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TandE15

Teen Marriage vs Premarital Sex

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My 15-year old daughter just told me that she and her 15-year old boyfriend want to get married. When I asked her why she would want to get married so young, she said it's because they're in love, he's the one, and they want to have sex but not before marriage. They have been dating for over two years and I know he is a good Christian boy that treats her well. I think they are WAY too young to be married but I do NOT want them having sex before marriage. How do I reconcile this? I know teens can be stubborn and will end up doing what they want. Has anyone else ever been in this position with their kids? I have always taught my daughter to respect her body as a temple and she is using that as an excuse to get married.

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This is a complicated situation. I think it would have been better to not allow her date so young. I support the decision that she wants to marry before having sex but she is very young. Also, she sees other classmates engaging in sex and is curious about it. I think you should have a meeting with the parents of her boyfriend to discuss the best plan of action. My only concern will be will they practice safe sex if they marry so that they do not have children until they are 18 and older OR will they engage in premarital sex. Hope this helps.

 

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What kind of question is this? You don't marry off your kid because you don't want them having premarital sex.

They're 15, they are not adults.

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Well, lucky for you, if you live in the US it's impossible for her to get legally married without your consent (and in most states, even with your consent), so this isn't exactly a case where they can just up and do what they want. I would make it clear to her that marriage isn't just about finally getting to have sex; it's about a lifelong commitment to an individual, and about branching off on your own and starting your own family. Unless she and her boyfriend are able to come up with a solid plan for how they will pay for their own housing, transportation, food, etc, they are clearly not yet ready to be married. Making it clear that getting married would mean a cut-off of all financial support from you might be enough to convince her to put it off even after she turns 18 (if, of course, she and her boyfriend are still together at that point).

 

I think forbidding her from seeing him outright would only backfire horribly, increasing the likelihood that she will start lying to you and sneaking around with him, potentially resulting in the two of them having unprotected sex. Ultimately, you may just have to ensure that she is educated about birth control, and acknowledge that, while you don't approve of her having sex out of marriage, or at such a young age, this may ultimately be out of your control. Considering all possible outcomes, out-of-wedlock protected sex that you are aware of is clearly better than her getting married at 15 (and probably divorced by 17), or a teenage pregnancy that results from them keeping the nature of their relationship a secret.

 

I will say that it is a good sign that she was so willing to come to you and discuss her feelings (including her desire to become sexually active). That says great things about your relationship. Don't squander that. It may be possible to reason with her enough to get her to understand that marriage and sex are too big a responsibility for a 15 year old to take on.

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My 15-year old daughter just told me that she and her 15-year old boyfriend want to get married. When I asked her why she would want to get married so young, she said it's because they're in love, he's the one, and they want to have sex but not before marriage. They have been dating for over two years and I know he is a good Christian boy that treats her well. I think they are WAY too young to be married but I do NOT want them having sex before marriage. How do I reconcile this? I know teens can be stubborn and will end up doing what they want. Has anyone else ever been in this position with their kids? I have always taught my daughter to respect her body as a temple and she is using that as an excuse to get married.

 

I'm sorry to say but you need to teach your daughter about safe sex. As a former Catholic I know its against religion to have sex outside of marriage but its for the health of your daughter.

 

Waiting Until Marriage is a personal choice and you can't force your daughter to not have sex should she wants it because otherwise as Steadfast says she will simply be rebellious and have unprotected sex with her boyfriend which is more dangerous than pre marital sex because unprotected sex might bring unwanted pregnancy and STDs.

 

All you can do is tell her about how having sex and getting married is a huge commitment and responsibility. Plus she needs to be educated about the benefits of safe sex as well.

 

Does your daughter's school have sex ed classes? Let her be in such classes and have her educated about safe sex.

 

Also teach her about the benefits of Waiting Until Marriage and why it can be beneficial in the long run.

 

Let your daughter come up with her own conclusions but whatever you do don't force your daughter to not have sex with her boyfriend if she wants.

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Okay, I'm pretty surprised with some of the responses so far. She's 15 years old. She's a child. Children cannot consent to sex, whether it's with an adult or with another child. It's illegal. Saying, "Well you can't force her not to have sex if she wants," would people be saying that if she was twelve? So what if the sex is "protected"? Does it protect her mind, her heart, her soul? No. She's a child. Children shouldn't be having sex.

 

Look, if your kid was telling you they were going to start taking heroin with their friends, would you really tell them, "Well, make sure you use clean needles, and only do it at home," or would you tell them, "You're not seeing those friends again, and if I have to take your phone, your laptop, and escort you to and from school to make sure you don't see them, then I'll do it."? Saying, "They'll just sneak out, so I'd better just teach them how to reduce the risks with taking the drugs," is silly. Why is sex any different?

