Early marriage: Causes, effects, problems, how early is too early?

Early marriage: Causes, effects, problems, how early is too early?

There are many nations and tribes worldwide for whom early marriage is a long-lasting tradition preserved throughout the centuries. It may sound terrifying, but early marriages are still popular in remote areas, and most people still practice them.

Child marriage
A photo of Imasy Lavorary carrying a baby on her back. Photo: Ahmet Izgi
Source: Getty Images

What are the causes and effects of early marriage? The immature individuals, who get married, are not always stable enough to cope with the difficulties that come with marriage. What makes people get married early, and what are the consequences?

What is early marriage?

Early marriage, often known as child marriage, is a partnership between two persons while one or both parties are under 18.

What are the causes of early marriage?

What are the consequences of early marriage? What makes people reject their own wishes and start relationships as a couple? Here are some of the major causes of early marriages in many societies.

A kind of disobedience

It is up to the youth to be influenced by modern tendencies and a desire to be like a young celebrity who has married recently. Moreover, these people feel like Romeo and Juliet, who found one love for their entire life. They escape and get married secretly, breaking the prohibitions.

Lack of sexual education and unexpected pregnancy

Young people are not always educated enough on sexual relationships and methods to avoid unplanned pregnancies.

Most countries prohibit abortions. Furthermore, they bear criminal liability under the law. To prevent legal responsibility and punishment, young people are obliged to get married, even if one of the "participants" is considered too young.

Early marriage as a tribute to ancestors

effects of early marriage
Kids seen among street alleys. Photo: Orhan Cicek
Source: Getty Images

Keeping traditions preserved is one of the primary tasks in many African countries. For example, they contract a marriage due to the customs inherent to their ancestors.


It is one of the causes which affect the lives of young girls. Their parents "sell" them into marriage to cope with debts and escape their miserable state.

Protection of the family's honour

Giving their daughter into marriage at a very early age means purity; parents keep their dignity and honour. Parents may also get their children engaged in building strong relationships between clans or powerful families.

What are the effects of early marriage in our society?

In most cases, early marriages are not good for both sides of the relationship. However, the main negative influence falls on the young girls married off at tender ages. Below are some of the major problems of child marriage.

Lack of education

In most cultures, the primary "function" of a girl or a woman is to give birth to children and run the house. Such a necessary feature as education is thought to be unnecessary for them. The girls are detached from educational establishments and are obliged to be good wives. They are forbidden to have even the slightest idea to continue studying.

Great refusal

Even if a woman is finally allowed to continue her formal education, she often faces another difficulty – a refusal to be accepted back. The only answer to her "Why?" is that she is already a wife and a mother of a child she should take care of.

Being in a trap

As a result, these girls find themselves being in a trap: on the one hand, they have to work to earn a living, but from another hand – a lack of education and necessary skills doesn't provide enough opportunities for well-paid jobs. That's why their life turns into a "circle of survival" with no beginning and no end.

Easy to contract diseases

Children who are married off are also more likely to get s*xually transmitted illnesses like HIV. Most of them are quite young and have little understanding about STIs and unexpected pregnancy, as well as how to protect themselves from such infections.

Emotional adversity

what is early marriage
A young girl stands next to the door of a house. Photo: Orhan Cicek
Source: Getty Images

From early years, families force their children to do something that contradicts their wishes and aims. The young "brides" are not given a choice and are involved in relationships without a feeling of love.

As a result, the emotional state of girls becomes slightly unstable. She is not mature enough mentally to cope with all the difficulties and questions in her mind.

They find only two ways out – commit su*cide or run away with the kids from their husbands to some distant relatives. This leads to social renunciation and shame put on her family. Moreover, they still stay face-to-face with their difficulties with no help.

Physical immaturity and health issues

It has been proved that the female body is formed only by 18 years to reproduce the offspring. An unformed body cannot provide the fetus with proper conditions and normal development. Moreover, one observes the highest mortality rate among newborns and women in families with early marriage.

No friends and loneliness

After marriage, many young girls get separated from society (especially if she moves into a new place of residence) and focus on their families and household duties.

No social support and proper medical care

The rights and needs of women are thought to be of almost no importance if compared to men's. They do not get enough medical care services, social support, and improved working conditions.

Young and physically productive

In developing countries, the problem of early marriage is followed by higher productivity. The younger a girl is, the more children she can give birth to. Also, in some tribal communities, it is a tradition to have many children.

Furthermore, some of these social structures give preference to boys as to the continuers of the family. As a result, a couple produces more children to "reach the goal". Possessing too many children is the key cause of "overpopulation" worldwide.

High level of poverty

Young people breed more children. Social conditions do not provide well-paid jobs. As a result, parents do not have enough money to make their children educated. No education means low-paid positions or no job at all. The more unemployed people, the higher the poverty level is observed within a country.

What are the best solutions to end early marriages?

problems of early marriage
A 15-year-old Christiana Volamena holding her child in her arms. Photo: Ahmet Izgi
Source: Getty Images

Girls are particularly impacted by child marriage because it frequently results from pervasive gender inequity. Below are some solutions to help us end these early marriages in our communities.

  • Provide financial assistance and incentives to girls and their families.
  • Educate and mobilise parents and people of the community.
  • Improve girls' access to a good education.
  • Put in place community mobilisation campaigns.
  • Encourage the passage of favourable legislation and policies.
  • Increase the effectiveness of poverty-reduction efforts.
  • Provide financial incentives for postponing marriage.
  • Combating discrimination and fostering gender equality.
  • Provide a safe and non-exploitative source of income.

How old are the children involved in child marriages?

Most children who marry young are younger, with most occurring between the ages of 13 and 17. Girls can be given away at the age of nine when parents are under intense pressure to marry off their daughters.

Are boys ever married off while still children?

Boys can also be married off as children; however, girls are the majority of the time. In rare cases, you will find boys being married at a younger age.

What is the difference between child marriage, early marriage and forced marriage?

A union where one or both partners are under the age of 18 are referred to as a child or early marriage. A forced marriage is one in which either one or both partners do not offer their complete and free permission regardless of age.

Marriage is a serious step that should be done voluntary and carefully planned. There should be no other reason than love and a desire to live with a beloved person for the rest of your life. Forced and early marriage is still a global problem across many countries, cultures, religions and ethnicities. It is fueled by social norms, insecurity, poverty, gender inequity, and poverty and has disastrous repercussions everywhere.

READ ALSO: Yoruba introduction ceremony list and other interesting details

Legit.ng recently published an article with information about Yoruba introduction ceremony and other fascinating details. A Yoruba introduction ceremony is the first official meeting between the bride and groom's families.

A Yoruba introduction list is an essential part of this ceremony. It contains items/gifts shared by the groom and groom's family. Any family who wants their son or daughter to marry a Yoruba, regardless of tribe, nationality, or race, should fulfil this traditional condition.

Source: Legit.ng

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