Know When the Difference is Too Large A large age difference can undermine the long-term viability of your relationship. Age differences can also mean pretty significant differences in lifestyles. If you have an established career but your partner is still living with his or her parents, you could be in for quite a ride. This can show up in many forms including having different political views. On the other hand, a big age difference provides you with valuable opportunities to learn about alternative perspectives and experiences.
Know How to Handle Criticism While age differences can create some challenges in your relationship, focusing too much on that can backfire. Age can be an important factor in a marriage, but it is a far less important than other issues like salvation, spiritual maturity and compatibility. As people get older, age difference means less and less. For example, a year-old marrying a year-old will be questioned by many, but people may not think twice when an year-old is marrying a year-old.
The only warning regarding age in marriage is to avoid marrying someone young for lustful purposes, and avoid marrying someone older for money. The best way to determine what God wants for you in your relationship life is to seek Him. Pray to God for wisdom concerning your marriage. Only then can you understand what God wants for you. But as I observed how he interacted with people at church and did his job, my fears were alleviated.
At one point, he even confided that it had been his dream to have a wife and family since he was a young teen. I realized that Kevin was an "old soul," and we were ready for the same things. I felt removed from their age and current life stage," she says. She and Paul married anyway, and over time the difference in maturity dissipated. A friend once told me that the acceptable age difference was half the older person's age plus seven. While I don't think it's important to adhere to an arbitrary formula when considering age in a potential relationship interestingly, when I met Kevin our age difference was exactly this ratio , I think it can be a good rule of thumb to help you consider if your relationship is appropriate.
A 37 year old dating a 25 year old is different from a 30 year old dating an 18 year old. I often tell people that Kevin and I met at the perfect time. He had graduated from college two months earlier, so we were both in the workforce fulltime. Even though Kevin didn't have as much life experience as I did, our daily lives basically looked the same.
If he had still been a "college kid," I might have had a hard time feeling like we were equals. And while the same life stage can seem to erase an age difference, Willy Wooten, a licensed marriage and family therapist, who has been counseling for over 30 years, encourages couples to think ahead. If you hit it off because you both love rock climbing, consider if that's something that will be part of your relationship for years to come.
Effect on the marital relationship. Another concern Leah had was whether she could submit to Travis as a spiritual leader. She says, "I asked myself, 'Will I be willing to submit even if his leadership is not as mature as I would like? If you're considering getting serious with someone significantly older or younger than yourself, these are important things to discuss. How will you address potential challenges, such as being on different biological timetables, one of you ending up a caretaker, the timing of children, or dealing with gaps in maturity?
Before I began dating Kevin, a woman I worked with in children's ministry frequently asked me about him, seeing potential from the start. Finally, one day I blurted, "But he's eight years younger! Age is just a number. The problems we were talking through — for example, what if someday our sex drives didn't match up?
We were just going to be more proactive about them. The bigger question was whether or not God was drawing us together. And while we could exercise wisdom in thinking through some of the unique challenges we might face, we could also trust Him with the details. Travis was also tentative when he first developed feelings for Leah. He explains that during his years at a Bible college, he gave his desire for a spouse over to the Lord and asked Him to determine who his wife would be.
After God prompted Travis to say the exact words Leah had been praying for, the answer seemed obvious. We wanted to be obedient to Him," he says. The couple still serves together in ministry and has two teenage sons. And as we spent more time together and I prayed about it, my worries disappeared. This evidence came in the form of confirmation from godly friends and family members, a shared heart for children's ministry, the natural discovery and deepening of our like-mindedness, and peace.
He Said-She Said: An Acceptable Age Difference in Dating Relationships
Is There Such a Thing as a Biblical Age Gap?
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