Minimum Age for Marriage

At what age should you get married?

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Comments (37)

(33) ilona, July 11, 2012 3:05 AM

Many young people begin their sexual experiences in their early teen years, this however does not mean that they aer mature enough, definitely not mature enough for the institution of marriage. I presume that the comment made on the minimum age of 25 was made regarding communities all over the country not just geared at the Jewish community. I do not agree with the age of 25 but I think that the age requirement does make some sense. L:ettting those who want to experiment with their sexuality to enter marriage as a way to avoid premarital sex is not a solution.

(32) chava, July 10, 2012 4:02 PM

new law in Israel

Israel just passed a law raising the minimum age to 18. I think the law was aimed at those families which forced younger than age 18 girls to marry older men, who would give the family a large sum of money. In these cases, the girl is often (not always) mistreated. (But she had often been mistreated at home, as well.)

Mike, November 30, 2014 9:40 PM

don't really understand

Before the law was changed, the minimum age for marriage was 18 for men and 17 for women. (I don't know but the older version of the law might have been relevant a few decades ago - times change). I don't see how that's such a big change.
I don't see how what you are describing is particularly relevant for Israeli society, and in cases where it is relevant it has to do with abusive spouses and certainly with abusive parents.

(31) Anonymous, July 3, 2012 2:48 AM

In Pursuit of our dream

To mandate or pass a law on minimum age limit for someone to marry, it brings to mind dictatorship. Too many laws, will take away responsibilities and at the same time the freedom we enjoy today. We live in a sexually permissive society, where we rarely hear about the challenges and complexities of the marriage relationship. Regardless of age, the person is ready to marry when the couple is mature enough knowing what both want and expect from each other, based on their own moral values. Do we talk about how would we want to raise our future children; can we talk openly about our finances, who is going to handle that? how will the relationship be in regard to our in-laws? Are we going to maintain a relationship with Hashem and sanctify His name in our home as Judaism required? Do we have all the extraordinary things to improve our quality of life and grow within our relationship, should we go forward with marrying each other? Am I sure this is the person I want to share the rest of my life with? Is this person respectful of my parents. Obviously, there are many elements to consider prior to tying the knot, which have nothing to do with age, but with maturity, moral values and principles. Thank you so very much Rabbi Salomon for an interesting article.

(30) Anonymous, June 27, 2012 8:10 PM

a good start

Sharing basic values is important. Values is a general term and should be clarified. Also, a person may have good values ,intellectually, but not good midot. Or personalities may clash_-for example one person may be neat , the other messy, etc.

(29) Yaakov, June 24, 2012 4:08 AM

Marry or live together outside marriage?

Young couples often live together before marriage. It is better when they marry first - regardless of their age. The 'minimum age' needs to take this into account. Mandating parental or judicial approval for early marriage may be an acceptable compromise. Early marriages may not always last for a long time, but the same thing occurs with 'living together'.

(28) Yaakov, June 24, 2012 3:21 AM

Living together unmarried is better than early marriage...

Living together unmarried is better than early marriage, because... No I can't think of a good reason. Marriage conveys certain rights and obligations. People denied the opportunity to marry WILL simply live together outside the bonds and bounds of marriage. Even in the case where a relationship breaks up after only a relatively short time, the better choice will have been made by the couple who were married early, than by those who simply elected to live together. The proper argument is surely not whether early marriage is wrong. The argument is whether it is somehow better than a relationship outside marriage. YY

(27) helen porath, June 23, 2012 9:59 AM

thinking it through

I wouldn't categorize this woman(who suggested creating the law) as particularly wise. She wouldn't dare suggest, of course, putting a minimal age on when young people should be allowed to have sexual relations. Young people start their intimate life earlier and earlier, we're told. Thus, boys or girls who start relationships when they're 14?15? are likely to have slept with several partners before the age of 25. Is this supposed to contribute to a young person's physical, emotional or spiritual health? Has this woman thought what effect a life lived like this would have, especially on a girl? And I image this woman is a Feminist!

(26) IrisB, June 22, 2012 6:35 AM

Once again Rabbi, you miss the point

The govt official who suggested a minimum age of 25 for marriage was not suggesting a fascist state, he was suggesting that people be a little more mature before undertaking a very important step in their lives. That same advocate would also suggest that with maturity, a couple would more likely delve into more important matters, such as shared values before committing to marriage. Rabbi, do you suggest that their should be NO MINIMUM AGE for marriage? When I (female) was 7 years old, I and a friend (male), also 7 agreed that when we married, we would have puppies and that Eisenhower should remain president. Since we had similar values, I guess you would say we were prepared for marriage - at the age of 7! How absurd! The age of 25 may seem a bit old for some people's liking, but certainly there should be a minimum age before people are permitted to get married. Perhaps people should prove to the govt that they are financially capable of supporting themselves before being allowed to get married. Perhaps the Rabbi would not approve of such a draconian measure, because a couple who think it is alright to be on the govt's dole share similar values and the Rabbi thinks that is all that matters.

