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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Does Age Matter in Marriage? How Does An Older Wife Submit to and Respect a Younger Husband?!?

    Nikka at 38 (2014)                         Dong at 30 (2000)   
What if I was older than Dong? Would it matter? 

They say, "Age is but a number." (At 38, I am led to believe this saying! I feel like 27!)

They also say, "Love knows no age." (Dong is seven years older than me. So, I believe this too!)

In this respect and submission journey, it is relatively "easier" to respect and submit to an older man, than it is to submit to a younger one. The age factor makes it a bit more "natural" to do so (although one still has to decide to biblically submit -- the real "natural" or carnal desire is for the wife to control her husband as part of Eve's curse for disobeying God, regardless of age - Genesis 3:16) .

We were so young here. 21 and 28 - 1998
I say this, based on my own life experience as a rebellious and unsubmissive wife to Dong, considering that he was already older than me. Although seven years younger, I still felt that I was more mature than him, and that I had to take charge and lead the family because he was (to my mind) clueless and lacking in direction. I could only thank God that Dong was not my age or was much younger than me! I would have totally emasculated him, nagged him to death, and driven him nuts! His being older by seven years was a great deterrent for me NEVER to go overboard. I was "disrespectful", but only in so far as always wanting to be in charge, but never as far as dishing out orders, being overbearing, or mothering him. 

       Dong rarely gets mad at me,   so when he does, I take notice!                    
It also helped that though my husband was passive and soft-spoken, he was never a wimp. I remember one instance when I was very disrespectful towards him early in our marriage, pre-children. I was hormonal and the weather was soooo hot that time. I was not in the best of moods, and I gave him the "talk to the hand" gesture, because I did not feel like talking to him while he was asking me a question. I got a good earful from him to not treat him that way! His voice was loud and his face was really angry(and he rarely raised his voice nor got angry)! That memory stayed with me. I did not want Dong that mad at me ever again! Since I was generally respectful of people older than me (It's the Filipina in me. We are taught to respect our elders.), I was very wary NEVER to cross that fine line between just being stubborn to being "bastos" or rude towards him.
In the Bible, the normal marriage was that of a younger woman married to an older or MUCH older man. This was the norm. It still is in all parts of the world.

1) Adam and Eve 

Genesis 1:27 indicates that God created man and woman within the span of the "sixth day" (Genesis 1:31), along with the other land-based creatures. The Genesis 2 account seems to expand upon that with all the various potential helpers for the man, Adam. There wasn't one that was just right, though, for Adam, so Eve was created. Now, if Adam was created before all the beasts, and Eve was created after, and it all happened on the sixth day of creation, the maximum amount of time involved would be about 12 hours -- sunrise to sunset, at least by today's standards. 

This all assumes, of course, that the days in Genesis 1 are literal, 24-hour days, with an "hour" and a "day" being of roughly equal length to what we now consider an "hour" and a "day."                    (Galilee Dawn - Wiki Answers)

                AGE DIFFERENCE: Adam older than Eve by a few hours 

2) Abraham and Sarah
With God, everything is possible!

Based on Genesis 18: "Three days later, three men approached Abraham’s tent. He invited them in and Sarah went to prepare food for them. She was listening from the opening of the tent, however, when one of the "men," who were really messengers from God, predicted that she would have a child. She laughed; after all, she was 90 years old and Abraham nearly 100! Yet God predicted that in one year, she would give birth. One year later, when Abraham was 100, Sarah’s son, Isaac, was born." (Jewish Virtual Library)

                AGE DIFFERENCE: Abraham older  than Sarah by ten years

3) Mary and Joseph 
                                                                 Source: Jesus Pictures

"How old Saint Joseph was at the time he married Mary is a question of great interest to the modern mind because of the conflicting ideas expressed on this subject. For many centuries the idea prevailed that Joseph was an old man of eighty years when he married. Even today in some of our churches there are still statues and pictures that would appear to corroborate this view.It is interesting to note that the earliest known paintings or pieces of sculpture in the catacombs show Joseph as a young man, probably no more than twenty-five years old. This trend continued until the fourth century. But from that time almost to modern times, Mary's husband is pictured as a man of advanced years."(

Most sources say that Mary was around 14 years old to 14 and a half when she got married to Joseph.
AGE DIFFERENCE:  Depending on the source, Joseph could be older than Mary by 11 years or 66 years, or even more!!! What an age gap!
Esther and the King

There is also the marriage of Ruth to the much older Boaz, Rachel to the older Jacob, Rebekah to the older Abraham, young Jewish Esther to the much older King.... 

Their common denominator was that they were all younger women married to older (or much older) men.

* * * * * * *

The Bible does not prohibit against marriages wherein the woman is older than the man, but I am assuming that there is a bit of a challenge with this type of setup, given that women under the curse of Eve really have it in their sinful nature to want to rule over their men -- and a younger husband, if he is not godly or mature, will really be ruled over, almost definitely by his older, unsubmissive wife!
My theory may have some tinge of truth in it, because according to a very recent study....

