The high prevalence of child marriage in many South Asian countries is usually attributed to poverty, lack of access to education and economic opportunities and gender inequitable cultural norms. Yet in Bangladesh, despite economic growth, mass female education and concerted efforts to eliminate child marriage, its prevalence remains very high. This paper explores community-level perceptions, attitudes and practices relating to child marriage in a rural setting in Bangladesh with the aim of understanding the collective discourses of child marriage in the country and identify the factors shaping these. The study was based on exploratory sequential mixed-method research, with qualitative data collected through group discussions and interviews with 64 participants and quantitative survey data from 3344 participants from the Rangpur district of northern Bangladesh in 2014. The findings suggest that, in addition to the already identified drivers, the notion of a ‘good match’, where the wife is subservient to her husband, is one of the main motivations for marrying off girls early in this region of Bangladesh. Reducing poverty and educating girls may not be adequate to address the persistent problem of child marriage in all Bangladeshi contexts and emphasis needs to be given to transforming the prevailing idea of a ‘good match’ to one of an ‘equal match’.