“Love is a decision, it is a judgment, it is a promise. If love were only a feeling, there would be no basis for the promise to love each other forever. A feeling comes and it may go.“―Erich Fromm. With love and promises comes a life changing situation- marriage. So at what age is it appropriate to marry? Teenage marriage has become a subject that many people have disagreed on over the last few decades. Some say that teenagers are not mature enough to marry, while others argue that if a teenager truly loves someone they should get married. If love is a promise, are teenagers prepared to make a commitment to marry someone else? Even though teenage marriages have a possibility of succeeding, it should be discouraged.
Marriage is a commitment to ones spouse. It is an obligation and a promise that the couple will keep for a lifetime no matter how difficult it may be (Ayer 16). Matthew 19:6 says, "What therefore God has joined together let not man separate". For this reason, marriage is far more than a human social contract; it is a divine covenant. Marriage is a permanent commitment; it is entered into by the husband and the wife before God as a witness. Because it is ultimately God who joins the couple together, the husband and the wife vow to each other "till death do us part” (Kostenberger 5).
This view of marriage has changed over the years- husband’s and wife’s roles, the reasons for marriage, and the amount of marriages and divorces. Today, marriage is often viewed as something that is part of a society's expected behaviors and beliefs. Society believes that marriage is an experience that can be entered into and walked out of by the wedded partners at any time that they desire. So long as a given marriage relationship meets the needs of both individuals involved it is considered a beneficial experience (Kostenberger 1).
Teenage marriage was not an uncommon thing in the late 1950s. According to David Popenoe, co-director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University, the average marrying age during that time was about 19. But a “marriage between seventeen year olds through nineteen year olds at that time would not have been described as a teenage marriage,” says David Popenoe. It was too much of a common thing to be labeled as anything but a normal marriage. The marriage of teenager was not labeled as a teenage marriage until the early 1960s. In the 1960s teenage marriage became a rarity, so people began to label the unusual occurrence (Kershaw 3). In the year 1950 9.5% of 15 to 19-year-olds were married according to the U.S. Census Bureau data, and as the years have passed the percentage has decreased. In the year 2000 the census shows that 4.5% of 15 to 19-year-olds were married, which was a drop of approximately 88% since 1950.
The amount of individuals under age twenty marrying has decreased, because the view of how adolescents should be treated has changed. Dr. Karen Sternheimer says, “We...