BIBLICAL SUPPORTS FOR WOMEN MARRYING YOUNGER MEN
BY EBENEZER AFOLABI
ebenezerafolabi54 @ gmail.com
The idea of women marrying younger men is becoming popular in our days, but its
acceptability has been strongly challenged. It is not really a big deal in the western world, but
it is a big deal in some places in Africa. It still remains a strange and unacceptable idea in
Africa and everyone seem to envisage nothing more than problems in such union. My
question is: what is actually wrong with such a union? Does the Bible support such marriage?
Is there any guarantee for success in such a union or everyone should expect problems in the
long-run? Come with me as I make my opinion known to you in this article.
Things are changing, paradigms are challenged, and values have been distorted in the
name of freedom. Is freedom actually the permission to do what we want to do or it is the
liberty to do what we ought to do? In my opinion, I think the latter is correct. Freedom is the
liberty to do what is ought to be done. However, in regard to age differences between couples
in marriage, what is the ideal? Is there any standard to follow in regard to age differences
among couples? Does age really change anything or affects anything?
To start with, it is a generally accepted norm in almost every human society that men
(husbands) should be older than their wives. This is not because God gave a specific
instruction concerning this, but it has been an acceptable practice among men throughout
history. You might want to say but God created man first, and that should be a precedence we
must follow in marriage. Yes, you are right by saying God created the man first and He made
him the head of the family. But may I ask you to tell me the age difference between Adam
and Eve. I guess you cannot be so sure, and I believe God did not create any other thing after
the sixth day. Therefore, Adam and Eve could have been created the same day. That is by the
Like I said earlier, it is a generally accepted norm that men should be older than their
wives. But what should be the age difference between them? No specific age
difference.However, my focus actually is to create a balance here and to help those who are
in such relationships where the woman is older than the man to actually get things right.
Several relationships where the woman is older than the man - especially in Africa - are
facing rejections, oppositions, and mockery because people feel such relationships are against
norms, and they should not be accepted. In fact, some people chose to call it a 'taboo'. Like I
said earlier, this may not really be an issue in the Western world, because of the 'anything
goes' kind of life people live over there and the freedom of choice the constitution has given
everyone. But if you think you feel good with such relationship, isn't it still good to wait a
minute to count the cost? Please don't get me wrong; I do not say it is evil for a woman to
marry a younger man, but I think it is advisable for both parties to critically count the cost
first. I understand that love transcends all the mockery, rejections and any ugly thing you
might face, yet there is need for critical consideration.
According to 2012 Census Bureau data, 85.9 percent of husbands are older than or about
the same age as their wives. That leaves 14.2 percent of all husbands who are at least two
years younger than their wives. Two important questions we must ask ourselves are: Is there
any danger in such a marriage where wives are older than their husbands? What is the role
age is playing in making the marriage work? Before we answer the above question, let's
consider some of the excuses people give for rejecting such unions.
Below are some of the excuses people give for rejecting such unions:
1. Cultural Excusesrlt is against our culture and tradition, they often say. People tend to
disagree with such union because it is not an acceptable practice in their culture. To make
things worse for the lovers, the people would announce a terrible consequence that will befall
anyone who acts contrary to the acceptable norms within that culture. Cultural beliefs may be
a major barrier to such a union. However, some cultures are more flexible than the others.
Cultural beliefs might be one of the strongest arguments against this kind of union. However,
along with cultural beliefs of the people involved in this union is the Consensus Gentium of
the people within the culture where the relationship is taking place. Consensus Gentium is
from the Latin word meaning the agreement of the people. It is an ancient criterion for
decision making among a group of people who practices the same culture. Consensus
Gentium is also referred to as the climate of opinion, community sentiment, general belief,
conventional wisdom, prevailing sentiment, etc. Consensus Gentium therefore carries a
weight of authority in decision making, especially among those who have cultural affiliations.
Consequently, if the union is against the community sentiment or the general belief of the
people, they may likely raise their eyebrows against such union.
