Is age just a number? Yes, and many times, No. We all made our debut in this world on different dates we celebrate every year with glee and glam or none at all.

At different times and in different places, we are usually judged, categorized or accepted as a result of how long we have been on earth. Age shouldn’t be considered only as the number of candles on your cake or how many Christmas celebrations you’ve had in your lifetime.

However, our age should be a representation of our physical, psychological and emotional development. I haven’t mentioned spiritual development because our spiritual birth only begins the day, we have an encounter with God and surrender our lives to be led by His Spirit. That’s one reason many who are older could be so young in spiritual matters or inexperienced at best.

Sadly many of us have missed our developmental milestones as a result of how we were raised by our parents or guardians with little or no love and attention, we struggled to make progress in our own way but when life’s challenges begin, it’s only then, that our handicap and inadequacies are revealed.

“Our age should be a representation of our physical, psychological and emotional development.”

So, the question for the moment is: Does your current age represent your current maturity level? Are people usually surprised when they know how old you are? Or are they somewhat disappointed? It will be great if you’re wiser, more exposed, more resilient than what’s expected from others in a similar age group but many times that’s not the case. It’s never too late to catch up or close the gaps but it will require a lot of effort and commitment on your part to get that done.

Why do some people look older than their age and why are others aging gracefully? With the expanding of urban development across the world and more people moving from a slower pace of life and adapting to the hustle and bustle, we’re constantly stretching ourselves to new levels of stress we were never designed to cope with.

Many of us are eating more junk meals, committed to no exercise routines, clocking in less hours of shut-eye periods of sleep, our minds are constantly racing as we keep up our sedentary lifestyles. Many times, our lifestyle choices are responsible for how we age.

Another reason why people look older than they actually are could be the impact of the traumas of life so they were forced to grow up and mature quicker than they should have, which could be good but also if not properly managed, could leave a scar on their lives.

We all process difficulties differently but someone who has lost their parents at an early age, whose parents were divorced in their childhood, who has had several abortions or has had to deal with several failed relationships, who has experienced bankruptcy or really has been a survivor while some others took on major responsibilities very early on. Generally, the people in these categories are usually a lot older than their chronological age.

So, if you get married to someone who seems ‘older’ than you as a result of their traumatic experiences in life, they may not have the patience to wait for you to mature, they will constantly be disgusted why you can’t grow up and see life from their perspective. Many times, these relationships morph into a master-servant relationship where you are constantly forced to view life through the mature person’s lens.

Why are some people wiser than their age and others are lagging behind? Many people think they have arrived at their destination or think they have achieved lot on their lives or assume they are great examples worth emulating till they meet someone who changes or upsets their way of thinking.

When you meet someone, who challenges you to be more, you have two options: detest them and stay away from any push to change or accept the challenge and make plans to become a better version of you.

Many people detest change and end up settling for someone who celebrates their mediocrity or makes them feel they have ‘arrived’. It’s still mind-boggling how someone who’s literate and well-read will choose to get married to someone who hasn’t been within the four walls of any institution.

How does an executive choose a spouse who has neither technical abilities or is bereft of basic social skills if there are no major underlying issues with his mind?

Even though Adam was a few hours or day older than Eve, there’s no guarantee that when the husband is older than the wife, they will have a stable marriage as other factors are also responsible. Getting married to someone who’s not as mature as yourself will have an impact on your relationship.

They will be unable to understand the dynamics of how relationships should work and what’s required at each stage and phase of the marriage. When you expect they should have moved on from an issue that’s lingered for so long, they are still discussing and rehashing the issues that should have been closed a decade ago.

Some spouses are mature physically but not emotionally, they do not have the requisite exposure, resilience and stamina to deal with the challenges of marriage. They have transitioned quickly into adults but never learnt the art of conflict resolution, negotiation, compromise, teamwork, forgiveness just to name a few.

You want to ensure that you’re getting married to someone who is mature and confident not someone who is insecure and will be a liability.

When is the right time to get married? No one size fits all but don’t get married to underage children and the decision to get married should be a voluntary decision made by mentally stable adults. We all need some experience in life before we add on the responsibility of getting married. It’s really up to you, only you can tell when you’re mature enough to take on and are ready for the vicissitudes that marriage brings.

Some spouses are mature physically but not emotionally, they do not have the requisite exposure, resilience and stamina to deal with the challenges of marriage.

If you get married to someone who isn’t mature, be prepared to keep up with the slack and close the gaps ever so often. You’ll have to be the only one investing in the marriage because they don’t or won’t know how to, you might be the only one scooping the water out of the boat to keep your marriage float, you may end up carrying a cross you were never meant to bear.

As a couple, you won’t be able to go as far as or fast because your relationship will be on pause or slow mode as you patiently wait for your spouse to mature. Sadly, just because someone’s external features are fully developed doesn’t mean that their internal and cognitive functions are also fully developed.

