What is the ideal age for a lady to get married? (1)
- Is there an ideal age for marriage? Is there a deadline, especially for the female gender?
Considering the increased spate of child marriages and its attendant emergency adulthood, one cannot but wonder when exactly a girl child should sign the.dotted lines; whether she does so voluntarily or she is forced.
“I think you should find someone suitable once you clock 25” says Mrs. Yinka Adu, the medical director of Adams Clinic & Maternity Home, Alagbole, Akute. Her reasons are fundamental, bothering on the safest time for procreation and motherhood but not everyone would subscribe to her opinion.
A mother once came into her 22 year-old daughter’s room and engaged her in a thorough lecture on why she should prepare to leave for her husband’s house soon.
"You’ve got to raise your own home. At least, I have tried my best in providing you with some measure of education. You already have your Ordinary National Diploma (OND). I see no reason why your man cannot take off from there and see to it that you graduate as a Master’s degree holder. If truly he loves you, then he should be willing to pay the price” narrated Mrs. Chioma Ozor a widow/mother of five children, of whom Rita is first.
“But Mum, I can’t. I can’t be a liability to any man just because he wants to marry me. I prefer to struggle and have my degree before marriage. You know too well that Charles has just finished his Youth Service Corps and is in dire need of a job. Where do you expect him to get the money for a wedding ceremony now, not to talk of financing my education? Moreover, I’m just too young to be a mother. I can’t shoulder that responsibility now” argued Rita.
Halimat is of the same age with Rita. She too has bagged her OND certificate but unlike Rita, Halimat recently confided in a friend, “if only I can find a man who truly loves me, I’ll be too glad to settle down as a wife and mother. I feel miserable staying single at this stage of my life. I just have to get a man, I must find him and have him at all cost.” Her confidant, Yemi could not help but shudder at her desperation. But for the fact that she has always known Halimat to be morally upright lady, she would have concluded that Halimat was too cheap and unchaste.
The truth of the matter is that modern civilization has altered a lot of things, tradition inclusive. There was a time when girls were given out in marriage from between the ages eight and ten.
Consider the position of some Ivorien families who enforce early marriage. Their argument, according to research is hinged on the fact that, “Forcing girls to marry at such ages protects them from immorality, strengthens clan relationships and honours Islam. If a girl does not marry at an early age, she will sleep with many men; hence nobody would want to marry her later. But early marriage keeps girls form such wild adventures.”
To buttress this, one school of thought on Islamic issues holds that, “Islam does not encourage female children stay long at home because Islam frowns at promiscuity. Going by the teaching of Prophet Mohammed. “If a female child reaches puberty or starts menstruating, she is only allowed to have her 1st and 2nd menses in her father’s house. The 3rd must meet her in her husband’s house.”
This perhaps explains why even today, some men, regardless of their towering image, status and education still subscribe to giving out their teenage daughters in marriage or even taking such as third or fourth wife.