I am dating a man eleven years older than me. I’m always nervous to admit our age difference because people often have opinions. Is there anything actually wrong with dating or marrying someone with a significant age difference?
-Wondering Young Woman
The very simple answer is no there isn’t anything specifically wrong with a significant age difference in a couple.
The more complicated answer is that there are things to consider when it comes to dating or marrying someone more than a few years different in age. Marriage is a partnership between two people—it’s a covenant of equal proportions on both sides. If the age difference between a couple causes a shift in that partnership and leans it toward authoritarian or dominating positions, then it’s not safe or healthy.
On the side of the actual difference in ages, one thing that helps is to consider age by percentages. For example: when a baby turns 1 years old, one year is 100% of their life. By the time they are 10, one year is 10% of their life and it continues to get smaller and smaller the older they get.
(Fun fact: this is why it feels like time goes faster the older you get! A year becomes a smaller and smaller percentage of your life.)
When it comes to an age difference in couples, recognize that the percentage difference gets smaller when you’re dealing with older people. So, obviously, a 15-year-old dating a 25-year-old isn’t okay. However, a 25- year-old dating a 35-year-old is a different situation entirely.
As for your specific case, I have no idea about the particulars and can’t really comment on concerns about your relationship. However, I can tell you about a story that I do know the particulars of: my own.
I married a man ten years older than me and there were 3 things that influenced my decision and gave me the green light to marry him despite our age difference.
- We were both at similar places in life with similar life experiences (i.e. we both had our own homes and jobs and had also traveled extensively) so there was equal footing when it came to how we understood and faced life.
- The people whose opinions I trusted and respected (my parents, mentors, brothers, & close friends) were all at peace with our relationship and didn’t have red flags or concerns.
- I was confident that he was in submission to the Holy Spirit and felt equally yoked with him in regards to our faith and desire to serve Christ.
As with any relationship, I think it’s important to pray and seek the Lord’s direction. Humbly listen to advice from those you trust. Honestly address any concerns.
If someone you trust has opinions about the age difference, take time to listen and then also try asking, “Aside from our ages, do you have concerns?” If their answer is yes—be ready and willing to engage with the concerns in a healthy manner.
P.P.S. Also! if you want some extra laughs, you can read my 7 Perks of Marrying Someone Older than You.