But how would you know if someone you’re interested in is mature? If you are not mature, you can’t assess someone else who isn’t. hence, the urgent need to work the hardest on ourselves so we won’t be at the mercy of settling for less.

None of us can keep up the pretense for too long. Don’t just listen to the words they say but read in between the lines and look out for cues. Every now and then, pose an unexpected question and listen to their first judgement, that should give you a clue about how they reason.

Would you rather get married to someone who’s younger and mature than older and immature? It’s different strokes for different folks. As we make our considerations for a choice of a spouse, let’s not just settle for a number but what value that number portends to have.

If someone’s young but very mature, it’s an indication of someone who’s willing to stretch themselves and has an open and teachable mind, who is not afraid of changes and will do anything to become better. An older and immature person might have their mind closed, might be risk averse, stuck in old patterns and unwilling to explore new trends and that limits how far the pegs of the tent of your marriage can be stretched.

Would you like to know why women are hesitant to disclose their real age? They don’t want to be judged or put in a certain box because of what they have achieved or haven’t. If you met a single lady who was only 26 but had a PhD, she runs her consulting firm and owns her house and her car and was very confident, what would you think about her?

Depending on your own status as a guy, you may feel impressed or put off. Some guys would want that lady as a spouse, others who are controlling and domineering may not speak any further to her.

When a woman’s age doesn’t quite match the mental image of who they had hoped they should have become, women lean towards and adopt a low self-esteem and end up settling for less.

When you’ve worked so hard on yourself to achieve a certain level of maturity, emotionally and psychologically, you won’t be available for every Tom, Dick & Harry. You’re not proud or trying to prove a point to anyone, you’re headed in certain direction and you realize that marriage shouldn’t be a crutch but should add significant value and take you even further into all God has in store for.

Unlike many ladies, who see marriage and motherhood as unwritten finish lines in their minds, men never drop out of the competition in life, they hope to and continue to work towards achieving whatever they set out to irrespective of their age, they’ll keep going till their hearts stop beating. Could this one of the many reasons why men seem to be significantly ahead of women in life?

Even though you don’t want to get married to someone who thinks or act like you, you also don’t want to be stuck with someone who will require a lot of explaining and convincing before anything can be achieved.

Getting married to someone who is fifteen to twenty years older than you is really getting married to someone in another generation.

There are marriages with this age difference that have been successful, however there are many more that are struggling. You want to get married to someone who has a positive outlook on life, who has an open mind and a willingness to adapt, change or drop old habits. When we reject change, we put a lid of sorts on our relationship. Whatever the age difference you finally accept, don’t agree to be part of any relationship where your voice is not heard and your opinions are not valued.

“Getting married to someone who is fifteen to twenty years older than you is really getting married to someone in another generation.”

Guys, you don’t want to get married to someone who reminds you of your mum but someone who’s a friend. Ladies, getting married to someone who treats you like your dad, as you cower in fear without your opinions heard or sought will be a tough one to cope with for a lifetime.

It’s usually tough to enjoy someone’s company if they are not your best of friends and if you’re not comfortable being with them or excited and looking forward to being with them.

So, whether you decide to get married to someone who’s older or younger than you, realize you are willingly agree that there will be a maturity gap, you must decide to be intentional and consistent to do all you can to close the gaps as you patiently wait for your spouse to mature and finally that your marriage will only begin technically when both of you have arrived at the starting point and are on the same page.

What does God think of your age? Does He expect you should have moved on much more than where you are at the moment? Is He disappointed that you are 32 but act and behave like you are 18 because you refuse to get wiser and grow up? Is the assignment He’s entrusted to you at risk because you are just counting the years and not making the years count?

Every couple desires to grow old together but when there is a huge difference in the ages of a couple, one spouse will begin to age quicker than the other. Couples with a huge age difference would usually end up with one partner’s life and development milestones fast-tracked or truncated altogether to keep up with an aging spouse.

Never say never, many times, we end up with someone we never thought we could get married to. Look out for someone with a teachable heart and someone who will challenge you and stretch you and not someone who celebrate mediocrity or keep you living below your potentials.

Marriage has made some people look much older than they should, they can’t recognize themselves anymore, it’s been a lot for them. Had they known, they would have remained single and happy and joyful than married and bitter. Marriage should be enjoyed and not endured.

Couples in happy marriage age gracefully while couples in troubled marriages have not only emotional issues to contend with but their physical health impacted as well but would usually look older than they should.

I kept thinking, ‘Experience will tell. The longer you live, the wiser you become.’ But I see I was wrong—it’s God’s Spirit in a person, the breath of the Almighty One, that makes wise human insight possible.

The experts have no corner on wisdom, getting old doesn’t guarantee good sense. Job 32.7-10 MSG

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