"Researchers found that men mature 11 years later than their female counterparts at the ripe age of 43.

Researchers looking into the differences in maturity between genders revealed that both men and women believe that males remain "immature" well into their late 30s and early 40s, according to the Daily Mail.

On the other hand, the study found that women mature completely at the age of 32.
Grow up! Will Ferrell and John C. Reily played immature men who still lived with their parents in the comedy, 'Step Brothers'.

The poll revealed that eight out of ten women believe that men "never stop being childish" about passing gas, burping, eating fast food late at night and playing videogames.

Dong has always been a gamer waaaaay before he met me. I have made peace with it. Hehe:)  He plays to unwind and to think. I used to think he was addicted to it! To bond with him, I sometimes play video games too like the zombie game he got me, which I surprisingly enjoyed and finished! :)

Other signs of immaturity include staying silent during arguments, not being able to cook a simple meal, and repeating the same old jokes and stories when they're with the guys.

It's not just women who think men are childish.  Men themselves were nearly twice as likely to describe themselves a immature than women, with one in four men admitting that they are actively immature.

However, being immature isn't just fun and games.  The survey found that three in ten women have ended a relationship because they lost patience with their partner for being too immature. Nearly half of women have been in a relationship in which they felt they had to "mother" their partner, according to the UK survey. In fact, the survey found that the average female respondent had to tell her partner to "act his age" more than once a month and at least 14 times a year.

The poll found that women were twice as likely as men to feel that they were the "adult" in their current relationship, and one in four women felt they were the ones who made all the important decisions in the relationships. 

Researchers note that there are some benefits to being immature.   The survey revealed that four in ten people say immaturity is sometimes important because it ensures that the relationship stays fun and fresh, and one in three people believe immaturity helps in bonding with children.
                                                                         Source: Counsel & Heal - Mental Health

Of course, there will always be exceptions to the rule, wherein the younger husbands are more mature than their older wives (and I have witnessed this firsthand), but generally, I think most would agree with me that the situation of a younger man married to an older woman is ripe and fertile ground for much DISRESPECT -- especially if the wife does not believe in biblical submission.

 The Bible however, did not make distinctions between older and younger women when it came to respecting one's husband and submitting to him as God's ordained authority in marriage.

1. Submit to God first, then to your husband second.

Ephesians 5:22-33 (NIV)

22 Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything.
There is much peace and freedom to be gained when we follow what God commands. Submitting unto God means stopping our rebellion and our independent streaks which make us want to pursue our plans, our ambitions, our lives, separate from Him. Submitting unto God means desiring what God wants, pursuing what God pursues, and doing only what God has planned for us. It takes great maturity and an intimate relationship with God to know just what He wills for each person.

After submitting unto God, if married, one has to then submit fully to one's husband. It takes great faith to submit ourselves under God-ordained authority! Submitting unto our husbands means trusting that God will manifest His Will in our lives and lead us through our imperfect spouses, Whom He had appointed as heads of our homes. It doesn't matter if he is younger, he still was appointed by God as your leader. You follow your Heavenly Leader by following your earthly leader, and leave it to God to lead you through His established line of authority, your husband.  

2. Respect the "uniform" or the position, if you cannot respect the person (yet).
                                                Manny Pacquio (3rd from left), our world-class boxing champ is                                                    
a reservist master sergeant in the Philippine Army. 
Even without the uniform though, he is most respected! :)

                                  1 Peter 3: 1-2 (WE)

Wives, respect and obey your husbands in the same way. Then the husbands who do not obey the word of God will want to know God. They will want to know God because their wives live good lives, even though they say nothing about God. They will see that you live holy lives and respect your husbands.
If all he does is play Nintendo the whole day, or does not have a livelihood, or drinks himself silly with his buddies whenever he feels like it, it really would be difficult to respect such a man! In such case, pray to God to show you your husband's good qualities, those worthy of respect: Is he good at his job? Is he kind towards the children? Does he help you with the chores even when you don't ask him to? Does he treat his mother well? For sure, there is something admirable about him, or else you wouldn't have married him!

Pray to God to stop and change your bitter and condescending spirit, in order that you can truly respect your husband, even when he is at the moment, not respectable from your perspective. "Respect the uniform" or respect his position, even if he is younger. He may be acting like a slob or a mama's boy at the moment, but he still is your God-ordained authority. 

                 God hasn't changed His mind on this one. 

However, you, dear sister, could start asking God to change how you view your husband and ask the Holy Spirit to convict you of any sin you may be knowingly or unknowingly cherishing in your heart, which may include pride, self-righteousness or being judgmental.

Eventually, with God's Help, the frustrated wife, with much prayer and humility, will eventually be able to respect not just the "uniform", but the man wearing the "uniform". It begins with a change in attitude regarding one's husband and his God-ordained role in the family.