2. Religious Excuses: I read a blog post of recent of a young lady who is deeply in love
with a younger man, but her mother-in-law to be insisted that they would never marry each
other because there is no place in the Bible to justify such a practice. The lady voiced out to
see if anyone can actually help her find a place in the Bible to support her relationship with
her lover and to convince her mother-in-law. This is a serious issue. She is not the only one
having such experience. I know of two people who are also deeply in love with each other,
but also have a similar story. The lady is 30 while the guy is 28. The mother of the lady and
her pastor had insisted for over three years now that they would not support such union. The
pastor also said there is no place in the Bible where such happened. Well, if that's what you
are passing through too, I am here for you. I can help you out by the grace of God. Religion is
also a strong factor in this kind of relationship. We are intrinsically religious, especially in
Africa. Therefore, if such a practice or any practice is against the ethos of the religion, it will
be challenged, discouraged and disallowed.
3. Biological/Physiological Excuses: if you are a woman and you marry a younger man,
you will soon look older than him, and you may not be attracted to him again. That's what
people will tell you. For the woman, she may have to put more efforts to be able to meet the
sexual need of her husband. She gets tired after a very hectic day, she goes to prepare dinner
for her family, and her husband needs her in bed. You can imagine how tired she would be
after a very hectic day and also attending to domestic works, and yet, her husband needs her
in bed. Research has shown that men want sex three times more than women. He wants it
almost every day, but she is too tired, and you must also consider her age too. As her age
increases, her strength begins to decline. In some cases sexual intercourse can even become
painful for older women, and stress may lead to frigidity. Stress makes sex life suffer; it can
lower your sex drive.
According to a recent medical research,cougar dating will increase the mortality rate of
the women involved. Although, scientists had done great jobs in helping older people to
continue to experience an active sex life. The truth is that some are not even aware of this
new development. So if she could not meet her husband's sexual need, she may have to share
her husband with a younger lady somewhere. Aside that, some people feel older women may
not be as romantic and sexy as young ladies would. Although, this assumption has greatly
been contested by medical experts, but when we look at the matter holistically, the two
parties (those who believe older women are not romantic and those who say they are sexually
active even at old ages) are making sensible points - it's just a matter of perspectives. As she
gets older you begin to notice wrinkles on her face, her boobs becoming saggy, and other
physiological changes that may vastly make younger men to prefer younger ladies to older
ones begin to occur in her. These are some of the biological or physiological excuses people
give for discouraging such peculiar unions. These excuses may look flimsy to some people,
but I feel there is still need for a critical consideration of the whole matter.
4. Attitudinal Excuses: this is the excuse that she would not be submissive to her
younger husband. I personally believe that submission and respect are not the functions of
age; they are issues with personalities. Although, the consciousness of the age difference
among the two lovers may affect their attitudes to each other. But I suggest that the older
woman should be ready to give up her age, so to say, and willingly accept the headship of her
younger man. She must always remember that she is not his mother, but a wife. If she had
agreed to be the wife of a younger man, then she must put on the attitude of submission,
humility and respect for her younger husband.
5. Social Excuses: this is the excuse that she may not really be as social as younger
ladies would. They will definitely have difference social preferences. That aside, you as a
younger man, will you really feel at home with her friends and colleagues whom you know
are older than you and they are your wife's friends? These are the excuses people often give
for rejecting such unique marriages. I call it a "unique marriage".
What is the role age is playing in making marriage work? Can we find a support in the
Bible for this unique marriage? What should be the age limit? Is there any danger involved if
a woman marries a younger man? These are the few questions I want to briefly answer in this
Let me start with the first question: what is the role age is playing in making marriage
work? Age in my opinion, is not one of the major factors that determine whether a marriage
will be successful or not. It does play a significant role, no doubt. However, in true
friendship, age does not really count. Nobody emphasizes who is the oldest. Rather, the two
people involved in the friendship just relate freely, not emphasizing seniority or superiority.
This should be the same in the marriage where love reigns.
What determines headship in any human society is not always age; it is the role the
individual recognized as the head plays at the time that makes him the head. For instance, I
am a Pastor; a young pastor, and at least 40 percent of my congregation is far older than me,
yet I am the head. I am the head (the leader) simply because of the role I play in the church.
