We can’t afford to ignore this issue just because it makes some people feel uncomfortable, can we? No, we can’t. And I believe, this issue matters more for those who are yet in the process of finding their lifelong partner than the people who already are married.
Let me first say this: As far as I know, there is no “age-difference” topic in the Bible. So, this is a simple answer for anyone who may ask for a Bible reference for the points I’m about to make. Some people argue, “If the Bible ignores this issue, we don’t need to talk about it.” And some say, “What matters the most is how much the couple loves each other.” Hmm! I better leave these lines of reasoning right here and move on to my point, not because I don’t want to deal with them but I may easily get sidetracked from the point I wanna make today trying to address them.
So, does age difference matter in a marriage? I believe it does, big time! And if I were a single person today, I would pay very close attention to topics such as this one because many and many marriages have been affected by it.
As they say, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it” – in other words, “Smart people learn from their own mistakes, wise people learn from the mistakes of others.” So, choose to be wise!
So, regarding this very important but sensitive issue, here are the seven things I want to point out:
1. It is not good to be too technical about age difference to the point of asking: “My girlfriend is one year and 23 days older than me. Is that okay for me to marry her?” But it is generally advisable for the man to be older than his wife since most men get matured slower than women; and as a leader of his household, the man is better off leading when he is equal or more matured than the person he is leading. (Note: This is not a question of how many more degrees he has than his wife, even though it won’t hurt him to be more educated than his wife.)
2. In the context of marriage, I see one decade (ten years) as one generation. So, generally speaking, a person is more accepted, approved, understood and appreciated by a person of his generation than another generation. That is why we tend to have best friends from the same generation (which is a common reality for many of us), and marriage is a journey of two best friends, is it not? If so, you be the judge: Can two people who have 18-years age gap be best friends (I’m not talking here about a friendship between a nurse and her patient)? Rhetorical question
3. Married couples who are from the same generation get to their ripe old age together at a similar rate. So, it is not common for a marriage counselor to meet married couples who are from the same generation and complaining about “sexual-mismatch” – a husband running away from his wife who demands more sex than he does. (It happens among couples from the same generation but it is very rare.)
4. “It is good when the wife is a little girl so a 60-year old man will enjoy the rest of his old age,” is an old and a barbaric First Century kind of thinking; and unfortunately, this same kind of thinking is ushering itself back to the 21st century with a differently shaped face. A 48-year old man convinces an 18-year old girl to marry him via social media. She may live in a third world country and he may live in one of those rich countries, he promises her a good life and the rest is history.
5. Bringing the story of Abraham and Sara as an example in this particular issue is a bit absurd. It is good to read the story carefully before we bring it up as an example.
6. Common sense works best here. If the man needs to dye his hair and get a kind of haircut to match the youthfulness of the woman he is planning to marry, or, if a girl changes the way she walks and acts to look like a big woman to match the maturity of the man she is planning to marry, something is not right and somebody needs to wake one of these people up before they make the mistake of their lifetime.
7. No WISE person decides to marry without the counsel and advice of wise and matured people. No wise person does that because wise people know that marriage is a tough lifetime journey. ///
P. S. I would like to say “Thank you” to many of you who have shared with me and the Appeal for Purity Ministry team your marital situations after I posted something similar last year. Your story has contributed greatly to the above post! Bless you!