So I have a friend who recently moved back to Djibouti after living in the U.S. for about 12 years. He got divorced in 2004 after his wife cheated on him. After less than a week of being home, he sent me an email saying that he had already made maher for a girl in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. I was mostly surprised that he found someone to marry so soon, then I was also surprised by how much younger she is than him.
My friend is close to 40, divorced, with 3 kids ranging in age from 13 to 7. The girl on the other hand is less than 20 and is presumably a virgin, having never been married. He had told me before leaving that he wanted to get settled first and then get to know some women from about the age of 25 and up because he didn't want to marry a younger woman who wasn't educated, and then this happened!
I am close friends with their entire family and found out that I also know this girl's much older half brother (he's around 50). I can understand him wanting to marry within the tribe and family because that is so important to Somali culture, but it just blows my mind to imagine being barely out of high school and marrying a guy who is nearly 20 years older than me.
How can I understand this from the girl's perspective? His mom kept telling me that this is normal over there, but I don't see how this type of marriage is good for either the guy or the girl. I think he would have been happier with a girl who has a comparable level of life experience to him, and that this also makes it harder for younger guys to find suitable wives.
I want to believe that she will give him a chance and eventually learn to love him. He is a kind, thoughtful, and compassionate person and I know that he will treat her like a jewel. He can also teach her a lot from all his life experience.
What does everyone think of the tradition of marrying young girls off to much older men?