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Did I make a mistake marrying a woman younger than me?

Monday February 3 2020


I believe lack of honest discussion on expectations and boundaries is the cause of the disconnections. PHOTO | FILE | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Hello Phillip,

I have been living with my wife for the last two years or so since she got pregnant with our son, who is one-and-a-half years old. My wife is 25, while I’m 38. My problem is that she continues to behave the same way she did when we first met. I feel she has deliberately refused to grow up and accept the realities of marriage. For instance, she nags me about why I no longer take her out on weekends like I did when we were dating. I’m a hard worker, who is determined to secure a bright future for my family.

Worth noting is that she does not offer any support, yet she works in a bank. I end up paying all the bills such as rent, electricity, water and also buy food. I don't have a problem with providing for my family because I believe a man should take care of his family, but I’ve a problem with her lack of priority and personal growth. For instance, she has never applied for a single job despite regularly complaining about her current one, which, in fact, I helped her secure.

She accuses me of having affairs and even demands to accompany me when I travel on business. She has now made a habit of getting home late, arguing that I, too, stay out late. Recently, she told me that she has no intention of getting another child since it would curtail her freedom. My question is, did I make a mistake to marry someone younger than me? I’m confused and distressed and find her demands childish and immature. Please help me.


Many marriage counsellors agree that men and women respond to issues differently and desire different things in a relationship.


Many books have been written regarding these differences and how they affect relationships. Due to these disparities, we mature differently, react to what life throws at us differently, and appreciate life and express love in different ways.

Consequently, your relationship with your wife is a typical example of the varying needs between men and women.

From your perspective, she is not the typical wife you were hoping for. She may be of similar view. In his book, Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray suggests that men and women score the giving and receiving of love differently.

The discussion concerning how we give and receive love remains a major factor in determining the health of relationships today.

In fact, Gary Chapman in his book, Five Languages of Love, encourages us to discover each other’s love language and use this discovery to improve our relationships.

First, what I sense is this self-focused way in which you are viewing and judging your wife. Your argument is that she should have grown up.

You have forgotten two issues: she is younger than you by 13 years and, therefore, processes things differently.

Her age and different level of energy makes her desire things that may not interest you. Chapman urges us to learn our partner’s love language because only then will you know what your partner needs from you.

I’m equally worried by the lack of self-discipline and self-drive shown by your wife. For a start, she needs to own and prioritise your marriage and act like a wife would do.

Her current actions show a clear disconnect from what you value in a spouse. As you make adjustments that will bridge the gap, there is need for her to examine herself as well.

I believe lack of honest discussion on expectations and boundaries is the cause of the disconnections and dysfunctions in your relationship.


There’s a clear emotional and growing physical distance developing in your union.

Her coming home late is clear evidence that something is missing, and if not sorted, the two of you will drift further apart.

In his book, His Needs, Her Needs, Willard F. Harley shows why a couple’s best intentions are not enough to prevent marital incompatibility.

You must do more than want to meet each other's needs; you must actually meet them!

When we fail to meet each other’s needs, emotional and sexual, the couple may be tempted to look beyond their marriage for satisfaction.

Although I don’t support your wife’s behaviour of coming home late, her actions are evidence of a woman seeking fulfilment.

Couples need skill to discern each other’s needs and make efforts to meet them.


The Bible states that two are better than one because they have a greater return for their labour.

It’s therefore important to harness our potential as a couple instead of splitting it. I like the fact that you would like your wife to aim higher.

While you can’t force her to grow, you can let her know you’re concerned about her growth and are willing to help her progress even more.

The truth is, we all fear change and at times need an encouraging voice urging us on.

Try and discover the things you can do together as husband and wife that can facilitate this change.

For instance, you could make the habit of attending marriage seminars or retreats together. Such events are illuminating. Among other things, they will teach you to stop the blame game and instead find out what each of you is struggling with and find a solution for it.

It will also teach you how to develop trust in each other, which will, in turn, banish the suspicion you have towards each other.

Do you have a relationship question? Email [email protected]