AN ASSESSMENT OF THE IMPACT OF AGE AT MARRIAGE AND EDUCATIONAL LEVEL ON THE ANXIETY LEVEL OF WOMEN
Marriage is a social contract between two human beings of the opposite gender. The people concerned are not only physiologically mature but also traditionally recognized by their immediate neighbourhood as being qualified for the holy matrimony (OKoro, 1981). This is perhaps based on the fact that marriage is for people that have attended a certain age bracket with high degree of maturity. Marriage as a social contract is permanent and requires endurance and tolerance from both parties.
In some areas, the above concept of marriage has been neglected, thus exposing teenagers to early marriage. Early marriage is synonymous to child or adolescent marriage. A child is not really mature for any appreciable responsibility until he becomes an adult. On that note, early marriage is obviously defined as a union of either or two persons of the opposite sex as husband and wife without attaining physiological and psychological development (Eleonu, 1984).
Education is regarded as all of man’s activities which enable him realize himself and live fully as a human being or a process of influencing the young and inexperienced so that they may become worthy human beings and citizens (Onwuka, 1975). Basically, education is a process of harmonizing the individual within a given environment in such a manner as to enable him to develop his physical, mental, emotional and volitional capacities for the happiness and welfare of all. Based on the definition, education is a means to marital happiness.
The zeal to be educated empowers girls to stay in school, delay pregnancy and marry latter, these are essential interventions that can substantially improve their chances of becoming well informed, productive citizens.
Early marriage has robbed millions of women a whole opportunity for educational development and self-realization in all sphere of human endeavour. Many of them with little or no vocation in all sphere of human endeavour. Many of them with little or no vocational training cannot help but to engage in low-income employment if there is need for them to supplement the family income. Worst still, offspring of such mothers end up marrying early like their mothers and with low level of education. Also, many of these early married mothers and their children usually look wasted, emaciated and older than their age because of the trauma experienced in coping with their marital problems due to lack of education. Many of their children are malnourished and succumb easily to diseases.
Marriage as a union of a man and a woman is not meant for adolescent or children. It is an institution that would last as long as the world continues to exist; it should not be tackled in a haste. According to Obiageli (1989), it requires a thorough examination and re-examination. However, marriage is therefore God’s first human institution with direct responsibility of replenishing the world. It involves joint responsibility of mature opposite gender which are supposed to be ascribed with loving and caring for each other. But because of the rampant nature of teenage marriage, some families and marriage today are facing and experiencing the worst trying period; tension, anxieties, quarrels, fears, fighting, uneasiness and chaos have become the order of the day, thus, creating high blood pressure and premature death. This situation of marriage can be associated with low level of education, orphanage factors, many female children, accidental or unplanned pregnancy and the desire to enjoy the honour associated with matrimony, as well as cultural heritage accorded to married people.