3. Resist the urge to mother him or control him.

Genesis 2:18
The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him."
Ephesians 4:29 (ESV)
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

Remember we are not the Holy Spirit! It is not in our job description to convict and change our husbands into the men God wants them to become. That is God's Job. Stop acting like God needs you to do His Job. In all honesty, God doesn't "need" us. We need Him. So, let us focus on our own roles and learn to control ourselves instead of controlling others, especially our husbands.

When we act like their mothers, talk like their mothers and want to "train" them to be the mature men we want them to be, like their mothers... we are creating disorder in the home by becoming the wrong kind of authority over our husbands (parental/maternal). If you married your young husband to gain a son, yikes! :(

Let your words be helpful without being patronizing. Let your actions be helpful without infantilizing. Let your thoughts be helpful without judging. You are his wife. You may be motherly and nurturing, and yes, he may be younger than you are, but you were not created to be his mother! You were created to be his help meet! You did not give birth to him!
4. Allow him to be his own man and to mature in his own time.
A defunct Philippine TV show of a  man who is under the dominion of his wife.

Sirach 25 (GNT)

22 When a man is supported by his wife, there is sure to be anger, arrogance, and humiliation. 23 A bad wife will make her husband gloomy and depressed, and break his heart. Show me a timid man who can never make up his mind, and I will show you a wife who doesn't make her husband happy.

2 Peter 1:6
and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness,
If you married a younger man, I am assuming you knew what you were getting into when you did so. If you knew him to be a little immature, a little indecisive, a little too wild for your taste, well... face it, dear sister. That was the man you married!

Like all things and people, we all mature/grow older eventually. Leaves dry up. New gadgets get old. Immature people eventually learn -- either through their own experiences or from just living long enough to observe other people's lives -- to act their age. It takes longer for others to do so... but we all get there eventually.

If we are to believe the new study I mentioned above, take heed, don't despair, by age 43, he will eventually mature! :)

Seriously, regardless of the age of our husbands, we have to learn to focus on changing ourselves and deepening our faith in God, and to always be wary of not looking down our noses at our husbands. Yes, we are their helpers. Yes, we are one with them by virtue of marriage, but we still have our own separate walks with Christ. We can only encourage and support them, but we cannot and should never live their lives for them.

Just because they are younger does not mean the older wives, being the more "mature" ones, have to save them from hurt, from disappointment, from pain, from LIFE in general. Let the younger husband have his own thoughts, dreams, ambitions, plans of action. They may not appear viable or practical from an older person's point of view at times, but instead of countering him, pray for him in order for God to bless and direct Him in all areas of his life.

Let your boy turn into a man, without interfering.

Let God do the honing and training. Your only job is to help your husband fulfill God's plans for him, but not by impatiently forcing him to man up! You do this  by truly respecting your man. If you truly respect your man, even if he is younger than you, eventually, he will act like a man and be a man... thanks to his supportive and loving woman!

5. Be a "Titus woman".

Titus 2:3-5(ESV)

Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled.

This is the perfect verse for the older woman. :) 

If the older wife wants to please God, she should be submissive to her own younger husband in order for God's Word to not be maligned. Nothing badmouths God's Word more than a controlling and overbearing wife! This is just not God's design for marriage at all! NO, it doesn't mean not having a say in anything. NO, it doesn't mean being  doormat or a mindless Stepford wife. What it does mean is a LOT of self-control and bridled strength, where the wife gives way to let her husband be the head of the family, because that is God's design for marriage. The man is the head and the woman submits to her head. In my previous post, I wrote that the husband is the head and the wife is the neck. She supports the head. :)

As a Titus 2 elder woman, one should control one's tongue (not be a slanderer) and one's habits (not be a slave to much wine). She should also teach what is good by training younger women to love their husbands and children. She should be kind and keep a tidy home. It doesn't mean that she should never hold a job, but in the event she does work outside of home, she should still make her husband and children a priority. And most of all, as was already mentioned above and so many times in this blog, she should be submissive to her husband in order for the Word of God to NOT be blasphemed.


Let me end this by saying that what is true for the younger women with older husbands holds true too for the older women with younger husbands.

Age is really but a number and love really knows no age, even in biblical submission.  

What is important is that we live up to fulfilling our God-ordained roles. As long as we focus on Jesus and on His Commandments for us husbands and wives, I believe that regardless of age, we will be able to experience much peace and joy in our marriages. :) 

There will come a time when the young husbands won't be young anymore...

Job 12:12

"Wisdom is with aged men, With long life is understanding.

And there will come a time when, by God's Grace, the "immature" husbands will become aged and godly "Titus men".

Titus 2:2

2 Older men are to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, 
and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

* * * * * * *
Be the (older) godly wife who would stand by her (younger) spouse as God transforms him into the man/husband/father God wants him to be! :)

Don't stand in God's Way! 

May we all be richly blessed! :) 

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