Avoid Divorce, Marry Someone Your Own Age: What A Bunch Of Crap!

Love, Heartbreak

The 3 Keys to a Successful Marriage

Among the things that annoy me most is news about the Kardashian’s, politicians who say “you can trust me,” and people who cite age difference between couples as the reason why some marriages are destined to fail. 

Would anyone seriously suggest that having a gym membership is the key to staying fit and healthy? Or, that working 40 hours a week for 40 years is the key to a comfortable retirement?

Of course not, because we all know that having a gym membership is a worthless exercise if you don’t go consistently, if you do not train properly, and if you do not support your efforts with a healthy and balanced diet. We are also smart enough to know that the old school formula of working 40 hours a week for 40 years is more likely to land you as a greeter at Wal-Mart rather than sipping frothy drinks on an exotic beach.

Why then do some people, relationship experts in particular, continue to promote the idea that marrying someone your own age is the key to a lasting marriage?

Depending on which expert you listen to; a priest, a pre-marriage counselor, an author of the latest relationship book, a divorce lawyer, or the salesperson behind the counter at Tiffany’s, the current rate of divorce in the United States ranges anywhere from 25% to over 50%. These are startling numbers but why is it that these experts cannot agree on the precise number? Why is there such a variance between these numbers?

Is it a mere coincidence that those who promote low divorce numbers are in the business of making money off of marriage, and those who promote the big numbers are in the business of making money from divorce? Absolutely! Follow the money and you will find that almost every alarming statistic relating to your physical health, financial well being, or chances of avoiding divorce court is being manipulated by those who are more likely to profit from the statistic.

I am not suggesting that the age difference between couples is never a factor which may lead to the breakdown of a marriage. Age can certainly play a part in determining whether a person is emotionally equipped to enter into marriage. However, I am against the generalization that marrying someone your own age, or someone close to your own age (whatever that means), is the gateway to a longer lasting marriage.

The problem with such a generalization is that the expert voicing such an opinion is just as likely to dissuade a couple who may otherwise have all of the skills and maturity to enter into an everlasting marriage, as he is to dissuade a couple that lacks the requisite skills and maturity for marriage.

Your Age Does Not Determine Marriage Longevity

When viewed honestly, age is no more the cause of divorce than is education, financial status, ethnic origin, religious beliefs, or sexual orientation. What’s that you say? You know several people who divorced and they were each from different parts of the world, or one was a devout Catholic and the other an Orthodox Jew?

Let me ask you a question. Have you ever known a married couple who was born and raised in the same small town to divorce? Have you ever known a married couple of the same religious faith to divorce?  Have you ever known a married couple from the same socio economic background to divorce? How about married couples where both have a master’s degree from the exact same school—do you think any of them go through divorce? Absolutely they do!

What this tells us is that using age, or ethnicity, or economic standing, or any other factor as a basis for predicting the longevity of a marriage is as effective as installing a screen door on a submarine. It gives us something to talk about, however, it hardly teaches us anything about how to enter into and maintain a long lasting and satisfying marriage.

The truth is that a long lasting and satisfying marriage requires a combination of skills and personal characteristics which transcend age and other such external factors.

For example, if a woman who lacks the ability to be faithful to her partner enters a marriage at any age, the marriage is more likely than not to fail. She can be 18, or she can be 45, it does not matter. It is her lack of integrity and inability to commit to her husband which will cause that marriage to fail.

If a man with a drinking and gambling problem enters a marriage at any age, the marriage is more likely than not to end up in divorce court. He can be 25 or 62, it does not matter. His addictive behavior is likely to cause that marriage to fail.

But what about the divorced couples that we read about with a huge age difference between them, doesn’t that show that age is a factor in determining the longevity of a marriage? My answer is no!

First of all, if we are talking about couples that we “read about,” these are more than likely Hollywood celebrities, politicians, or high profile business people and as such, they have acres and acres of factors beyond age which could lead to the breakdown of the marriage, chief among them … cheating.

So if age is not a determining factor in determining the success of a marriage, then what is?

The 3 Keys To A Successful Marriage

As a student of personal success and achievement, and as someone who trains others to thrive and flourish in their relationships, I believe that the success and failure of a marriage and of any relationship boils down to 3 primary areas:

  1. Your ability to monitor your emotions, your partner’s emotions, and to use that emotional information to guide your own thinking and behavior.
  2. Your ability to think and reason through problems and situations.
  3. Your capacity to give love and receive love.

The ability to monitor your own emotions and those of your spouse and to use that information to guide your own thinking and behavior has little to do with age. Yes, we can certainly say that with age comes the experience to recognize when your spouse is angry, or disappointed, or sad. However, we can also learn to recognize these emotions at any age, by simply recognizing the same emotions in ourselves and learning the appropriate way to respond that will draw our spouse closer rather than push them away.

The ability to think and reason through problems and situations should improve with age, but it does not always. For example, most husbands are known for shutting down completely in the face of an argument with their wife. He thinks that by avoiding the conflict and going into his man cave, he is keeping the argument from escalating and therefore improving the situation. The wife on the other hand uses arguments as a way to be heard and understood.

If the man continues to react in the same way when his wife begins to argue, she will ultimately feel like she is being ignored and that her opinions have no value. This may lead her to form her own reactive behavior which is to withhold sex and intimacy. It does not matter what age they are, a couple who cannot, or who choose not to communicate correctly with one another are more likely to divorce.

The ability to give and receive love is probably the most important of the 3 elements listed above. Many people come from broken homes where love was not expressed, or it was used as a tool to effectuate control e.g., “if you do not clean your room, I will not love you anymore.”

A person that has never experienced love cannot give love, as you cannot give what you do not have. For example, many girls are punished, criticized, or ridiculed when they are starting to express their sexuality as young women. As a result, they will likely grow into adults having repressed desires and emotions that will keep them from being fully present with their husbands.

A husband may think his wife is a prude and unadventurous, when in reality she is simply protecting herself from criticism and ridicule. Likewise, young boys are taught that crying is for sissies, and that displaying anything other than male oriented emotions is a sign of weakness. This boy will likely grow into adulthood being unable to express his emotions, being afraid to ask for help, and he may be regarded as cold and distant when in reality he was simply taught that he will not be loved if he shows his emotions.

So the next time you read a headline that warns you against doing something that you want to do, see if you can determine what the author's motivation is. If the motivation coincides with your line of thinking great, if it does not … feel free to pay no attention. As for me, I am ecstatically, orgasmically, happily, and joyfully married to my wife who is 22 years younger.


Referred to as "America's Ambassador on Success," Steve Gallegos is a Dallas, TX based Speaker, Author and Trainer who helps people thrive and flourish in their relationships, communications, business, and careers. Connect with Steve here on YourTango, or by visiting his website: StevieGSuccess.Com