Marriage Culture

4. Age Difference

We currently have infidelity among the young before marriage, and divorce and remarriage among the older after marriage. The one leds into the other. Our culture could forestall much later trouble by encouraging a wider age difference in young couples. At present, our culture tolerates the middle aged man man courting a woman 15 years younger for a second marriage, but it does not tolerate the young man courting the teenage girl. Scince marriages are formed with fornication as the method of "romance", "pre-legal" girls are off limits! These girls are frustrated. Young men in their twenties often find themselves painfully attracted to these girls, but are ashamed to admit it. Relationships formed in this way are done without parental or societal blessing. Articles are written, condemning them as exploitative. The young man is considered to be exploiting the girl if he is older and economically more powerful than her. Our culture commends equal economic power for the woman and equal status, implying that relationships should be the same age. This is sexually frustrating as well as relationally and economically impractical. It seems less than optimal for sustaining lasting marriages among the greatest number of people.

Parents that encourage and economically establish 20's age suitors of teenage girls can encourage a "one-two economic punch" to marriages that I suspect will not only benefit the couples, but will also tend to produce greater economic growth in the culture as a whole. Such a culture can reward the woman with greater honor, mobility, and economic power as she grows older. The woman will find herself still young while her children are old enough to need less attention, and thus she can focus then on career goals. The man can relax his work schedule by then because he is empowered to do so by his increased career stature and by his wife's job. Then he can show more attention to his children in their teens, guiding and counseling them through the time when they will especially need his wisdom and disipline.

Older men can counsel younger men to seek younger wives, knowing how it will be as they get older- that they will find themselves attracted to women 20 years or more their junior. Of course, if self control is a virtue, it is a virtue on both ends of a man's life: when he is young and focusing on career goals and eschewing same aged or slightly younger women; and when he is older and more successful and admired by much younger women.

When young people meet and fall in love, it is a sweet and wonderfull thing, and certainly this is to be celebrated, in spite of the economic and sexual shortsightedness of the "romantic" factor, and regardless of opinions as to what age difference is best for the cultural norm. Nevertheless, parents should counsel their sons and duaghters, encourageing the "practical" aspects, while somewhat directing them with financial agreements. The parents can, if necessary, withhold some financial support for higher education or training, if their children are irresponsible with money or with relationships. At 18 years of age the children can make do with nominal parental support if they cannot abide by their parents' restrictions on their courtship and career choices. Parents can choose to increase support later when the young person especially needs help. After an effort to influence their children, they should later relent and help them with the direction that their children have chosen, even if it was one they thought impractical.


5. Outline
Home- Marriage Culture