Teenage Marriage Essay

This essay has a total of 1513 words and 6 pages.

Teenage Marriage

What is marriage? Marriage is "the institution whereby men and women are joined in a
special kind of social and legal dependence for the purpose of founding and maintaining a
family" (Marriage 729). The fact is, marriage, to most of society, is something much more
than that. To some, marriage is the uniting of their souls; to others, it is merely an
escape from their fear, their pain, and their agony. The sad truth about it is that many
of those marriages will end in divorce. So how do couples know if what they have will last
forever? It is impossible to know for sure. No one can tell them that they definitely have
what it takes to make a marriage last. Marriage is about compromise and understanding. It
is also about give and take. If one party in the marriage is unwilling to give, and only
takes, the marriage will be short lived.

Statistics show that in 1998, 2,256,000 couples became married, and 1,135,000 couples
became divorced (Fast 1,2). For every two couples getting married, there is one that is
getting divorced. In fact, half of ALL marriages end in divorce (Ayer 41). That is a sad
reality to face. Those percentage rates increase as the age of the participant's decrease.
It seems these days, fewer and fewer teens between the ages of 14 and 18 are getting
married. This is a change for the better. Teens are usually not prepared for marriage.
Marriage comes with many responsibilities; most of which teens are not prepared to handle.
"Early marriage, though possessing certain inherent dangers, is widely practiced in
contemporary America" (Teenage 1). Even if teens feel they have the potential for a
lasting marriage, they should still wait to become married.

One of many arguments against this is that if the teens feel they are "destined" to be
together and they wait to become married, there is a strong potential for pregnancy before
marriage. However, just because teens wait to become married does not mean that they wait
to share the privileges that married couples share. Today, sex before marriage is widely
practiced. Many couples, who are not even considering marriage, have sex. Chances are that
if a teen couple is thinking about marriage, they probably have already had intercourse.
Allowing the teens to become married would only encourage sex before they are fully
prepared to handle the responsibilities that come along with it, such as pregnancy.

Some may argue that if teens feel they have the potential for a lasting marriage, they
should not have to wait; however, just because the teens think they have what it takes,
does not mean they actually have what it takes. They really do not know what it takes to
make a marriage last. The only thing they know is what they have seen, i.e. in their
parents' marriages. Sadly, that seems like a bad place to look for an influence, as so
many marriages today are failing. It is unlikely that they will receive useful information
out of an unsuccessful marriage. Today, "married couples are so busy managing their
marital lives that they tend to eliminate all the fun of being together" (Holt 1). Teens
will not be able to know what is needed to make a marriage work until they have a glimpse
of what marriage is really all about. Statistics show that if a seventeen-year old girl
waits two years before marrying, it can cut her chances of becoming divorced in half (Ayer
52). Teens need to wait and see if they can grow with one another. If they can learn to do
that, they are on the pathway to finding a happy marriage. After all, "change yourself and
your partner will change" (Tobin 2).

Others may still have the old fashion beliefs. They feel that just cause for teens to get
married would be if the teen was already pregnant. They see it as the right choice to
make. They feel that the baby should have a chance to grow up in a caring household with a
loving mother and father. The problem with this is that if the teens are not strong enough
to work out even the littlest of problems, such as changing the baby's diaper, the child
will be raised in a household filled with anger. If the teens can not even take care of
the little problems, they will not be able to take care of the bigger ones that come along
with raising a child, such as affording a house or paying for medical bills.

Still, there are a few who would argue that if the teens come from an abusive home, it is
just enough for them to marry to escape from home. They feel that if it is dangerous for
the teen at home, it is wise and safe for the teen to marry. It is all summed up with
this, "Perhaps the worst mistake of all is to marry simply to get away from an unpleasant
situation at home" (Teenage 1). That says it all. Teens are not ready for the
responsibilities of marriage, and if they are thrown into a marriage simply to leave their
home, the marriage is most likely doomed. The teens are in a vulnerable time in their life
as it is, and to put this kind of strain on them is only setting them up for failure.

Teens who marry young are missing out on some of the most important years of their lives,
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