The same goes to the marriage where the woman is older than the man. In this kind of
marriage, the man still plays the role of a husband, while the woman plays the role of a wife.
No one can reverse the order. No matter the age difference, no culture, tradition or people
will ever give the role of a husband to the woman because she is older.
Similarly, the man does not become the husband because he is older; he is the husband
because he is the man of the house and that automatically makes him the head. Therefore, age
does not determine the success of any marriage; maturity, love and understanding do. Age is
just the chronological gap between the two people.
Question two: can we find anything to support this kind of union in the Bible? I would
say YES! I guess this is strange to you. Let me put you through some mental puzzles. But I
can't find anything like that in the Bible, you say. I will show you soon. Just go along with
In Deuteronomy 25:5, Moses said, "If brothers are living together and one of them dies
without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband's brother shall take
her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her" (NIV). This is called
"Levirate Marriage." It is the custom of a widow marrying her deceased husband's brother or
sometimes a near heir. It was a practice among the Jews. Now let's take our first example of
such. Genesis 38 records that Judah has three sons: Er, Onan, and Shelah. Er married Tamar,
but Er was wicked in the LORD'S sight, so the LORD put him to death. Therefore, by
custom, Onan would marry Tamar in order to fulfill his duty to her as a brother-in-law to
produce offspring for his brother Er. Onan also did what was wicked before the LORD, so the
LORD put him to death too. Since Onan could not produce an offspring for his late brother,
then Tamar should be given to Shelah to marry.
Now listen to what Judah said in verse 1 1 : "Judah then said to his daughter-in-law Tamar,
"Live as a widow in your father's house untilmy son Shelah grows up." (Emphasis added).
This text suggests to us that Shelah could have been younger than Tamar, but custom makes
it mandatory for Shelah to marry Tamar. A paraphrase: Judah said to Tamar, relax! The
young man is yours, but he is still very young for that now. Live in your father's house until
my son Shelah grows up. Judge for yourself now from what you've read above. Who is older?
It is crystal clear that Tamar would be older than Shelah if they eventually got married.
Example two: Luke Chapter 20:27-36 records a fantastic discussion between the
Sadducees and Jesus. It is also about levirate marriage. The Sadducees quoted Deuteronomy
25:5, and sought Jesus' opinion on the text. Let's go through the discussion carefully. Verses
29 to 31 reads: "Now there were seven brothers. The first one married a woman and died
childless. The second and then the third married her, and in the same way the seven died,
leaving no children. " You will observe that Jesus never told the Sadducees that such
marriage is wrong - I mean levirate marriage. Now here is the point: We do not have a
command in the Bible regarding the age gap that should be between husbands and wives.
However, for the sake of this discussion, let's make Abraham and Sarah our case study.
Abraham was about ten years older than Sarah. Genesis 17:17 reads: 'Abraham fell
facedown; he laughed and said to himself, "Will a son be born to a man a hundred years old?
Will Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?" So let's take the age difference between
Abraham and Sarah as the standard they followed in their days. In other words, we want to
assume that in their days, a man must be at least ten years older than his wife. Now let's
consider the age gaps that will be among children in the days of Bible characters.
We cannot be too sure of the age gaps among children in the Bible days, but let's take
Moses and Aaron as the standard. Exodus 7:7 records that Aaron was three years older than
Moses. So, for the sake of this discussion, let's assume that there was always three years
interval between siblings in the Bible days. Now let's go back to Jesus' discussion with the
Let's assume that the first husband was ten years older than his wife. Now he has six
younger brothers. He died childless and tradition says the younger brother marry his wife -
levirate marriage. Now, by the assumption above, the younger brother would be at least three
years younger, and the same goes on and on like that. If the woman could not have a child
through the first of the six surviving brothers, she goes to the next, until she has a child
through any of the six brothers.
Let's assume that she bore no child for the first four out of the six, and there were three
years interval each among the brothers, then she would go to the fifth. Now, how old will the
fifth brother be? That means the woman will be five years older than the fifth brother. Do you
understand? I suggest you go through the thought above again. Subtract three from ten in five
places; the answer you get is minus five. This means the woman would be five years older
than the fifth brother.
