Does age make a difference in marriage? We’ve heard from couples who ask if they’re too young or if there is a “right age” to get married. We’ve also had men and women ask us if a large age difference is really important—or if it just doesn’t matter.
Let’s start with the issue of how old you are when you get married.
Research has shown that the older a person is at the time of marriage, the higher the likelihood of having a positive experience in marriage.
Why? Because an 18-year-old is completely different from a 26-year-old. If you’re just 18 years old and wondering why your parents think you’re too young, understand that a huge amount of learning and maturing will happen to you in the next few years. You’ll be going off to college or starting your first real job. You’ll no longer be living under your parents’ roof. You’ll be finding yourself, learning about yourself, probably making some changes and adjustments. You also will be a bit more grown up and have more to give to your spouse. The older you are and the older your spouse, the more chance that both of you will have learned a few things and will be able to settle in and give to each other as opposed to draining each other.
You may not see it now, but if you decide to marry at age 18, your immaturity will become apparent very quickly. Not that you can’t make it work, you can. But giving yourself the buffer of a few more years of life experience and maturity will make you that much better in your marriage.
Now, what about couples of very different ages? When a guy is 45 and a girl is 25, God may indeed be bringing them together but they will have very different histories that they need to try to blend. Everything from their backgrounds to what happened during those decades of growing up, to music, to culture, to passages of life. One of the main problems we find with such couples is the inability to get “in sync” simply because of those differences.
Does this mean that a couple with ten, fifteen, or twenty years of age difference can’t make sense of a marriage? I think they can, but it’s much easier the older they are. For example, a 60-year-old marrying a 50-year-old will find it much easier to blend their histories than a 30-year-old marrying a 20-year-old.
Bottom line, take the time in your dating to get to know each other and to see if you really can get “in sync.” Be honest with yourselves. It is indeed important, especially if one of you is quite young. Think this one through very carefully before getting married.
*For more practical marriage advice, check out The Great Marriage Q&A Book. It's available in our online bookstore!