 

Birth control fails. The failure rate is even higher for young teenagers. And there's no condom to protect a child's heart from the effects of having, quite frankly, non-consensual sex. She's not old enough to fully understand what sex is, nor is he.

 

If she's coming to you and telling you her plans, then you've obviously got a good relationship. Is she the kind of person who'd betray your trust and sneak out behind your back? Probably not. You didn't say in your post that she was threatening to have sex anyway, just that she wants to have sex. If you know them both to be "good Christians", then you'll know yourself whether or not you can trust them.

 

Talk to her. Explain why she can't be having sex, and why she's too young to get married - the fact that she's wanting to get married so she can have sex shows that she doesn't understand it. You might have to limit how they see each other - only seeing each other in groups, public places, with someone as a chaperone, and so on - if you don't completely trust them. That might be as far as you have to go, if even that far.

 

xxx

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She's 15 years old. She's a child. Children cannot consent to sex, whether it's with an adult or with another child. It's illegal. Saying, "Well you can't force her not to have sex if she wants," would people be saying that if she was twelve?

 

I don't know how age of consent laws work outside the US (and I have no idea where OP is from), but as far as I know, here they are written with the intent of keeping adults from having sex with teenagers. It isn't illegal for two 10th graders to have sex with each other -- the only option the prosecution would have would be to charge both of them with statutory rape. Obviously, that would be absurd. Maybe it's happened in isolated incidents, but the clear consent is that it isn't how the laws were intended to be enforced.

 

A 12 year old is barely in middle school. A 15 year old has already been through a year of high school (ish). 15 year olds can legally hold a job. 15 is the age at which we trust people to start learning how to operate 5,000 lb death machines. They simply aren't comparable developmental stages. Are 15 year olds full adults? No, that's why they can't do things such as...get married, like OP's daughter wants to. But they aren't equivalent to children either.

 

Look, as I said, I hope OP is able to reason with her daughter and get her to understand that she is too young for both sex and marriage. I hope that has been OP's plan A all along. So my recommendations for OP are really about what should happen if that plan fails.

 

And, I am a bit biased because I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who is still with the guy I dated in high school. If I had been with my boyfriend for two years and fallen deeply in love with him, then told my mom that we were really in love and considering having sex/getting married, and she'd flipped out and prevented me from being alone with him ever again simply because I had been honest with her about my feelings...yeah, that would have had a really negative effect my relationship with her. I was never the kind of person who would sneak around behind my moms' back, but if I'd been through something like that, I probably would have become that way.

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I 30 years old and have waited this long with out doing anything but I do remember at 15 and going through puberty sex is all you can think about. They should wait until at least after high school. After college would be better.

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Are 15 year olds full adults? No, that's why they can't do things such as...get married, like OP's daughter wants to. But they aren't equivalent to children either.

 

I just think that if you're too young to have a baby, then you're also too young to be doing the thing that makes babies. It seems pretty logical to me, especially since the failure rate of contraception is what it is. I wouldn't want my child to take that risk, and I certainly wouldn't be telling them that it's "safe" to have sex using contraception when it's not. I just found a study that found that 14% of teenage girls using the Pill got pregnant after two years, and nearly 9% in the first year alone. For condoms, the pregnancy rate was 27% in two years. That's not "safe", and like I said, it doesn't protect them at all emotionally.

 

And, I am a bit biased because I'm coming at this from the perspective of someone who is still with the guy I dated in high school. If I had been with my boyfriend for two years and fallen deeply in love with him, then told my mom that we were really in love and considering having sex/getting married, and she'd flipped out and prevented me from being alone with him ever again simply because I had been honest with her about my feelings...yeah, that would have had a really negative effect my relationship with her. I was never the kind of person who would sneak around behind my moms' back, but if I'd been through something like that, I probably would have become that way.

 

To be clear, I'm not suggesting that the OP stops them seeing each other just because her daughter was honest with her about her feelings. I'm saying that if the conversations with her don't work, then that might be a last resort if she really can't trust her not to have sex with him. Like I said, from what the OP's described, it sounds like they've got a good relationship, and that a conversation might be all that's needed.

 

xxx

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I just think that if you're too young to have a baby, then you're also too young to be doing the thing that makes babies. It seems pretty logical to me, especially since the failure rate of contraception is what it is. I wouldn't want my child to take that risk, and I certainly wouldn't be telling them that it's "safe" to have sex using contraception when it's not. I just found a study that found that 14% of teenage girls using the Pill got pregnant after two years, and nearly 9% in the first year alone. For condoms, the pregnancy rate was 27% in two years. That's not "safe", and like I said, it doesn't protect them at all emotionally.