(25) Yosef Ya'akov, June 22, 2012 3:32 AM

A valid observation leads to a dumb proposal

From what I have seen, people marrying at younger than 25 would do better having their parents choose for them rather than choosing for themselves. Even if true, this observation would be no reason for a minimum legal age of 25. Beware do-gooders who want to impose their bright ideas.

(24) Anonymous, June 22, 2012 2:17 AM

I still remember...

I remember vividly the moment 16 years ago when I knew who I was going to marry. We were sitting in my car, and I asked my then-girlfriend what she values and what is important to her. She answered: family, honouring our parents, having children and raising them with a strong jewish identity. At that moment I knew she would be my wife. I love her with all my heart and we still share all the same values.

(23) Bea, June 21, 2012 8:18 PM

Controlling is the goal! As usual...

I have witnessed many children going to school completely immature and then struggle for years to come; just because they are at "school-age", it doesn't mean they are ready for it.. I really don't think the Gov. should have a "say" on that matter. Give us a break!

(22) Anonymous, June 21, 2012 7:55 AM

I agree with some of the comments published here

Not all 18 year olds are capable of adjusting to being in a committed relationship or mature enough to understand the foundation of marriage and what it entails. People these days tend to mature later than they used to. Rushing people in their late teens or early 20's to the chuppah in order to counteract the "shidduch crisis" is a stupid and destructive maneuver that will only result short term marriages. As some of you have mentioned, people grew up in communities where the parents made all the decisions for their children and therefore the children trusted their parents judgment.Unfortunately, parents sometimes talk their children into making life decisions that are not suitable for them. I've heard stories of parents making terrible suggestions of marriage partners for their children.Parents may want whats best for their children but they must understand that their children need to make serious decisions like marriage with little interference. Only a person can determine whether he/she is emotionally and psychologically ready to get married.People shouldn't feel rushed into making lifestyle changes that they are not mature enough for and parents need to understand that. Unless your parents and in-laws plan on indefinitely supporting you, don't get married and have a family unless you've straightened out some rough edges in your life and overcome certain challenges. Its better to meticulously plan out your life in order to avoid future headache than to surrender to peer/communal pressure and regret it later on. People delay marriages for financial concerns among other things. Yes, at some point, we need to grow up and settle down but we cannot allow others to make that decision for us. Marriage is a holy institution that unifies a man and a woman, not a contest to see how soon and how many couples can provide grandchildren to their parents or who would be the ideal son/daughter in-law.

(21) Rachel, June 21, 2012 12:39 AM

A minimum age to protect children is enough

There is no compelling reason why any state should allow marriage prior to age 18, when one presumably has graduated from high school and is old enough to do military service. Wanting to pass a law requiring people to wait till 25 follows the same logic as wanting to ban soft drinks larger than 16 oz - the nanny statists want to tell us how to live. What's next, telling us how many children we're allowed to have and what we are compelled to feed them? While I appreciate what you are saying about looking for a partner with the same values, I hope you are concerned about how oppressive government is becoming and will vote against those who want to run our lives for us.

(20) Anonymous, June 20, 2012 7:04 PM

I agree that values are the most important thing when deciding to marry someone. But I do feel that there should be a miniuam age of marriage, the age that declares you an adult in the eyes of the law. Lets say 18 when you no longer need your parents consent, and should have at least graduated from high school. We don't want 12 year olds getting married just because they become a "women". There needs to be a certain level of maturity before a person can get married.

(19) SusanE, June 20, 2012 5:24 PM

To Define a Marriage

In our 21st Century world most girls develop around 12 or 13 and hormones ready their bodies for procreation. Most boys bodies are mature enough to father a child around 13 or 14. Pledging a life together for having and raising children is what a marriage is, at it's most basic form. Those are the raw facts as I know them. - - - - - In 'advanced' cultures, according to religious beliefs, the boys and girls are forbidden to act on these normal sexual functions until they are married. That can be supressing for up to 10 years. That's a long time to be chaste and wait for a certain age for marriage, it's also a long time to supress a very natural desire. I think 16 is a bit young for marriage, but I also know that long term denial is a huge detriment to having a healthy sexual marriage. I don't think the state should say a man or woman can get married before they are judged mature enough to drive a car at 16. Laws are so stupidly crafted, that I can't imagine having a law for a minimum marriage age. - - - - - - - - My friend married at 15, and 54 years later she and her husband spend all their time together, retired, happy and comfortable in each others company. My friends and I all married at 19 or before. My sister was 17 when she married and just lost her husband 2 years ago after a 48 year marriage. Six other couples who married young and we all were friends are still together. We made homes, had babies, some of us worked, we played, had parties, went on vacations together with friends. I am the only one whose marriage ended in divorce and that was after 35 years. - - - - - - - - The ONE thing I can look back at and see now with clarity, is that none of our parents interfered in our marriages or our choices. Easy or difficult, we made all our own decisions. We all shared the same values. So, starting age isn't the compass of a happy or a successful marriage.

