but I don’t think I would judge her for giving it a shot.

What’s the WORST POSSIBLE THING THAT COULD HAPPEN? She’ll get divorced. At that age, without assets, it’s two signatures and a couple hundred bucks.

@CaptainHarley: Frankly, I think that’s a damn good reason. If she needs to get out of her house and this is the only way she sees out, I say godspeed.

fundevogel's avatar

I think it’s important to point out that just because a marriage lasts doesn’t make it successful. My grandfather cheated on my grandmother with her sister and didn’t bother hiding it. They were married until he died, close to fifty years. The fact that the marriage lasted was hardly an indication of success. My grandparents were more codependent than loving.

So lets not assume the duration of a marriage describes its quality.

AnonymousWoman's avatar

@fundevogel You make a very good point.

CaptainHarley's avatar

@nikipedia It’s an AWFUL reason! More along the lines of, “Out of the frying pan, into the fire!”

nikipedia's avatar

@CaptainHarley: Why are you assuming she’ll be in a worse situation if she gets married? It seems entirely reasonable to me that someone living with parents who are abusive, negligent, and/or volatile could marry someone and move away into a situation that, while not ideal, at least doesn’t involve abuse.

dutchbrossis's avatar

@nikipedia Could very possibly be an ideal situation for her also. We don’t know that for sure.

CaptainHarley's avatar


Perhaps because I’ve seen that happen too many times with horrific results. Yes, sometimes it works against all odds, but generally speaking it’s “better the devil you know than the one you don’t.” All too many young women wind up being either abused or deserted by some miserable excuse of a man, after getting pregnant and with no support system and no way to go back home.

Trillian's avatar

How is it even legal for a 16 year old to get married? Not only no, HELL NO.

dutchbrossis's avatar

I know in some places you can get married at 16 with parental consent. I am not sure about if there are places to get married legally without.

Dr_Lawrence's avatar

In certain polygamous sects, children younger that are “married” to men often old enough to be their grandfathers. This appalls me. Sixteen year-old humans are not even fully physically mature let alone adults in the psychological sense. Even where pregnancy is the motivation, the decision to marry is not to be encouraged. If the couple truly loves each other five years later, that choice will still be available.

daemonelson's avatar

As far as I’m aware, the act of getting married doesn’t actually ‘do’ anything.

I have no issue with it as long as it’s her choice, and this isn’t one of those ridiculous religious “YOU MUST GET MARRIED AS A TEENAGER AND PUMP OUT THOUSANDS OF RELIGIOUS MEGA-SPAWNS! RAWR!” things.

They happen a bit around here. It’s quite sad.

fundevogel's avatar

I hadn’t even considered the religious angle. That just makes it worse if she’s getting married because she’s savin’ it marriage, but doesn’t want to save it for long.

DrMC's avatar

16 year old, bad bad Idea.I would have had 10 marriages if I did it that way.

Still married to my first wife after 18 years. I waited until I was 28.

Any problem with waiting even one year? – A long engagement might be a very very good investment for this situation.

Divorce, and separation of kids punishes not only the impulsive, the children need to be considered. Of course in America, what rights of children? – In utero, abort, ex utero neglect.

Party on Dudes.

daemonelson's avatar

@DrMC Statistically speaking, getting married from 28 or onwards drastically reduces your chances of divorcing. Kudos on dodging statistics.

DrMC's avatar

Yuppers, both me and the wifey were paranoid about those statistics. For most of her life she had no interest in marriage, and was just too damn busy.

fundevogel's avatar

@DrMC at least we don’t eat our kids.

DrMC's avatar

- um some do

Is it any different than

Yummy. All protein anyway.

I just happen to think that the margin for life, human life, is when it’s alive. Pretty simple from a scientific view.

I also think that if Aborticide is OK – human life that is not thinking the way you think it should, then what about legality to other protected forms of human life. Seems we have a nasty double standard to me. That’s OK though we want the united socialist states of Amerika. Consensual infanticide sets the groundwork for the democrat’s final solution.

I hope you all are getting the sarcasm.

borderline_blonde's avatar

I think about how stupid I was at sixteen (which I’m sure I’ll say about my current self in ten years time, as well) and I feel ridiculously grateful that I never ran away and got married to any of my high school boyfriends… because they were pretty stupid, too.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I do think a case-by-case approach is necessary it terms of judgment but, generally speaking, I don’t think a 16 year old needs to be getting married – there is no reason a marriage is necessary in their life at that point (I can see situations like mentioned above where, if this gets the person out of an abusive home, fine but there should be other alternatives)

fundevogel's avatar

@DrMC None are those are about parents eating their offspring. The second one isn’t even about eating anything.

This really isn’t a thread about abortion and so on, so considering what a can of worms that is I’m not really up for talking about it here.

Merriment's avatar

While I think it is horrid for someone that young to be getting married, I can think of more horrid things.

