Allowing minors to marry?


This is hypothetical based loosely on a true situation. I have a friend whose 17 year old daughter is pregnant, the father is 16 and they have been dating a year. As of right now no one is talking about marriage, neither teens nor their parents but I was thinking this over from a Christian perspective.

Chances are slim that these two young people are going to stop engaging in sex (because they love each other and in their minds that makes it ok). We can talk about what they should do, what would be the ideal but right now I don’t see the ideal happening.

So if the teens expressed a serious interest in marrying (it is legal for 16/17 year olds to marry with parental consent in my state) do you allow them to marry, or do you forbid it knowing they almost certainly will continue to put their souls in jepordy by engaging in sex outside of marriage.

I know it sounds outrageous in our modern culture to allow teens to marry but it wasn’t that long when it the preferred choice when a child was in the picture.



If these two teens are supposed to be practicing Catholics they need to sit down with their priest to let him tell them that their being “in love” is not a license to have sex outside of marriage. And neither is getting pregnant. I suggest the talk with the priest since the parents apparently have dropped the ball or can’t make any headway with these two who have obviously been more influenced by society than by their Catholic faith.


I’ve heard from priest friends that they typically advise an already-pregnant couple to wait at least two years from the pregnancy and/or birth before getting married. This way it helps assure that their will is being freely given and they are choosing marriage out of a desire for the spouse and not whatever conveniences it might lend parenting.

I’m not sure how this would affect your question about their souls and premarital sex, but creating a potentially invalid marriage (where their wills might be impeded by saying ‘I do’ knowing there is a child involved, as they would not have been talking about marriage had the pregnancy not occurred) is not the solution, IMO.


The girl is a non-denom Christian, the boy is “Catholic” but I don’t think he’s been raised in the faith, I don’t think they attend church regularly. I know what should happen, what they should do. But looking around this society the message is it’s ok to have sex as long as you love each other. We know even adults who should know better do this all the time.

I was really speaking generally as a parent, what is the better choice? To make them wait two years knowing they are not just girlfriend/boyfriend anymore but parents who will be tied to together through this child for life. That now have to take on some very adult responsibilites.

In my head I’m thinking who the heck wants their child to marry at 16 or 17 but I also know how strong headed young love can be and there isn’t much in this society to support you in convincing these kids to wait until marriage especially after the cat is already out of the bag. Would I want to deny them permission to marry and have my child endanger their soul or allow them to marry? Generations past the automatic choice in most cases was to have them marry.


These two have been declaring their undying love for each other before the baby ever came in the picture and in this particular case I don’t either would feel they would marry “because of the baby”. Just sooner.

Nobody is talking marriage at this point. The added dynamic to this is that the pregnant teens mom did marry at 17 shortly after giving birth to her. The parents are still together and have a good marriage. I think she’d have a hard time explaining to this girl why it was ok for her but not for her daughter.

But really generally speaking is ever ok to let minors marry?


That’s a tough one. Is there anyone who can explain that if they really love eachother, they would cut out the messing around, finish school, and get into a position where they could marry when they’re older?

How is a 16 yr old boy going to support a family? —KCT


He is not…that is what the “parents” are for:D, arent they?


But would they listen? I don’t know know. The girl has been telling her mom all along she was going to wait until marriage but obviously that was not the case. The girl is going to continue to go to school, she’s a senior this year. Her parents still want her to go to (a local) college and are planning to care for the baby when she is at school. The boy is junior at a different highschool and I imagine he also will continue to complete highschool. After he graduates he was considering the military which would make it completely possible to support a family. In the mean time I’m sure both sets of parents would assist them.


Minors marrying isn’t as unusual as you’d think. There was a couple of juniors married in my High School when I graduated. When we were talking about them with a few new friends in college a girl said “Oh yeah, there were three married couples in my graduating class”. Parents would find their kids in a situation and get them married to each other.

I guess it was unusual in the sense that the whole school was talking about it, but it’s not unheard of.


I sure hope it works out for them. I’ve heard of couples who married young and it worked out. That’s great, but statistically, the chances are not good. The ones who make it are in the minority.

Ideally, I’d rather see a young couple realize love is not just sex and that real love demands sacrifice. —KCT


what part of the world do you live in that this is a common thing?


While I still wouldn’t say it’s common, I live in California. But the Central Valley, where you can find a church on every corner, and we look on San Fransico and San Diego and Santa Barbara with a wary eye, and where you can’t go a day without seeing a cow (not a moviestar!) :smiley:


Would that translate in east coast terms to the “hicks” or “boonies”?!?:smiley:


People in Los Angeles or San Francisco certainly think so!
(I’ve lived in all three places)

As for the OP’s question, yes I think it is reasonable for minors to get married. It used to be commonplace, at least in the years before 1960. Although American culture has changed in many ways since then, if a child is involved both parents still have to work out how they can be present in that child’s life. Marriage is certainly an option if they are mature enough for the responsiblity of marriage.


As someone who comes from Hickville I have to laugh! But really I rather see some of them married, then all the out of wedlock births of teens in Tennessee where mama is raising the kiddies and daughter is making more. Heck I live in the Bible Belt and by 30 they’ll be saved :rolleyes:


I think that they should either get married or give the baby up for adoption! That child has a right to have an in tact family.


it is very unlikely that the pastor would allow them to marry in the Church in this situation, since anything that “forces” them to marry, like pregnancy, could render it invalid from the start. Since in embarking on sexual relations selfishly without regard to the welfare of the expected or potential children, and of each other, indicates their immaturity, it casts further doubt on their capacity to make valid full consent to marriage and to carry out the demands of marriage.


There’s never been a marriage at my school. There’s only been one pregnancy, to a really disturbed girl who tried to kill herself, but by that time she’d already left for another school. I guess she’s doing ok now and trying to care for her child, which is good. I never see teen pregnancies around here, except in the innercity black community. My friend’s cousin in CT has many friends who have abortions at her middle school!


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