How do you know when you’re ready for marriage?
Different cultures have different customs and laws with regards to marriage.
In some places, early or child marriage is prevalent.
This practice often offends Western sensibilities. Unfortunately, studies have also shown that the child brides, and society as a whole, are often adversely impacted.
Health and Social Problems
Such is apparently the case in Bangladesh.
Two prominent NGOs recently collaborated on research into the practice of early marriage in this country. Here is a summary of their conclusions:
A recent study by the development organization Plan Bangladesh and the nonprofit International Center for Diarrhoeal Disease Research, Bangladesh, showed that 64 percent of women aged 20-24 were married before the age of 18. Early marriage and early motherhood are the cause of a host of social and health problems, from a greater incidence of domestic violence to an increased risk of child and maternal mortality. Young brides stop going to school (according to Unicef, 5.6 million Bangladeshi children have dropped out of education early because of marriage) and thus have fewer opportunities for employment, and, crucially, little knowledge of their rights within marriage.
The author of the article, Tahmima Anam, emphasizes how the independence and well-being of the young brides are often lost through this arrangement.
Anam also mentions that the rate of early marriage is declining. The question is how many young women will have to be sacrificed before the trend can be reversed.
From a relationship point of view, this situation is rather sad.
How can a couple be happy if one of the partners is forced into the marriage?
Who could tolerate being treated as a second-class citizen?
But from a life insurance underwriting point of view, early marriage poses some very unique challenges.
First of all, insurance companies want all parties to the contract to be of legal age. The article mentions that girls as young as 12 are getting married. I doubt any state in America would allow that.
Moreover, the research cites an increased risk of maternal mortality. That would certainly be of concern to an underwriter. In particular, factors such as domestic abuse and suicide would have to be looked at closely.