In Defense Of Age Gaps

(I’m insanely hungry so if anything doesn’t make sense or seems a little off-kilter tell me and I’ll edit it when my brain is functioning at greater capacity.)

Your average choson is a cradle snatcher. He’s likely to be 23 with a few years of yeshiva under his belt and maybe even some college, while your average kallah is likely to have finished high school less than two years ago and still be a teenager with real life experience amounting to one, maybe two years of seminary. Now from being there, post high school Jewish education in Israel where you live in a dorm is no indication of real life.

This all seems a little backwards to me. After all, in a frum kollel lifestyle it’s frequently the woman who has to be the bread (mmm… bread) earner for a few years, assuming he does eventually go to work. Shouldn’t people be looking for women with a further education than they have? A PhD wife will keep you in a better class of cholent (mmm… cholent) than a seminary grad who teaches kindergarden. I’ve heard here and there that guys are afraid of a wife who’s better educated and/or smarter than they are. Personally, I’m befuddled. Either your ego’s fragile, or its really really big. Too big too think there could be someone out the who could possibly improve your golden aura of perfection. Me, I’m looking to marry up. Wherever she is, she better be smarter than me, better educated than me and possibly better looking. I want to be the winner here. Why settle for someone not as good as me? Why not give your next generation a step up?

Rav Samson Raphael Hirsch said of marrying a woman four years older than himself: “For what I must accomplish in this life I cannot accomplish with a child.” Now to put my perspective in perspective, my mother is older than my father by over two years. Seems to work for them. I don’t get the obsession with having a wife years younger than yourself. I remember in high school you were hardly able to be friends with someone two grades below yourself. It would have been odd. These people aren’t so far out of high school, but they’re marrying someone who was in 8th or 9th grade when they were graduating. I don’t have a problem with age gaps, I just don’t see why she always has to be so much younger. From what I’ve read it only gets worse for the women. If you’re still single at 30, you get set up with guys who are 40 because the 30 year old guys are eyeing the 22 year olds. This is borderline dirty old man syndrome, and they’re rarely rich enough to justify it. Why would you go for someone who grew up with completely different experiences than you? There seems to be little in common to make these work, certainly not education or financial status.

There are organizations who give money to people willing to marry a girl of the exact same age as them! For me that would be the sweet spot. For some people, its a compromise. I don’t get it.

(I have a feeling I’ll have to go through this post to make it more legible. I wrote this in one sitting, basically a stream of conscious thought set to paper.)

4 Responses to “In Defense Of Age Gaps”

  1. Isn’t it all just a part of the same screwed up system that is built on unrealistic expectations and beliefs? I mean, how anyone intends to support a family of ten+ on one salary, and that salary is a teacher’s salary, is beyond me; but once you’re talking about that realm of expectation, why shouldn’t you also expect a girl of 17 who knows nothing about the world? It actually makes sense, if you think about it – the more she knows about the world, the less likely it is she’ll buy into the whole thing. Especially since the women tend to get the raw end of the deal…..

  2. I love this post! I think you’re a helluva lot smarter when you’re insanely hungry than most people are when they’re calm and using their noodles (mmm…noodles).
    If we want to solve the shidduch crisis, then flexibility has to be the name of the game. A little older, a little younger, a little taller, a little shorter- what’s the difference? Find a person who shares your values, who makes you happy, who you respect and click with. You want to build a life together, not produce a photo shoot.

  3. What Miri says is true–it’s the girls who get married when they are younger who are eager for the kollel lifestyle. Pretty much all the single girls I know mid-twenties and up aren’t interested in that anymore. They’ve seen the toll it takes on their friends who’ve been married several years, they have a realistic outlook on finances, and having had a longer wait to have kids are hoping to be able to be a stay-at-home mother.

    As far as the age thing, well, it depends. I went out with a couple of guys my own age who I could just tell needed a much younger girl–it really made them nervous to be with an independent person who did things quite well on her own, they wanted a wife who would place them on a pedestal and really rely on them for everything. I did once go out with a guy a couple of years younger than me–he seemed very young and sort of naiive, but I think that was just him. And I do know couples where the wife is a couple of years older than the husband (including my sister) and they are very happy and totally well-suited for each other.

  4. Well, the thought that girls are simply more mature than boys is not totally untrue. A girl marrying a guy who is 2 years younger is sometimes like a girl marrying a guy a generation younger. Not that I disagree with the post, I actually think you are right, it just depends on the individual and his maturity level. Most 21 year old guys are NOT ready to settle down, while a good many 21 year old girls are, or think they are.

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