It's a terrible truth that bad things are everywhere. It was news of one of these bad things that made me question, as I tend to do, the the frum community's practice of marrying of their children when they're extremely young.
The "news" was of a very young married girl who suffered a miscarriage. A horrible thing to happen under any circumstances, but when I heard of this particular case (not that it was the first that I'd heard) I found myself thinking about how horrible it was for this girl, who really is still a child herself, to have suffered such a tragedy. I asked myself, "Why are parents so eager to throw their children into the 'real world' by marrying them off so young? Yes, the wedding is a great simcha and it's a wonderful thing to celebrate, but what about after the wedding? Once married, these young children cannot be protected from the evils of the world anymore."
With bad news being everywhere, yesterday I heard another piece of "news" that broke my heart. Without going into details, a young girl in the frum community got married and almost immediately found out that her new husband was not who she thought he was. They are now discussing divorce.
This girl is still practically a child yet she is already faced with a failing marriage. She, who was sheltered in the frum community all her life, has been intimately exposed to a person and a situation that she could have been protected from if her parents had just let her have a few more years to grow up. Maybe if she'd had a little more life experience she would have been able to recognize the signs in the man who is now her husband, and the marriage could have been prevented.
Her wedding was a great and joyous occasion, and as long as it was all lace and chocolate decadence everything was wonderful, but the "honeymoon" ended all too soon, and now the wedding is being seen as a tragedy for this girl who now has to deal with things that no child should have to deal with.
In some frum communities there is, "a better day coming, blowing in from the North and the South," where getting married a little later (at 22, or 23 - young, huh?) is becoming more acceptable, but there are still so many communities that run to marry off their children in their teens.
Parents, I'm begging you to look ahead for your child and consider that maybe they need to be eased into real life, instead of thrown into it abruptly with marriage. A beautiful wedding, while wonderful, is not enough to ease that transition. Children need a chance to grow up a little bit before they are married off and are immediately expected to act like adults. Think past the simcha of the engagement and the wedding (no, I'm not talking about grandchildren) and consider whether your child could use a little more time as a child before they have to start having children of their own.