“Can I marry your teenage daughter?”

I have a few acquaintances, men in their late twenties and or early thirties, who have fallen for kids (or is it young women?) in their late teens (17 to 19-year-olds). Technically speaking these young women are adults, but to some parents, an 18-year-old is still  unfinished, and not ready to make a life commitment such as a marriage.

In my discussions with family and friends it is mainly the men who do not see anything wrong in marrying a woman in her late teens.

“I wouldn’t mind if a man in his thirties or forties were to marry my 18-year-old daughter,” One father confessed to me.

The men who are in relationships with the young women have been having a lot of resistance from the teenagers’ parents. One parent asked the man to leave their daughter alone, citing that she’s too young and still needed time to experience life and do all that she needs to do.

Another man, in his early forties riled the parents of the 19-year-old when he expressed an interest in her. The parents barred their daughter from ever talking to the man, citing the huge age difference and her immaturity. However, when the daughter protested the parents gave their daughter permission to go out with the man only when she turns 21.

On the other hand I know a couple: he was in his mid thirties and she was 19 when they married; ten years later their marriage is as solid as a rock.

A woman, who married in her mid twenties, had her take on this topic when she said: “A woman needs time to be by herself well into her mid twenties. She needs to explore life by herself and discover who she is before tying herself to someone too early.”

The same woman went on to relate how some of her friends who married too early express regret later in life of never having the independence to do what they really wanted to do with their life.

My view? I agree with parents who are skeptical when their teenagers want to get married. Generally speaking most 18 or 19 year-olds I know have no business getting married and parents have every right to discourage them from making a life commitment so early. Having said so I think it’s fair that each case be looked at independently as now and then I’ve met 18 or 19 year olds who are mature more than many a 30 year old.

Read more by Sipho Yanano

Disclaimer: The views of columnists published on Parent24 are their own and therefore do not necessarily represent the views of Parent24.

How would you feel if your teen was keen to be married?

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