A suitable age difference for marriage? Yup, we’ve heard that one before. Many of us have grown up with an idealistic worldview that love is enough to make relationships last – a belief that guides our first romances. Then the pragmatic reality of life hits home. It takes a lot more than love and passion for two people to build a relationship strong enough to tide over the many ups and downs that life throws our way.
When choosing a life partner, we consider a spectrum of factors, ranging from income to personality traits, beliefs and life goals – even if subconsciously – to ascertain whether a potential love interest would make a compatible life partner.
Another key aspect that needs to be factored in is the age difference between a couple, because the ‘age is just a number’ adage is just not good enough to counter the complexities of married life.
Related Reading: 11 Things That Attract A Younger Woman To An Older Man
Can the Ideal Age Difference Make a Marriage Successful?
There is no universal formula that can guarantee happiness in a relationship or success in marriage. So all that chatter about the maximum or minimum age difference for marriage holds true, but only to a certain extent.
Every couple goes through its unique trials and tribulations, every couple finds a way to cope with the challenges life throws at them. Some survive, some don’t. That said, there are certain broad guidelines and generalized checklists that can help increase the odds of making a marriage work.
The ideal age difference for marriage is one such crucial component to take into account when making this all-important decision in your life.
We have all seen couples – be it celebrities or the people next door – enjoying a successful marriage despite a huge age gap, and we wonder if it can work for them, why not us?
Who hasn’t looked at Milind Soman and his 34-years-younger wife and wondered: why couldn’t we land a handsome, salt-and-pepper hunk like him? The girl was practically still in her diapers when our man was making half the country drool with his Made in India appearance.
Well, primarily because a majority of couples face problems due to a huge age difference between them. Which leads people to ask the question – “What is the best age difference for husband and wife?” Well, we will get to that in just a moment.
According to a study conducted at Emory University in Atlanta, USA, a significant age gap has been directly linked to higher chances of separation. This is a vital finding to take note of as marriages with vast age gaps are still quite prevalent in India, even though their occurrence may have come down in recent times. Unlike women from preceding generations, modern, educated Indian women are less likely to stay in an unhappy marriage accepting it ‘as their fate’.
What Is The Ideal Age Difference For Marriage?
Best age gap for marriage, you ask? Well look at it this way. Different age gaps work for different couples, depending on their priorities and what they seek in marriage. Whether you are an older woman with a younger man or a young girl arranged in a match with an older man, an age difference can significantly impact compatibility between a couple.
To help you decide what would be an appropriate age difference for marriage between you and your future life partner, depending on individual aspirations and priorities, let’s take a look at how different brackets of age gap impact a marriage:
5 to 7 years age difference for marriage
Many people believe that a 5-7 year age difference for marriage between spouses is ideal. But is it true that this particular age difference for marriage works? Let’s see why some people think so:
- Less ego clashes: People who are born closer together and fall in the same age group are more prone to ego clashes and fights. That’s why a 7 year age difference in marriage is exceptionally good
- One spouse is always more mature: If both the life partners are young at the time of marriage, a lack of maturity can mar the relationship even before its roots take hold. In this case, having a somewhat older spouse can bring more stability to the marriage. That is why this is the best age difference for husband and wife
- The man can catch up with the woman’s level of maturity: Women mature 3-4 years earlier than men, not just sexually but also mentally. So, if both partners are in the same age group or born closer together, the chances of them being on the same page emotionally, mentally, and physically are far less. However, with a 5-7 years age gap, that shouldn’t be so much of a problem.
10 year age difference in marriage
A 10-year age gap between spouses is stretching it a bit, but such marriages do have a decent shot at survival. A 10-year age difference marriage comes with its own set of pros and cons. Here are a few to consider before leaping into such a marriage:
- Maturity of the younger partner matters more in 10- year age difference marriage: The success of such a relationship largely depends on the age and maturity of the younger partner
- The younger partner might still have a lot of growing up to do: If the younger partner is in their early 20s, they still have a lot of growing up to do, because this is the age when real-life experiences hit you and can potentially transform your personality, beliefs, and priorities and affect the compatibility in a relationship
- There may be compatibility issues: Besides, a person who is in their 20s lacks maturity. Their partner who’d be in the 30s, on the other hand, has been through the grind and is likely to have a more mature, pragmatic outlook toward life. This can lead to a lot of clashes and compatibility issues.
