Too Young to Marry? That’s the name of the newest pilot geared towards Oxygen’s young female demographic. The dramatic docu-series is set to premiere in February and follows resolute teens as they endeavor to walk down the aisle. Highlighted obstacles to their union range from parental estrangement to financial threats as well as admonition from siblings and friends. The project traces these young lovers’ battle to prove that age is an extraneous factor to true love.
This series will likely join the bevy of low-brow reality TV shows on my guilty pleasure list. However, I think that the premise of this particular show deviates from the base nature of other shows because it actually poses a legitimate cultural question: What age is too young to get married?
I took to social media to gather opinions on the issue.
Some believed that the law precluded them from marrying under a certain age. Kiana, 20, says, "under 18" is too young.
“If you’re under 18, where are your parents? If you’re under 21, you can’t even have champagne at the wedding....legally”, Shiesha, 20, says.
Beyond the dynamics of law, there is the question of maturity. It’s a matter of “not having enough experience," says Marcus, 20. 21-year-old London backs this notion. She argues that “any age under 25” is too young, and says she’s known “a lot of people that got divorced due to young age”.
OK, so what is a reasonable age then?
“I think 25 or 26 is a good cutoff. You have a good understanding of who you are, if you’re responsible you should be stable," says Shiesha, 20. "Also, you would have had the chance to meet and date various types of people and see what you like and want in a relationship.”
Tyler, 20, also stresses the gravity of marriage and the need to explore other venues before committing. She argues that people “need time to explore even after college. Marriage is a huge responsibility so it shouldn’t be taken lightly”.
Does wisdom come with age? “Till death do us part can be a very long time...date, live your life, and then be as sure as you can that this is the one you really want to spend the rest of your life with," says Al, 61.
There is also the argument that the habits and personalities of young people are in such flux that it would be unwise to make such permanent choices. “18, 19, that range is [too young], because you don’t know yourself," says Wayne, 30. "You haven’t lived life, you haven’t experienced things to know what you want. As people grow, sometimes they grow apart and that can lead to divorce.”
Still, there is the other side of the argument: Women are on a biological time limit. Emily, 20, says marriage should be entered into “before 30...because fertility rates decrease in half.”
For some, age is not so much as a factor as the expectations you bring with the commitment. Sabrina, 21, says, “I feel it depends on what you expect from your marriage. If you want someone to grow with from a younger age or if you want someone who fits into what you see yourself becoming in the future”.
Simply? It's maturity over age — but that's no revelation. It all boils down to knowing yourself, knowing what you want out of the partnership, and realizing that it is truly for better or for worse.