When Marriage Comes Later in Life
May 31, 2019 | by: Shea Oakley | 3 Comments
Posted in: Marriage and Relationships
The Lord is good to those who wait for him, to the soul who seeks him.
It has been said that they are advantages and disadvantages to both marrying young and marrying, shall we say, “older.” There are many younger married couples at True Life, but we do have a few of the other kind. Kat and I would fall into the latter category. I’m writing this piece for those singles in our congregation who may wish to wait for a while before marrying as well as for those who do not, but will find themselves marrying older anyway (my wife and I fall into this latter category too).
I’m going to speak to what I consider to be the primary issue on both the good and bad side.
When you first tie the knot in your 30’s or 40’s you are likely marrying someone who has quite a bit of helpful life experience under their belt. If you have chosen well your new husband or wife has probably established themselves in their careers, learned how to manage money and a household of some kind, and become capable of dealing with people and situations in a mature manner born of years of adult living. They are also likely “comfortable in their own skin”. By this I mean your new life partner, like you, has either come to know his or her identity in Christ (if they have been believers all of their adult lives) or at least figured out what their natural strengths and weaknesses were before becoming adult converts (and are actively working on the Christian identity part). Beyond just possessing this knowledge, they have often also learned to use it to live effectively with both themselves and others in the many and varied aspects of life. It’s nice to be married to a mature person.
That is the positive side, now for the negative side which also happens to be the flip side of the positive.
The older we get the more we tend to become set in our ways. As flawed and fallen human beings, at the same time we are establishing some healthy ways of living we are also establishing some not so healthy ones. Beyond that the truth is that both good and bad “life habits” can become a significant challenge in marriages involving older partners. This is simply because even the good ones may not coincide with the other person’s idea of the right way to do things. Those who marry young often find it easier to mesh with their new wife or husband because their ways of dealing with the circumstances and challenges of life have not yet solidified. These younger couples often learn how to handle these things together as part of the natural process of human maturation, but one that now involves two persons who have become “one flesh” early on rather than as two separate individuals. It is tough for older couples to integrate their lives this way because they have lived as independent singles for a long time, and along the way have become quite comfortable with having things their own way. It takes significant time and effort to overcome this reality. In fact I do not know how any person manages to do it without the help of the Holy Spirit, and it is hard work regardless.
So that is one older husband’s idea of the primary positive and the primary negative of marrying later than the “Christian norm” (if such a thing as a “norm” even exists in the 21st Century American Church!) As mentioned at the beginning of this piece getting married at different ages has different pluses and minuses. But marriage involves a lot of personal sanctification work whether it is entered into early in life or later. I believe God intended for that to be the case either way, but if it happens to be His will for you to have to wait for a while before you meet your mate I hope this meditation helps, in a small way, to ready you for being with that special someone for whom you may have waited longer than most.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (regardless of when it happens)." - Ephesians 5:30-31 ESV