(18) sharona, June 20, 2012 6:55 AM

Shared values is definitively very important and common goals

(17) Anonymous, June 20, 2012 3:12 AM

To high of an age

I was 19 when my husband and I were married and over 18 years later we have 6 daughters and 2 more due next month. We did a lot talking before hand and tried to decide as much as we could what we both expected and wanted from each other and our family. Our girls have also promised that they will not date until they feel old enough to marry and only then with their fathers approval. I'm very thankful for all the talking we did and still do and our girls see a difference in us vs. alot of their friends parents.

(16) Susan, June 20, 2012 2:11 AM

The frontal lobe is not fully developed until 25

I agree with the Rabbi that common values are more important than age...I also think many people are alarmed at the divorce rate and the effects divorce has on society. An article was recently published that the frontal lobe is not fully developed until 25 -- I wonder if that is why the researcher uses this number. In the past, people relied on wise parents, community and friends to help them choose....A marriage of an 18 year old who has good counsel will probably be more successful than that of an 18 year old who ":doesn't care what anyone else thinks..."

(15) Suzanne, June 20, 2012 12:05 AM

Minimum age not a bad idea

Minimum age is NOT a bad idea. 25 is ridiculous. But there are many places where 8 year old girls are being married off. Minimum ages are a safeguard against child abuse. This woman may have distorted their purpose but they are not bad in and of themselves

(14) AH, June 19, 2012 9:31 PM

Age is just a number

This is basically saying the well known idea that "age is just a number". Age is only a VERY loose guideline telling you where someone is holding (mentally). There are 40 year old babies and there are 21 year olds far more mature than 30 year olds. While age sometimes works as a guideline, it's very imprecise. But they point remains that a certain level of maturity should be reached before a person marries.

(13) Elana, June 19, 2012 7:41 PM

Most Agree

I see that most of the commentators do not agree that the age of marriage should be at 25 and above, but they do agree that some age limit is definately appropriate. I am one among those voices.

(12) Marion, June 19, 2012 5:25 PM

we already have such laws

All states have minimum ages at which one can marry, usually around 16 years of age. This is to prevent child abuse in the name of marriage and of teenagers, who are really not developmentally ready to marry to do so. The problem with this woman's idea is that the age is so high. Marriage is a religous and a civil contract.

Gem, June 19, 2012 7:10 PM

America has very low age limits

Marion, I'm afraid that most states allow young children to marry, at the age of 13, if a judge thinks it is in their interest. That is merely legalised paedophilia. In the UK you are not allowed to marry under the age of 16 (which is still too young in my opinion).

Marion, June 20, 2012 6:02 PM

the laws have changed

Please update your research. No state allows children to marry at 13. The overall average seems to be that children under 18 and over 15 need either permission from their parents or from the court to marry. There may be one or two holdouts, but that is the current state of the rules. I am familiar enough with probate and child courts to assume that most of the time the judge will not agree. It the couple already have children together, that may be an exception; coming from a very dangerous and disfunctional family of origin is another. The point I was making, is that the government already makes these rules and so to be upset at the idea that we should push the age back is specious. Of course the best thing is to share values, but what values one has also changes, for some people.

(11) Rachel, June 19, 2012 4:39 PM

25 is too high, but there should be some minimum

I only know what Rabbi Salomon relates about the original article, and the idea of limiting marriage until some arbitrary age at which people are believed to have "discovered themselves" is ridiculous. However, I can't imagine that anyone in the US would think there should be no age limit. Some states have instituted the age of 18, others may allow younger, but I don't think any US state permits marriage of persons under the age of 12 -- and in my opinion, even that is too young, and was originally intended to give families of pregnant teens a more honorable option than having a "bastard" in the family. While there's a lot wrong with acceptance of teen pregnancy, I thnk it's wrong to have kids compound one mistake (unwanted pregnancy) with another (teen marriage).