My Reservations: I really want to express my reservations for this kind of marriage. I
have read several blog posts on the internet about women marrying younger men. They all
claimed to be deeply in love with one another, but I think there is still need for thoughtful
considerations in this matter. In some of the posts I read earlier, I read of some women who
married men who are 10 years, 15 years, and even 20 years younger than them. I think such
age gaps are outrageous, crazy, ridiculous and weird. I perceive that in most cases, what
could lead to such marriage includes: lewdness, lust, infatuation, frustration, wrong self-
judgment, selfishness and greed. Pretense is not far from such union.
From my observations, I deduced that most of the men who agreed to go into this kind of
marriage are up to something. Perhaps the woman has what he is desperately in need of. In
most cases the woman carries the greatest burden and pays the highest price in order to
ensure the marriage works. She is always afraid of losing her younger husband to younger
ladies in the future. The early days of their marriage may look rosy and fantastic, but as year
passes by, fear sets in. The younger man begins to see the falling physique of his older wife
and as a result, the older spouse may no longer look appealing to him. As she's growing
older, you begin to see wrinkles all over her face, her boobs becoming saggy and a lot of
physiological changes begin to occur in her. Can you imagine how a woman who is 15 years
older than her husband will be in 15 years' time? A study had shown that women who are
seven to nine years older than their husbands have a 20% higher mortality risk than if they
were the same age.
Come on! Let's be realistic; such age gaps (10, 15, 20 years older) are crazy and
ridiculous. They may both enjoy the euphoria of love in the early days of their marriage, but
as year passes by, these realities will be done on them. Remember the old saying: "If love is a
dream, marriage is the alarm clock."
However, I understand that love transcends all these inadequacies, but love does not deny
reality. The marriage can still work in spite of the vast age differences, but much effort is
needed. The bottom line is that the duo should carefully count the cost and not be carried
away by the fantastic illusion that surrounds love. I am not trying to dethrone love; love is a
key and indispensable factor that determines the success of any marriage. However, there is
need for the couple to consider their choices again.
Therefore, this is my submission: there is nothing actually wrong with women marrying
younger men, if they both feel good about it. What matters is love and understanding. If you
are in it already and you feel okay with it, go ahead and enjoy the cruise. If you are just
coming into it, consider your choice critically and allow God to guide you. If you are deeply
and sincerely in love with each other, but the female counterpart is older and you are
confused if the Bible supports such a practice, I think I have been able to help in that. The
Bible does not give us any instruction regarding age difference, and I do not think such is
against the scriptures. It is all your choice; but your choice needs to be given a critical
FIVE WARNINGS FOR WOMEN DATING YOUNGER MEN
1. Do not do it out of frustration or desperation: many of the women who goes into
such relationship do so simply because of frustration and desperation. Perhaps they
think they are already getting older and they may be left unmarried. As a result, they
accept any man who comes their ways and who seems to be meeting their emotional
needs. Another reason why older ladies may agree to marry younger men can be due
to their past ugly experiences. Perhaps they've once loved and trusted a particular
man and he jilted them. As a result, when younger men come their ways and they feel
they (the younger men) are responsible and they can fill the vacuum their 'exes' left,
they might give the younger men the chance to come into their lives to merely play
the substitutionary roles. If you marry because of frustration or desperation, you may
end up marrying a mere 'service provider' and not a loving husband. A 'service
provider' is there only to meet your emotional and sexual needs. Having rendered the
service for which you allow him into your life, what happens next? Think about that.
Marrying out of frustration or desperation is unhealthy and it can be hazardous.
2. Do not go into dating for sexual reason only: some older ladies are of the opinion
that younger men will be more sexually active and romantic than older men. This may
not be true in all cases anyway. Having sexual satisfaction has more to do with
enlightenment and experience. It is possible for the younger man to have more
strength and energy than the older one, but if he lacks the skills involved in giving
sexual satisfaction, he may just expend his energy and still not satisfy her woman.
That is by the way. There is more to love and marriage than sex. Now I want you to
know that this article is not written for those who women who hang around younger
men just for the fun of it or merely to use the younger men as their sex machine. I am
addressing those who are seeking to enter into lifelong marital relationships.
