How to avoid the hazards of an age gap in your marriage
It was the difference in their ages that killed the relationship...
At least this is what Supermodel Cindy Crawford seems to think. She recently opened up in an interview on Oprah’s Master Class about why she believes the 15 year age gap between she and ex-husband Richard Gere led to divorce after 4 years together.
Crawford explains that, "I think I was more willing at 22 to be, like, 'Okay, I'll follow,' but then you start going, 'Well, I don't want to just follow – I want to lead sometimes and I want to walk side by side sometimes.'"
What may have been true for Crawford and Gere’s marriage isn’t true for everyone. In fact, many of Crawford’s reasons why her former marriage ended are things that can happen in ANY relationship...even when the couple are exactly the same age.
People change and this is actually a wonderful thing because it means that we’re learning, growing and expanding. Troubles arise in a love relationship or marriage when one person makes the other one wrong for changing or when the two aren’t willing or able to grow with each other.
Yes, there are some unique aspects to a marriage where there’s a significant difference in age.We know a lot about creating a healthy and close marriage when there’s an age gap because there is a 16 year difference in our ages, but that hasn’t prevented us from keeping love and passion alive.
What we’ve learned is this...
Age does not have to matter.
This is a time when people are living longer and more active and vital lifestyles well into their “golden years.” While there are inevitable changes that most people experience as they get older, these changes don’t have to stand in the way of love and connection.
We’ve discovered that you can create and keep your relationship close and passionate...even if there’s an age gap.
Maybe you skip ahead in your mind to what you think it will be like when your partner is “old” and you are still in your prime. Maybe you worry about becoming widowed earlier in life and having to deal with the grief.
Maybe, like Cindy Crawford, you are attributing an unhealthy dynamic to the age difference between you and your partner. You have been content to follow your spouse’s lead, but now would like to step up and experience more leadership or more equality in your marriage.
Your beliefs are the stumbling blocks in all of these examples. You can’t know how getting older will actually go for your partner or for yourself either. Projecting into the future isn’t going to benefit anyone so question those thoughts when they come to mind.
You CAN know if you’d like to shift the way decisions are made in your relationship or if you’d like to feel more equal with your spouse. When you realize this, get specific. Figure out how you want to be more of a leader in your relationship and communicate your intention to your partner.
Learn how to grow together.
You’re NEVER the same person you used to be and neither is your spouse. The more you can accept and be at peace with this fact, the easier it will be for you to be happy and stay connected to one another.
Stay open and curious about yourself and your partner.
Resist any urge to “freeze” either of you in a particular way. There will be personality characteristics and preferences that remain the same and there will be other things that change as you each grow.
When you keep communication honest and non-blaming, you can grow together.
Set aside regular time to talk about things other than the kids, home projects or your usual everyday topics. Talk about what you each find interesting. What are you itching to try (either in your relationship or personally)? How are you stretching and stepping outside of your usual mode? Talk about it and find out what is happening with your partner that might not be obvious.
This kind of regular communication will build trust and keep you in tune with one another. It will make any changes or transitions ahead-- whether because of age or any other reason-- smoother and enriching for your marriage.
Passion and connection are possible no matter what the age gap in your marriage. Our free Passionate Spark~Lasting Love will keep your relationship fun, flirty and close. Visit www.relationshipgold.com to find out more.