Does a difference in age matter between husband and wife?

Does a difference in age matter for believers considering marriage?

"The husband is the head of the wife" (Ephesians 5:23) and is therefore responsible to provide leadership in this relationship. The wife, while submitting to this leadership which God has established, is her husband’s "helpmate" (Genesis 2:18, JND) or "counterpart" (YLT). She is not subservient, for a wife and husband are equal partners, "heirs together of the grace of life" (1 Peter 3:7).

If the woman is several years older, her greater emotional maturity and wisdom, developed through the experiences of life, make it more difficult for the man to lead. If the man is considerably older, his leadership may become controlling, inconsistent with the relationship of a husband and his "counterpart." Admittedly, the initial difference in maturity is not always as great as the difference in age, especially when the younger person is over 40.

When a relationship begins to develop between a couple whose ages differ considerably, they should give special attention to the way in which leadership develops between them. If the difference in age causes them to assume roles outside the boundaries God has designed (the man as leader, the woman as counterpart), the couple is wise to quickly discontinue their relationship. Violating God’s design produces a troubled relationship.

It’s fair to consider that later a sizeable age difference may cause the younger spouse premature aging, bereavement, and loneliness.

D. Oliver