By this I mean when someone is getting married that young these days it is fair to suspect that there is a least a bit of escape from their home life involved.

Is it the ideal solution to a difficult home life? No. Is it sometimes better than the alternative? Yes.

Even though marriage that young is likely to be fraught with struggles it does get the young person out from under the thumb of a dysfunctional parent.

Where this “escape” usually backfires is when the 16 year old turns around and has a child of their own before they have A. Grown up and B. Learned how not to do what was done to them. And so the cycle continues.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

16-year-olds in the 21st Century have a lot more options (and a much longer life expectancy!) than 16-year-olds of 100 years ago. So I think it’s smarter to wait longer, develop longer, and grow into one’s adulthood before making a choice like that.

I know that it works for some, and I’ll hope for the best for your cousin, but as a rule I think it’s a bad idea.

DarlingRhadamanthus's avatar

Marriage is hard enough between people over 40.

Sixteen?! It should be outlawed. You haven’t even started living.

DrMC's avatar

funde – you brought up the eating the young. Hard to restrain my zeal for cannibalism though. If infanticide is legal, we should then go all the way. (just kidding I hope you know)

(we won’t) – I’m just sick of pious democrats. Sorry if you are one. Try the zinfindel with the fetus tartar though, or a little chianti. ; )

I think the point here is that children are the victims of our society. We do a shitty job of parenting if you look at our acedemic performance in state run schools. Allowing a child to marry perpetuates the cycle.

It is not the role of the nanny state to breed comon sense. If the parents dont buck up, then we’ll be walking 50 miles to do one mile of work.

Shitty nuclear families = shitty growth experiences = shitty productivity.

Enjoy the cooking on the commune. A little chianti?

nikipedia's avatar

@DrMC: What the f are you talking about?

DrMC's avatar

”@DrMC at least we don’t eat our kids.” per fundevogel -

gave references where, actually humans are engaging in cannibalism in china, then the comparison to the use of fetal tissue from abortions as an abstract form of cannibalism.

The digression is this.
Start a marriage with poor odds – children suffer
Our society is not really protecting children ie
– disruption of the nuclear family
– poor protection of early life (abortion) – life begins when life begins – duh. That’s a scientific point of view.

This choice where I child irresponsibly assumes adult rights, and society pays, but worse the child pays…

Seen it all too often. Hate it.

this is not me, just a meme theme.

Start protecting the nuclear family with responsibility, primary placed on the parents, secondarily on society, and finally on the meme of entitlementalism (I gots my rights to welfare) etc.

Sorry I f ing digress, but sometimes it’s good to go off on a tangent.

Damn, shoulda read that guys full post it’s negative

like this one though:

nikipedia's avatar

@DrMC: I believe you have been misled by an internet rumor. See here: Snopes on cannibalism in China.

That said, you are making a series of logical leaps. Not all marriages lead to children. Not all nuclear families are good for children, and not all non-nuclear families are bad for children.

Finally, how exactly does a parent aborting a fetus lead to… society paying? (This is your argument, yes?) Isn’t society more likely to “pay” for an unwanted child….?

DrMC's avatar

Niki, I would counter assert that the use of fetal tissue is consumption.

From a pragmatic standpoint, it’s just protien, as is the tissue of the numerous people I disagree with – but there are moral and legal implication with those forms of consumption.

And the proverbial right to choice question. The leap you are making is one I did not. Fetacide reduces societal cost, and was the actual intention of the initiators of the abortion movement, who reportedly sought to limit welfare births.

My overall point for this theme – is the parents are primarily responsible, the children will be the victims, society will be the victims.

the united collective of ameriKa sucKs at raising children, and the cause is abuse of redistribution of wealth (good gone bad).

the thing on canibalism was first grab on google – it’s juicy, but could be wrong. I don’t think it alters the argument.

marriage at age 16 is unethical under 95% of circumstances, and I have outlined why, and only Obama would disagree.

DrMC's avatar

BTW, I just great answered those who disagreed with me, I need to clarify my line of reason. There was a method to my madness, but alas it still is madness


nikipedia's avatar

You can assert whatever you want, but I did not actually touch on your self-described madness wrt eating babies except to point out that your cited example is not, in fact, true.

Your argument seems to be all over the place, and you are not connecting any of the dots. You are making blanket and insulting judgments and in so doing preventing any possibility of a meaningful discussion.

You are entirely within your rights to do this in this community, but it’s unpleasant and unwelcome, and personally I sure wish you would stop.

DrMC's avatar

OK niki, struck a nerve did I? Sorry. I enjoy a good flame on occasion. I’m giving you a great answer.

By the way, what is your position on the above issues?
Just for curiosity sake (cowering in fear)

nikipedia's avatar

My position, as a scientist, is that nonviable embryonic tissue is an extremely important resource with the potential to save or improve the lives of a virtually infinite number of people as our population grows. Like all scientific research, it needs to be carefully monitored and performed as ethically as possible. The perspective of you and people like yourself may be helpful in developing ethical guidelines. (Then again, it may not.)