- Both partners should be settled: A 10-year age difference marriage has a better shot of survival if both the partners are matured and settled in their lives
Related Reading: Is the 7-year itch in a relationship real?
It is imperative to take a call on such relationships after a lot of careful thinking and objective analysis. This may not be the best age gap for marriage, but it can definitely work. However, you still cannot be swayed by success stories of celebrity couples or Bollywood movies that have shown huge age gaps to be successful — a 10-year age difference marriage is not for everyone.
A thirty-five-year-old man married to a twenty-three-year-old girl who reached out to us makes a strong case in point. The couple had to separate due to severe compatibility issues. He said she could not relate to his friends who were raising children and rarely made an effort to socialize in his circle. He said it got to the point where they had no mutual friends and never spent their weekends together.
In this scenario, the success of a marriage comes down to compatibility and understanding between one another. You can make your marriage a success even with differences as long as both partners act with maturity as that is one of the biggest priorities in a relationship.
20 year age difference in marriage
We wouldn’t call this the perfect age difference between bride and groom but marriages such as this one, are not uncommon. With an age difference for marriage as big as this one, marriages can become stressful and often short-lived.
In the beginning, you may be riding high on the whole ‘love is blind‘ vibe, but as the honeymoon phase passes and reality kicks in, such marriages can be riddled with a host of issues. Any more than a two decade age gap and the issues only exacerbate. Truly consider this bracket the absolute maximum age difference for marriage or else the relationship problems will be endless. Some of the most common issues are:
Related Reading: Age is no barrier when you fall in love
- Compatibility: Which is a key component of any relationship, can be near-absent with such a significant age difference. Your expectations, outlook toward life, priorities, as well as physical abilities are markedly different from one another
- No commonality: You may have nothing in common with your partner, as you two belong to different generations altogether. The older ones in the relationship may have more in common with their partner’s parents
- The older partner might become dominating: With years of more life experience to fall back on, the older partner may assume a more dominating role in the relationship, always telling their spouse what to do and what not to do. This can make the other person feel like they’re living a father figure more than a life partner
- And the age only increases: As time goes by, the older spouse will begin to age whereas the younger one still has the gift of youth on their side. This can lead to insecurities and discord in the relationship
- Different levels of fitness and health: Of course, such a vast age gap means that both partners are at different spectrums of physical fitness and health, which can impact sexual compatibility
- Dealing with the older partner’s health problems: Coping with an older partner’s persistent health issues can take a toll on the caregiving spouse, and ultimately, the marriage
When it comes to deciding on something, neither of you will ever give the same answer because of different tastes and choices as you both belong to two different generations.
If you are in such a relationship, it may be a good idea to take a step back and evaluate whether the spark between you two is just a manifestation of sexual tension and sexual fantasies. There have been cases where couples with a 20-year age difference in marriage or even more have had successful, long-lasting relationships. But such instances are few and far between. So even though it is possible, we would not call this the best age difference for husband and wife.
Can Marriages With Huge Age Difference Last?
Arranged marriage statistics suggest that the relationship no age-gap rule is set in stone, but people of different ages can have successful marriages as long as they are compatible and share a level of understanding. Studies have found partners in a 10-year age difference marriage are often subject to social disapproval. While most people prefer a life partner who’s their age, a vast majority is open to the idea of spending their life with someone who is 10-15 years their junior or senior. In fact, in certain cultures and communities – like the Sami people from Finland – this age gap is considered ideal. So the perfect age difference between bride and groom varies for people.
Statistics also show that couples who manage to make it past the two-year mark are nearly 43% less likely to split up, irrespective of their age difference. So, even if you are in a marriage with a huge age gap or planning on one, working to divorce-proof your marriage can go a long way in making it work.
The key to a successful marriage despite age gaps is communication, mutual respect, love and stability. Even though the right age difference in marriage is a good guiding factor, the best age difference for husband and wife does not exactly exist. It all comes down to you and your love!