Therefore, my advice to you older ladies who are in love with younger guys is that
you dare not enter into a lifelong commitment with him mainly for sexual reasons -
not because you need someone to gratify your sexual desire.
3. Carefully weigh the Pros and the Cons: no doubt, every marriage has its own
challenges and monsters to conquer. However, there is need to critically and honestly
consider the 'Pros' and the 'Cons' before going into such marriage. This kind of
marriage has its own share of problems and its peculiarity will inevitably open it up to
several challenges. According to a recent research, women who marry men seven to
nine years their juniors have a 20 per cent higher mortality risk than women who
marry men their own age. Marrying a younger man may keep your feeling young, but
he might be hard to relate to on the other hand. Because of the age disparity, both of
you may not have many life experiences in common and this may prove difficult to
find common ground to stand on. I am of the opinion that there are certain things
books will not teach you; it takes age and experiences to know them. Therefore older
ladies or women may have difficulties in relating with their younger men at some
points. Enlisting the Pros and the Cons of this kind of union is not the main focus of
this article. Therefore, I enjoin those involved in it to weigh the beautiful and the ugly
side of the union before diving into it. How long will the love last once buttocks sag
and double chins set in? This involves not only the older woman now, but both the
younger man and the older woman.
4. Never compare him with your Ex: it is certain that older ladies must have been in
some relationships in the past, and with each relationship comes different emotional,
social or sexual experiences. Perhaps the younger manseem not to measure up with
your ex or exes in some areas; it is unhealthy to compare him with them. You must be
willing to accept him as he is and patiently walk with him until he could meet some of
your expectations - don't expect him to meet all your expectations. That may not be
5. Do not treat him as your younger brother; treat him as your husband: avoid the
temptation of wanting to treat your younger man like a younger brother. He is not a
younger brother as long as marriage is concern. Though the age gap may be vast, but
when it comes to marriage, the man assumes the responsibility of the head.
Regardless of the age difference between both of you, he deserves respect and
adoration from you. You must be submissive to him as a matter of necessity, so that
both of you can have a joyous and enduring marital experiences. Finally, before you
dive into this marriage, you must remember that there are prices to pay, challenges to
face, things to endure, and as you know, the Bible does not support divorce under any
circumstances except for marital unfaithfulness. Therefore, critically count the cost,
be sure your man is ready and willing to stay with you and remain faithful to your
marital vows even when double chins sets in, your breasts become saggy and your
buttocks also sags. Do not shy away from this reality, because dating a younger man
can make you feel like you are in a vocation from reality. Always remember the old
saying: "if love is a dream, marriage is the alarm clock."
Perhaps your marriage is falling apart and you have tried all you could to keep things
together, but you keep seeing your efforts becoming futile, I will like to introduce you to the
greatest and matchless mender. His name is JESUS. He can heal the brokenhearted, restore
love and peace to your home, deliver your spouse from drugs and porno- addiction, show the
way to make things work for you, and ultimately, He wants to save your soul from hell.
If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart that God
raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Say this prayer with me: Lord Jesus, I thank you
for your love for me and for shedding your blood to save me. Jesus, today, I confess you with
my mouth that you are my Lord and Savior, and I believe that God raised you from the dead.
Jesus, save my soul, save my marriage, and make me yours forever. Thank you for saving
me. Amen! If you have said this prayers, congratulations! Locate a Bible believing church
you can attend, and make your Bible your daily companion. Shalom!
Ebenezer Afolabi is the Pastor of Foursquare Gospel Church Hallelujah Quarters in
Ibafo, Ogun state, Nigeria. He is a sound teacher of God's word, a worship leader,
songwriter, and a passionate defender of the Christian faith. His common slogan is,
"God is still in the business of working miracles". This expression is based on his many
experiences of the supernatural power of God in his life and ministry. He has authored
four books which include God Can Be Funny, Defending What You Believe, Biblical
Support for Marrying Younger Men and his latest book titled, Careless Wives,
You can also get a copy of God Can Be Funny and other books written by Ebenezer Afolabi