I must categorically state that it is not a matter of whether it is bad or good, it is not a matter of whether it is right or wrong but it is more about finding out the consequences of a marriage where the wife is older than the husband and then put measures in place to deal or manage such consequences.
There are consequences, both negative and positive, all depending on the level of maturity of the couples.
This teaching is not written solely to discredit and hence discourage a relationship or marriage with an older lady but it is written to open the reader’s eyes to hidden complexes around such relationship or marriage and hence prepare them to be able to manage such complexes.
The normal trend from the beginning had been that the man is older than his wife, at least Adam was created before Eve, so we believe that he was older. Abraham was ten years older than Sarah, and all the examples in the Bible still portray that the normal trend is for the man to be older. Though we have some biblical inferences where it is seen that the wife can be older than her husband, the norm has been for the husband to be older. Even in your family, your father is most probably older than your mum.
But we now live in a generation where we don’t respect Biblical norms or societal norms or cultural norms anymore, we now accept anything that come from Western culture. We have thrown caution to the wind and we do just what seem right in our eyes
This trend of older women marrying younger men is more rampant in the western world than in Africa. They told us age is just a number and that love is all that matters. So we get confused and begin to mix things up. On one hand, we have the natural and societal consequences of age difference in marriage especially when the lady is older than the man and on the hand is the pressure to blend with the western world.
But when the wife is older, these are few concerns on the part of both the wife and the husband.
1. RESPECT AND SUBMISSION
Women generally have expressed that it is easier for them to respect and submit to a man older than them than to submit to a younger man. This is readily understandable in the context of African culture of respecting older people unconditionally. So if the man is already older, then a younger woman will respect him naturally and when he loves and care for her very well, he gets unreserved submission.
Irrespective of the age, a husband is a husband and God commands that you respect and submit to him in ALL THINGS. Can you comfortably do this without reminding him that you are his elder? Can you obey him even when your decision makes more sense than his? Will you be ready to reverence him despite his age? *Are you ready to follow his leadership as the head of the marriage, without feeling irritated by one “small boy”?
The reason a wife is to submit to her husband is not because he is older, richer, more educated, wiser, etc, the sole reason why you should submit is because you agreed to be his wife and that it is the divine order for a wife to submit to her husband. If you are ready for the above level of respect and Submission irrespective of the younger age of your husband, then go ahead and marry a younger man.
2. PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
Even when the husband is older than the wife, the wife often quickly catches up with him in appearance and blends in especially after few child births. That means both of them will just look like age mates. This is because the woman grows older more quickly than the man. Her rapidity in ageing is due to the fact that she carries pregnancy for several months, give birth painfully and nurse children, thereby losing her youthful body.
This biological processes further makes her increase in size and weight, making her look equal or even bigger than the husband most times. This is the reason why a younger wife often catches up with her husband, looking like his mate after few deliveries.
So now that it is the wife that is already older, then it is expected that she will grow even much older and look much older than the husband in a period of 10-15 years, So can you handle the consequences of looking older than your husband few years down your marriage? The choice is based on your answer
3. JEALOUSY AND INSECURITY
Given the above mentioned points in number 2, another fact is that men tend to be much more handsome in their forties. That is the time they have made money, they have become big boys and are looking maturely attractive because of the rest, love and the care from their wives at home. This is the period where many young ladies want them (the men).
Young ladies flock around men in this period because of monetary benefits and maturity in handling a lady, so many young ladies are ready to get such men by all means.
In this period of the man’s life, most wives that are older than their husbands become very insecure due to the handsomeness of their husbands in this later age, and the rush of sweet sexy young girls all over him in office or business place.
The wife sometimes feels she is not young, charming, and beautiful like those young ladies out there and so she grow insecure at any sight of a young lady around her husband, she sees every young woman around her husband as a potential rival especially if the husband does not have strong moral convictions not to flirt with other women.
The torment of this jealousy on the wife is not something to brush aside but it depends on the couples in question though.
So can you overcome this insecurity and jealousy? Do you think you are matured and strong enough to deal with all these complications that may come up in future? If you can, then go ahead and marry a younger man.
