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Read Letter

She’s Four Years Older

My dear Jack, you can’t marry on another person’s timetable. You marry when you know you’re ready. The problem you have is that you’re dating someone four years older than you. That has its own pressure. To be sure, she’s also under pressure from her family. They want her to marry fast. What she’s simply done is transfer the pressure to you, but you’re nowhere near ready.

If you rush into marriage you’re going to have issues. Haste has the potential of structural fracture. You barely just got a job. You don’t have the money and you’re not settled yet. How will you handle the material immediacy of marriage? That’s not saying you have to be a millionaire to marry. You start somewhere, then build up. With hard work and fortune, your lot should improve significantly. You marry hoping for the best but putting in your best. You have to be psychologically ready for marriage. You can’t feel rushed.

If you bow to this pressure what happens when her mother begins to pressure for grandchild? You’ll seek to please her again? Then the marriage is for her parents and not both of you. You don’t marry to please people. Marriage is too potent for that. If you’re not prepared for marriage, don’t rush into it. Those who rush in tend to rush out, sometimes in a matter of months.

There are extant realities both of you have to face. Age difference has its own realities. Since she’s 4 years older, you really have to work hard to meet certain social expectations that are economically denominated. And she has to come to terms with the consequences of dating someone younger. If care is not taken, both families will be at loggerheads on the issue of this marriage, each side protecting its ward. Your parents will want to protect you their son. Her parents will commensurately want to secure their daughter socially.

There’s also the fear you may change your mind about marrying her as you become more settled in life. This fear is part of the reason for the rush. The longer their older daughter waits for you the higher the risk of you jilting her, they reckon. Yes, I know it sounds preposterous given your character but these things have happened and these things do happen. So we understand where her parents are coming from.

And there’s that pressure in your society about a lady clocking thirty. To some it’s as if “30” is some cut off mark – an age where the marital prospect of a lady begins to suffer depreciation. And so apart from the pressure from her parents, she’s also under internally generated pressure. Her younger sister is married, her friends are getting married, she wants to marry. She’s thirty! And yet the circumstances of those couples are pretty different from her circumstances. None of those friends of hers is dating a man four years younger who’s about to start life. That’s a major difference. Each marital relationship springs from a context. Her context is the age disparity between you and her.

And so, both of you have to be fair to each other. There’s a compromise somewhere. Because you’re dating an older woman you can’t behave like you have all the time in the world to set marriage date. You can’t be aimless and wandering all over life either. Your focus has to be more targeted given your circumstances. But you don’t put inordinate pressure on yourself. That’s not wise. You’ll grow temperamental or become depressed. Knowing she’s dating a younger man who’s about to start life, she on the other hand has to realize she’s not in a 100m dash. It may be she’s in a 200m dash, or 400m dash but she’s certainly not in a 100m dash. Which means things will take longer than it would if the circumstances were different. So she has to make haste slowly whilst you make sprint deliberately and strategically. But you pace yourself.

I don’t see how you’re going to marry before the end of the year. That’s a lot of pressure given your circumstances. Don’t forget marriage is not what takes place at the registry. It’s what happens thereafter. The registry ceremony is nothing but the formal commencement of a very long journey. When you’re responsible for a family as a young man, you quickly come to realize to be a man is no joke. Manhood simply defined is responsibility. Manhood is affirmative responsibility. The more responsible you are as a young man the more affirming your sense of manhood is. But if you rush into what you’re not prepared for, your confidence may become shattered. And your sense of manliness may be crushed by the demands imposed by marriage if you’re not ready. So both of you sit down and work out a plan – a practical and feasible plan. What would it take you to get an apartment? What would it take you to marry? What would it take to settle down? You also have to work out the minimum requirement for peace of mind in your marriage. When things become financially tough in marriage, some people turn into scary masquerades. And some people just transmogrify. You may not recognise her again. You may not even recognise yourself. So take time, sit down together and work out a realistic programme and timetable for marriage.

If the realism is not acceptable to her however, you may have to ready yourself for a possible break. Or further pressure. A break can come before or after marriage. Before is emotionally cheaper. I’m just saying don’t allow yourself to be railroaded into something you’re not prepared or ready for. Everyone is watching out for his or her interest. Watch out for yours. What is okay for you? What timetable works for you? If you rush into marriage you may never find your balance financially & emotionally. It’s because your marriage is premature.

There’s a middle ground somewhere for both of you if you really want each other. There has to be agreeability and sacrifice on both sides. It’s the only way it would work. Any other way raises the potential of someone saying something unkind to the other person later, blaming the other person. So call her and have a frank analysis of your combined situation. She has to be able to sell the analysis to her parents and present a plan. But at the end of the day it all boils down to what works for you.

Your mentor, LA

© Leke Alder |

The more responsible you are as a young man the more affirming your sense of manhood is. Click To Tweet


Tags : growing up, Planning, Purposeful living, Compromise in relationships, Courage, Older woman, How women think, Weddings, Sincerity, Choosing, Understanding, Sacrifice

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