(10) chava, June 19, 2012 4:00 PM

trying to prevent forced marriages of young girls & older men

So, Israel is in the process of passing a law saying that people must be 18 to get married. Originally, I agreed with you, that the government had no business making such a law. As one talkbacker said, there was no law against younger people having sex or even living together. Only people committed to the idea of marriage were being targeted. But then I heard people talk about forced marriages of couples younger than 18, where (usually) girls were being forced to marry sometimes older men & essentially become slaves. Sometimes the girl's family received money. This is what the law is trying to prevent. And those couples who are 17 and want to marry will just have to wait a year.

Anonymous, June 19, 2012 7:21 PM

Marriage age

I don't have a problem with an age of 18 for marriage, people change as they grow. In fact, physically, teenagers brains/thoughts are different to adults so their choices may not be the same.

(9) Melissa, June 19, 2012 3:33 PM

Marriage is not restrictive

there are many worthwhile ways of self realization & none of them rely on promiscuity as a methodology of 'reason'. That is unholy reason. Definitely. But it generally is true that if you want to pursue travel opportunities or other artistic pursuits, its easier to do so without the financial responsibilities of spouse & children. That is the reason young people delay marriage. There are many other godly committments, including torah study, of course. All these pathways to self-realization will make better parents & better citizens. i could have married my first boyfriend when i was 16 - he was a gem!! but the kids take up your energies & its terrible to look back at midlife and think you could have done so many things; children are beautiful, but they are, to some extend 'fetters on your soul'; responsibilities you have to be ready for. That's you, a personal choice. Rabbis are there to give important counsel; gov'mts also exist to safeguard maternal health - this is the only way they should be involved in marriage rights.

(8) Keith Klarin, June 19, 2012 3:03 PM

Marrying young

56 years ago, I married my wife when I was 19 and she was 18. It seems to have worked. The Rabbi is right. Shared values make for a successful marriage.

(7) Jonathan Shopiro, June 19, 2012 2:52 PM

Marriage at any age? Ridiculous!

The rabbi complains that a proposal to require people to be at least 25 before marriage is a bad idea and we all agree. But to extend that to demand that there be no minimum age for marriage is silly, unless you're an anarchist and are opposed to all laws. Allowing parents to marry their children off at age two, for example, would be hugely detrimental to the individuals and to society. That's why most (all?) states already have laws establishing a minimum age for marriage. And yes, we can argue about what that minimum age should be. But no minimum? Ridiculous!

(6) Ilan, June 19, 2012 2:38 PM

What about sex??

Should the government mandate what age a person can consent to sex? And should there be absolutely no minimum legal age to marry? - Should a 16 yr old be allowed to marry? A 13 yr old? a 10 yr old?...

(5) Anonymous, June 19, 2012 1:32 PM

Agree!

It is absolutely ridiculous for the government to decide how old we should be or when we should be married. What is next - this is very freightening.

(4) Anonymous, June 19, 2012 1:14 PM

Child brides (& grooms) are a REAL issue!

Yes, in our western society this law may seem ridiculous, but in other parts of the world child brides (& grooms) are still very much prevalent and a leading cause of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality. When a girl, yes girl - not woman, is not physiologically developed enough that she can go through a healthy pregnancy and birth, that her body is not big enough yet for a baby to pass through during labour - She is too young. When a girl is not old enough to be aware of what marriage and sexual intimacy are, she is not old enough. This politician may have a good idea - she's just directed it in the wrong direction

(3) Sidney, June 18, 2012 11:53 PM

Agree

Agree 100%. Yeyasher Kochacha, (Besides that the courts would probably rule anything over 21 as unconstitutional.)

(2) Anonymous, June 18, 2012 4:09 PM

Agree 100%

To make a law on what age to get married is just a license for people to condone lack of commitment and be more promiscuous. In the days we live in now we need to be teaching our children more about commitment and the beauty of marriage verses having many different partners in a so called self discovery. All this law will do is plant the ideas that marriage is somehow restricting and a burden. The Plato decree comes to my mind where he taught on moving away from the family and being more open with many partners. Just the fact someone would suggest a law like this shows how the country regards family values... Marriage is a blessing ..Thank you Rabbi for standing for the truth

(1) Anonymous, June 18, 2012 12:51 PM

Rabbi--I agree with what you have said. However, I think it is important for the couple to be able to support themselves financially. If they rely totally on the parents in this area, then they are not free to start their own lives. I once read an article in the New York Times about wealthy couples who bought co-op apartments for their young adult children. The young adult children had absolutely NO SAY in how their particular apartment was to be decorated, because the parents held the purse strings. Is this scenario something we want for our young adult couples? I think not.

 

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