On the part of the husband, these are few consequences too…
4. THE ODD FEELING:
One of the things that give a man a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction is to showcase the beauty of his wife. Men are proud of their beautiful wives and a husband is often respected among his peers when his wife is a good sight to behold. When guys are coming with their pretty, charming and young wife, will he feel comfortable to take his older wife to the gathering? Men don’t like looking out of place among their peers.
Can he withstand the jest of his friends on such matter? This is why some husbands just go out without their wives, because they are not proud to take her out for one reason or the other especially when she is looking very older than them. Many of such husbands end up getting a younger lady with whom they can proudly mingle among their peers.
5. SEXUAL TEMPTATION:
When the man is older than the wife, it is still a big deal for the man to stay faithful because he is being tempted by ladies everywhere, office, church, media etc… Ladies of nowadays, though with few exceptions, have become unrepentant objects of sexual temptation to men, they tempt with just everything they have and men go through a lot to remain faithful.
A man can’t turn his eyes and not see a sex inspiring lady close to him, there is so much sexual pressure on the men, which is not same for the women. So when his wife is looking older than him in about ten or fifteen years period, can he resist the temptations of the younger sweet ladies that will rush him as results of point 3?
He can resist temptation when he thinks that “Well, my wife is a young charming angel, so I don’t need anything from these girls” but it will be a problem if he gets to think “wow, these girls are just younger and hotter, I wish my wife is just as young”
This will spark off curiosity to see what it feel like being with a young lady and that may go as far as adultery. Then a whole new set of problems will emerge from there.
6. CONFLICT MANAGEMENT:
As a wife, there are times, you will say things that are disrespectful to him, maybe because of momentary offences. And it easier for a husband to overlook such occasional misbehaviour from the wife when he thinks “She is just a young woman, she will know better very soon” but the reaction is different if she is older.
He may think, “She is insulting me because she is older” and once this thought comes into a younger husband, only God can intervene because the natural tendency will be for him to look for where he will feel comfortably in charge and that is mostly with a younger lady who respects him out there.
7. SOCIETAL PRESSURE:
What will they say that I married my younger brother’s mate? What will they say that my wife is looking like my mother? And a lot of other views of people about your marriage.
8. EARLY SPOUSAL DEMISE: For those ladies that marry their great grandfather’s age mate, will you also sing that age is just a number? The man will soon get worn out while the wife is still in her peak and bubbling with so much life. One of the beauties of marriage is for couples to grow old together but what happens when one is old and the other is still young? The older husband will die much earlier leaving the younger wife to suffer as a widow. Yes, one of the couples will die first and death can come through unexpected sources but if nothing drastic happens to bring sudden death, then make choices that afford you the opportunity to live longer with your spouse.
Finally, all these points I listed are possible consequences, it is not compulsory that they will happen. I mean they may happen in a marriage with an older wife, their occurrence is a matter of probability, not a matter of certainty but the probability is high depending on the maturity of the couples concerned.
After all said and done, the maturity and depth of godliness of the couple plays a great role in the success of such marriage. I mean if you are matured enough and your husband is matured enough to handle such concerns as listed above, then you can marry a younger man and still enjoy your marriage.
The success of your marriage depends on the extent to which you and your husband understand what marriage is all about. Marriage is an institution which has its code of conducts and principles. If both the older wife and the younger husband know those marital principles and live strictly on them without thought of age, then success in marriage is certain.
Now, I have helped you see some grey areas that you can consider before marrying a younger man.
In fact, many of the above listed problems which may likely occur in marriage with an older wife are greatly reduced when the wife is unconditionally submissive to her husband as God commands and when the man is unconditionally loving to his wife as God commands.
Finally, age is just a number in a marriage where the wife is older and that is true as long as there is love and understanding between the couples and they can deal with all the consequences of their age differences. On the other hand, age won’t be just a number if the couples are not emotionally matured to constructively deal with the consequences of their age difference.
This shows that the popular statement ‘age is just a number’ is true or not depending on the particular persons involved in the relationship or marriage.
So before you go singing ‘age is just a number’, ensure that you are emotionally matured enough make that statement true in your marriage and relationship.
With these 8 points of mine, I have shown some of the consequences of age difference as it affect men and women in relationship and marriage. I hope you have learnt few things and seen few areas where you need to focus when considering marriage with age disparity on the part of the lady being older than the husband.
© Sam Kori @Blissful Relationship INT’L
Covenant Marriage and Family Ministries (CFM).
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