Health & Fitness

Shared interests good for couples

Who should be older between the husband and
Who should be older between the husband and wife is an emotive subject. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Does age matter when entering a marriage union? I plan to marry but my friends keep warning me that my choice of husband should be one at least five years older than myself because women mature faster than men.

When France won the World Cup recently, there was much talk about the French. One of the topics was about the football team and whether it was a French or African side.

At the end of the day, most people agreed to disagree. Some maintained that the World Cup was won by Africa while others said it belonged to France, and that Brigitte Macron (President Macron’s wife) was the true mother of the nation that had won the cup.

The First Lady was born on April 13, 1953 and taught her husband in school! She is 24 years older than the President and could have been his mother. They are said to love each other!

Across the Atlantic, we come across another couple that has made headlines. Donald Trump is 24 years older than his wife Melania! His youngest daughter Tiffany is aged 24. Which president is doing better; Trump or Macron? The jury is still out in this matter of age difference on presidents and their spouses.

As you can see, huge age differences either way do not seem to stop people from assuming the highest offices in the world! As the old saying goes, love does not have an age, colour, and some might add gender!

Coming back to the body of your question, it seems that you have two issues that arise. The first is to do with the fact that women mature earlier than men, and the second is whether this difference persists into adulthood in a manner that requires women to marry older men.

Taking the first matter first, there is no doubt that in adolescence; girls usually develop secondary sexual characteristics ahead of boys of the same age. Many girls in Std 8 are already getting their periods with big breasts.

Boys break their voices and start to grow hair in Form One and Two. By the age of 17, most boys have caught up with the girls and in most cases have become bigger, heavier and stronger. By form IV, the 18 year olds are all mature, at least physically.

The next question is more complex. Most people “plan to get married” as a result of emotional changes that take place over time. The question you now seek us to address is “how long do the emotional differences between men and women last?” Are women ready for marriage earlier than men? If they are, how long do the differences last and how do they affect the stability of marriages?

These are many questions and as you would expect, there is no simple or obvious answer.

In Kenya, there are a number of well-known public figures who got married for the first time in their 50s. From what we can tell, their unions seem to have gone well and even blossomed over time. Traditional wisdom would tell us that marriage after 50 years would pose challenges.

At the age of 26, a Mr Mbugua married a 65 year old widow (Wambui Otieno). From all appearances, they seem to have led a harmonious life till death did them part. One could go on with such examples if only to make the point that in some circumstances, the age at which one gets married does not seem to matter.

All the foregoing said, many people argue that it helps if one marries a partner with whom he or she shares some interests. Such could include values that the couple plans to instill in their children.

These might also include other things they might do together in future such as travel or sports. As anybody over the age of 55 will testify, energy levels go down quickly with age. Running after five year old children at this age might pose a serious challenge if not danger!

At the end of the day, however, whether one marries a partner five or 10 years younger or older is a matter of personal choice and individuals involved.