DrMC's avatar

LOL, that’s different than I thought.

Research on embryonic tissue is very cool. I also recognize that what is expedient might need to be done even if unethical. There is more than carefull monitoring needed. Our world’s society is still climbing out of the ethical ramifications of governent sanctioned genocide. Our legal science has yet to pull its head out of its ass, as a society our reseach capabilty has exploded past ethical science. we are ill equiped, which is why the catholic church, and others are united. Where are the arguments of the philosophers when you need them?

We certainly dont need another teaparty deciding the intricacies of your research anymore than a few corrupt politicians ramming out a flawed medical reform law deciding how many people I should see.

I have become staunchly anti democrat lately. I would however try to avoid simplifying my POV to those of a standard tea partyer. I will try to do the same for you, which aparently I did.

I was worried I pissed you off because you had an abortion.

My desire long term is to get passed the ingroup mentality that prevails.

nikipedia's avatar

I have not had an abortion, but I have only chance to thank for that. I have had plenty of sex during times in my life when it would have been difficult or impossible for me to raise a child, and no contraceptive is 100%.

The decision to abort a fetus is not one made lightly and I have only sympathy for people forced into that difficult position. Judging, insulting, and disdaining them strikes me as exceptionally cruel. This is why I reacted so strongly to your quips.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

If she were at all mentally mature, she would be ok with waiting a few more years. What’s the hurry? The fact that she’s rushing into marriage at the age of 16 shows me she’s immature. What’s divorce rates these days anyway? Around 50%? What do you think the odds are that a 16 yr old will stay married? The odds aren’t exactly in her favor.

DrMC's avatar

ah, that’s what I thought. I’ve moved in my older years to abortion is unethical. Expediency is another question. You have to take responsibility.

I took a class called “the philosophy of ethics” in college. I tried to defend abortion, and got a bad grade. Throughout my life I have pondered it.

I think there is no easy way to say – life, is life, and human is human. ova and sperm are tissue. fertilized ovum is technically alive.

I know of know upstanding legal precident sanctioning termination of human life, unless it has engaged in very very bad crimes.

What crime of the fetus.

Aborticide is merely expedient. To give a woman the option is cruel.

Imaging If I were to give you 100 million, if you let me take your grandmothers life early to use her for research. How many people would agree to this?

As a society our technology exceeds our ethical capabilities.

We can do abortions, but in the same breath we should not pretend we are any different than those carrying out mass euthansia during world war 2

avvooooooo's avatar

I think its not possible for the vast majority of people to make a life decision like that at 16 and have it be a decent one. Its as simple as that for me.

Trance24's avatar

I think that we focus on getting married way to much, at least in America. I love the thought of marriage and being with the one I love the rest of my life, but I am 19 years old and I am not ready to be married. I have been with my boy friend for 4 years in April I love him to death, but I would not marry him right now. I think it is better to just be with the person first, thats what it is all about anyways how much you enjoy being with the person. Not the ring on your finger or the piece of paper that makes it legal.

mattbrowne's avatar

In modern western societies? An extremely bad idea.

lonelydragon's avatar

@fundevogel Good point about duration vs. quality. I did not mean to say that all long marriages are good ones. My parents have been married for 30 years and they are like roommates. But, in general, I’ve met more happy older married couples than unhappy, co-dependent ones such as you describe. Not all long marriages are happy, but in general, I think most unhappy couples would choose divorce over sticking it out for the long haul.

fundevogel's avatar

@lonelydragon I wasn’t pointing the finger at any one in particular. It just seems like there’s a tendency for people to presume other people’s marriages are good when they last a long time—without any other insight to the marriage. It isn’t a good assumption, especially since most people don’t feel like airing their marriage troubles.

Adagio's avatar

I’m having trouble deciding whether this thread is about marriage at the age of 16 or abortion?

fundevogel's avatar

@Adagio Well this one is definitely about abortion. This one may have fizzled out a bit since everyone already agrees it’s just a bad idea to get married that young.

DrMC's avatar

I moved the abortion stuff, to burn out the energies in an on topic forum. I tried to keep out of it, but posed it as a challenge to liberals. They effectively displayed their capacity for divisiveness, I look at it a little differently now, and lowered my expectations for the future for likely hood of competent debate.

the debate turned into a typical conservative versus liberal slap down.

the hard-cores did a good job of it, but I realize now, it’s silly to waste energy on it at this point, given the POV and capacity of a vocal minority.

dutchbrossis's avatar

@Adagio Whatever the question is about is what the thread is actually supposed to be about.
@fundevogel I don’t think it is all that bad of an idea, I believe it is possible that it can work just as much as an adult in these days

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