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The age to get married


Charles Ighele

Everyone who heard was surprised that Anthony was about to get married. He was just a young man who graduated from the university about three years earlier. He had worked for about one year and some months after his National Youth Service, when he decided it was time for him to get married. When he informed people that he was ready to pay the bride price, it was then they realised it was no longer a joking matter. They tried to discourage him from every front. A family member told him, ‘you do not know what you are doing. You are just a boy’. A friend of his said something like this: ‘old boy, marriage too big for your age o. Remember say we be twenty-three years old o. Your head correct so? Ground never level you wan start to dey carry wife and children for your back?’ But Anthony reminded him that he is not twenty-three, that he is approaching twenty-four.

Many asked him directly why he was in such a great rush to settle down. Tony reminded those who cared to listen that if they really cared to understand the meaning of the word ‘settle down’ they would not encourage him to start settling his marital life, when he is thirty-five years old. He felt that ‘settling down’ to start the foundation of a marriage and family life should be of great importance and speed to any highly disciplined young man, who has a MEANS OF LIVELIHOOD. Tony went ahead and got married to his girl, who was about twenty-one years old.

On their wedding day, they looked like two little children (in the African eyes) who were acting drama because of their slim stature. They looked so youthful that some people thought that they could never have the emotional maturity to handle pregnancy, child upbringing, family finance and in-law relationships that characterise marriages. Someone felt it was impossible for them at that age to have conflict resolution ability.

Seventeen years have passed, and Tony and Mabel’s marriage is as solid as a rock. They have four children now. The eldest is about to go to a university abroad. By age 46, Tony expects to be a grandfather because they have successfully passed on to their first son and the other children the emotional qualities they need for an early marriage and the beauty of an early marriage. It turned out that Anthony and Mabel’s marriage was by far better than the marriages of many people who were thirty years older than them in marriage.

People should get married early, when they are emotionally matured to do so. Age is not the issue. EMOTIONAL MATURITY is the key. There has been no mention of age in the Bible, not because it is unimportant, but because the purposes of God exceed age and outer appearances and instead focus on the inner state of the person. If it were for age, David would not have been anointed king as a teenager and physically occupy the throne at age thirty. One of my children married during her National Youth Service and within six years, she has finished having her four children, as well as a Master’s degree. Carol and I are amazed at the way she handles certain issues.

‘Bishop, are you saying that people should get married early’? No. I have not said so. I am only saying people should get married, when they are matured enough to know how to handle feelings of love, anger, hunger, joy, sorrow, sex, frustration, etc. Love you.

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