Segal-Engelchin, Dorit, Efrat Huss, and Najlaa Massry. “The Experience of Early Marriage Perspectives of Engaged and Married Muslim Women in Israel.” Journal of Adolescent Research (2015).
The negative impact of early marriage on girls’ psychosocial well-being is well documented in the literature, but little is known about the girls’ motivations and experiences within marriage. A phenomenological case study approach, combining artwork and semi-structured interviews, was used to investigate the motivations and experiences of early marriage among 10 engaged and married young Muslim women who married young in Israel. The findings regarding the engaged women point to their decision to use marriage as a way to fulfill their need for freedom, their wish to experience love in a culturally respectable frame, and to escape from poverty and from difficult family. Conversely, the married women’s narratives point to the heavy price and limited benefits of early marriage, in creating intense new problems and not providing relief from former problems. The regret over having not studied, intense loneliness, lack of money, and the search for a more respect-based marriage are predominant themes. The financial and social motivations for marriage found among the women studied suggest that in their decision to marry young, they were not passive victims of love or society but were rather taking an active pragmatic decision within the very limited options open to them.