 

Those failure rates are exactly why I advised OP to make sure her daughter is educated about contraception. The pill isn't less effective in a 15 year old's body, nor are condoms somehow more brittle. What teens are likely to do is use them incorrectly; either because they don't know how to properly use them, because they're concerned about their parents finding out, or both. A teen who is trying to hide her birth control pills from her family will be less likely to take them at the same time each day, or to get them refilled on time. A teenage boy who doesn't know how to properly use condoms may think that "doubling up" would be extra safe, when in fact, it makes them more likely to break. I'd hate for my teen to get into a car wreck, but I wouldn't try to get them to drive safer by telling them that seatbelts can't always save them. Likewise, I'd hate for my 15 year-old to be thinking about sex, but I wouldn't try to discourage her from having sex by telling her that contraception won't help minimize the most life-alerting risks.

 

Anyway, it seems like everyone in this thread is pretty much on the same page when it comes to the idea that OP's daughter is way too young to get married or have sex, and that OP should first try to settle this by talking to their daughter about why those two responsibilities are too much for a couple of 15 year-olds to take on. Hopefully the daughter will understand, and OP won't have to worry about what to do if the reasoning-method doesn't work.

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She's 15 years old. She's a child. Children cannot consent to sex, whether it's with an adult or with another child. It's illegal. Saying, "Well you can't force her not to have sex if she wants," would people be saying that if she was twelve? So what if the sex is "protected"? Does it protect her mind, her heart, her soul? No. She's a child. Children shouldn't be having sex.

 

Mary the mother of Jesus would be contentious to that.

 

Anyway, to the opening poster...

I know this is late, and the issue might be resolved.

 

But one way to test it is to do it this way. Sleep in the same room as her for one month. After that, everything should be solved :)

Okay, not really...

 

I just remember when I was 15 to 17 or somewhere there I wanted to do the same thing. However, I realized after a while that love isn't that simple. I'm sure if you continue to tell her to wait until she's 18; and that you are happy she wants to wait until marriage and support that side of the decision that she will be fine.

 

The whole education on safe sex and what not I think might be necessary but it'll encourage her more if it is coming from you. I hate to say it, but sometimes it's better the school teaches her about safe sexual practices while you tell her "no" so long as you're responsible for her.

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I agree with what everyone else is saying. 15 is too young to get married OR have sex. I think you should lay things down as the adult and tell her she can't marry until she's in her twenties (or an age you choose) and that you want her to wait until marriage. Explain to her that the need for attention from boys is a phase that all teenage girls go through. It's imperative that she makes the right decision on who she marries because an unhappy marriage is worst than premarital sex.

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She has 3 more years til 18. Tell her she can get married then. Honestly getting married for sex is wrong and sets one up for failure. The marriage isn't going to last. I had siblings get married young to have sex. They're divorced now. Once that lust attraction wears off what's left? Nothing. I would never get married just to bang. If she can't wait til 18, then talk to her about birth control and condoms.

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Well, lucky for you, if you live in the US it's impossible for her to get legally married without your consent (and in most states, even with your consent), so this isn't exactly a case where they can just up and do what they want. I would make it clear to her that marriage isn't just about finally getting to have sex; it's about a lifelong commitment to an individual, and about branching off on your own and starting your own family. Unless she and her boyfriend are able to come up with a solid plan for how they will pay for their own housing, transportation, food, etc, they are clearly not yet ready to be married. Making it clear that getting married would mean a cut-off of all financial support from you might be enough to convince her to put it off even after she turns 18 (if, of course, she and her boyfriend are still together at that point).

 

I think forbidding her from seeing him outright would only backfire horribly, increasing the likelihood that she will start lying to you and sneaking around with him, potentially resulting in the two of them having unprotected sex. Ultimately, you may just have to ensure that she is educated about birth control, and acknowledge that, while you don't approve of her having sex out of marriage, or at such a young age, this may ultimately be out of your control. Considering all possible outcomes, out-of-wedlock protected sex that you are aware of is clearly better than her getting married at 15 (and probably divorced by 17), or a teenage pregnancy that results from them keeping the nature of their relationship a secret.

 

I will say that it is a good sign that she was so willing to come to you and discuss her feelings (including her desire to become sexually active). That says great things about your relationship. Don't squander that. It may be possible to reason with her enough to get her to understand that marriage and sex are too big a responsibility for a 15 year old to take on.

+ 10 points for your answer Madcap. But in addition, I'd say that if they are really meant to be together then it will be just as true once they've gone to college and have something more to offer each other and their future children than love and broken dreams. And in that  case, than what's a few more years of celibacy in the light of all the fun marital "bliss" they'll have once that's true? So no Sally, you and Timmy won't be getting married. But know that I know that it's true love, and that you all want to be "engaged" then we should observe proper courtship behavior, including but not limited to: not being alone (as we don't want any temptation before the "big day" ), bible study as a "family" (hey, you're getting married anyway, right? so we should practice coming together in the lord)  etc. My opinion, since you can't go back in time and make it so that you kept her from relationships that couldn't be righteously fulfilled. Hope it helps.

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