Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Child Marriages

I missed this NYT piece from a couple of months ago about the persistent problem of child brides in the United States.

Most of it is happening with certain cultures from other parts of the world where this is common.

In the old, old days, such marriages in this country were not unheard of, as long as the bride was at least the age of puberty.

My mother was one such example, but she lied on her marriage license she was 18. I don't think my dad knew she was only 14 until later. They were encouraged to get married by an in-law of the family. My mom's mom was horrified over the marriage, but she liked my dad, who was 23, and that, as they say, is that. There was no pregnancy involved.

They were married some 65 years, not exactly happily but they stayed together, until my dad died in 1997 at the age of 89. My mom died nearly three years later, in December of 1999.

Nowadays, this thing would not be tolerated. Somebody like my dad would be going to prison. There is not the stigma attached anymore to having a child out of wedlock. People no longer feel pressured to get married at such a young age to "give the baby a name" when there was a pregnancy involved. Young marriages (younger than 23) largely went out of style by the time I became an adult in the early 1970s--by the time I was 18 in 1973, that was about the end of it. A few of my classmates did marry young, with some of them still married, but most of these marriages didn't make it.

However, this country does have people from other countries where child marriages are allowed, and this presents problems.

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