How young is too young to get married?

Regardless of the law, I strongly believe that no one under 18 should get married. I also believe that no one under 25 should get married, there’s just so much life change between 18 and 25 that I believe a marriage decision should be delayed until 25.

So, this is the opinion of a never been married Dalej42, what do the rest of you think?

I agree that almost nobody under 18 has any idea of what they are getting into and is not yet mature enough to get married. I think 25 is too high a bar. I might be able to get behind 21, although I would have some issues with the idea that the government thinks you’re mature enough at 18 to kill people with an M16 but not old enough to drink or get married.

By 25, many people have been with the SO for over 5 years (especially if they met in college). They’ve likely already been living together for several years and may even already have kids. If the age of marriage were restricted to anything over 18, I think a lot of people wouldn’t bother getting married, other than for legal reasons. And, with that, if you deny people the ability to marry, you need to somehow compensate them for not being able to get on their would-be spouse’s insurance plan, be listed as a next of kin for emergency situations, get the tax benefits that come with being married and I’m sure plenty of other things.
Why should the government (or anyone else) tell two consenting adults that they’re not allowed to get married because, based on nothing more than their age, decide they aren’t ready.

I’d sooner see all the legal/tax/insurance issues that come with being married, be the same for single people and get the government out of the marriage business altogether.

With rare exception, some teenagers under 18 can be significantly more mature than some adults in their 20s or 30s. This might be the case in some rural communities, or places with a very different non-Western culture. Still ought to be a rare exception, though.

As for marriage between 18-25, it’s absolutely reasonable. I find something rather disturbing about this Western trend of increasing the age of marriage just for the sake of increasing it, and the increasing age below which people are considered immature.

18 years old makes perfect sense. The reasons for a minor needing to get married has to be vanishingly small. I could even go for 21.

I got married at 20 (almost 21) and we celebrated our 16th anniversary last month.

If there was a law needing me to be 21, I just would have waited a month, no big deal.

Let me clarify, I don’t want a law preventing people over 18 from getting married, I just don’t think it is a good idea. I’m biased because I’ve just seen one marriage end in a horrible, bitter breakup, ages 22 and 24.

We can restrict the age to 30, and there’s going to be plenty of cases of people that got married at 30 and divorced at 32, just like there are cases of people that got married at 25 and divorced at 45.

And, to provide you with a counter example, I know a couple that got married at 15 and 18. They’re now in their 70’s, still as happy as can be, living a life of semi-retirement in Florida. Or my parents, 18 and 21. 4 kids and 40+ years later, still married.

I understand where you’re coming from, I really do, but that seems like pretty broad brush you’re using. As long as it’s just opinions you’re talking about and not actual law, I’d rather see people know/date each other for X years and maybe even live together for at least a year. To me, that’s more important than age.

I don’t think the human brain is done forming until about age 25. Nothing to cite, just my opinion.

18 I can get behind also. We still need to reconcile the legal adult / vote / drink / armed services / marriage inconsistencies somehow. Not sure how to do that.

I could see that being 19. Get the majority of people out of high school first. It would save some of the headaches involved when some seniors are 18 and the rest are 17.

I can easily get on board with no marriage below age 21. If your’e not old enough to sign any other type of legal contract, you’re not old enough to get married, right? Most companies won’t even let you rent a car below that age, much less take out a loan to buy one.

But then I reflect that I’m sure my happiest life would have been if I’d married the boy I loved at 17. So I don’t know what the right answer is or was. I do know that where ever you set the number, loopholes will be sought by those who wish to exploit young girls. So make it 21, and then protect them.

Huh? Where can’t you sign a legal contract if you’re under 21 (but 18 or older)?

Edit: I meant “***as ***a rare exception,” - my bad grammar.

Yeah, as far as I know the government considers 18 year-olds full adults (except for drinking) (which is the topic for another thread)

If we’re not talking about laws, I think people should generally not get married before the age of 25, and in many cases older. But, being free to make mistakes is what makes life so interesting.

For people who are in college and expect to graduate, I’d say that in a pragmatic sense, they’d do well to graduate and get a few years in as single people prior to getting married. Basically because two of the big expected life changes are getting out of your parents’ house (graduating high school & going to college) and then graduating college/getting a “real” job/supporting yourself. Getting married is another major life change, and one that’s frequently followed up by children, which are yet another huge life change.

I’d think that cramming graduating/getting real job, marriage and possibly kids too close together just sets people up for mid-life crises later on, when they feel like they missed their youth being married and having kids.

I mean, there’s nothing WRONG about it, and I’m sure that people pull it off all the time, but I know that for me, that period of the first 2-4 years after I graduated college were a period of a lot of growth and maturation on my own part- there wasn’t that parental parachute to fall back on, and I was on my own for everything, with no one to answer to for any of it. Knowing that I could succeed in that made me a very different potential marriage partner than had I got married in school or very soon after.


My parents were married when they were both 18. They had two kids and stayed married for 51 years, until death did they part. We had a solid, supportive family. My brother and his wife got married at 19. They’ve been together for 40 years and have three kids and several grandchildren. I don’t believe in restricting marriage to a certain age, as marriages undertaken in your teen years can turn out OK, at least in my family.

I think if you’re old enough to buy a house, you’re old enough to [del]buy[/del] marry a spouse. Eighteen it is.

The REASON the government prefers to draft 18 year-olds instead of 21 year-olds is exactly that: they are NOT mature and they have bad judgment. This is what you want in grunts. If it was about the ideal physical shape, 22-24 year-olds would be better.

Ideally, not before 30. 27 if you’re in some kind of rush.

There are numerous studies suggesting that premarital counselling can lead to lower divorce rates. Well, I got lots of hits when I googled it, I don’t know if they’re the same study being cited by different groups or not.

Do most 18 year olds have the time, finances or inclination to do such a thing? Hard to tell. My husband and I did pre-Cana through the Catholic organization at our college (we were just shy of 24 when we married, but had known each other for nearly 6 years). My brother and his fiancee did a similar program at their church; they were 29 and 25 at the time.

One of the key things I recall from it was that we did a lengthy questionnaire beforehand that helped show up potential areas of conflict. Obviously I have no idea what my brother’s turned up, but for us religion and dealing with in-laws was a huge thing (I was Catholic, he was Jewish; now both lapsed). I think it was useful - but not perfectly predictive: we celebrated our 36th anniversary last month and my brother and his wife didn’t quite make 25.

I guess one of the advantages of a church-based marriage is that usually some kind of counselling is required. I figure it can’t hurt anyway - and that’s regardless of age of the couple.