He Said-She Said: An Acceptable Age Difference in Dating Relationships
- Thursday, September 04, 2008
Another consideration is upbringing. Some are taught to be responsible, while others are coddled. So it’s likely you could have a very mature 20-year-old man who was raised to lead and do his part. Or you could have the opposite: A 20-year-old man who has more of a “victim’s mentality”—meaning his problems are always identified as the fault of others and no personal responsibility is taken whatsoever. In this type of individual, you’ll usually find someone who is floundering (and maybe always will be). If you date or marry him, you will likely end up being his mother.
So, where am I leading with all of this? Well, assuming that there are about seven to nine years between you and the young man in question, I am saying that you have a lot to evaluate before going forward (assuming he is the one who will be pursuing you).
If you have considered the compatibility of your maturity levels and if you have been able to observe this young man in various scenarios and you are at peace with what you’ve experienced, then I would proceed with caution. Remain friends until you feel certain that he is mature enough to lead a woman such as yourself in a godly relationship. And then, perhaps, proceed to dating.
But before you do, spend some time chewing on this …
- What do your friends and family think? Are they sources of accountability and do you seek their counsel?
- Do you think that this young man is mature enough to lead a late twenty-something woman in a godly relationship? And beyond that, in marriage?
- Have you observed this young man enough to witness his speech, his actions and how he treats others?
- Who are his friends and how do they treat one another? Are they people you would want to spend time with, too?
- Is he a man of his word? Does he have a good reputation? Has he made a life for himself and have something to show for it?
- Does he hold leadership positions either at work, in the community or at church?
- If he is just starting out in his career or finishing up school and you are already established in your career, will this be a source of tension when it comes to respect? And submission?
- Should you decide to marry and if you are ready to begin a family, will he be ready to have children as soon as you are?
- Does this young man respect the elders in his life (family, supervisors at work, church leaders, authority in general)?
- What is his relationship like with his mother? Does he honor her and treat her with kindness? Is his relationship with his father healthy?
- Is this young man a respected leader in his family? Does he contribute to “the drama” or does he help to bring resolution to critical family situations?
These are good starter questions to get you thinking about various issues. An age difference doesn’t have to be a deal breaker, but it can certainly contribute to a relationship not being successful.
You will have to determine if this is the path down which the Lord is leading you. Or if this is a path down which you are taking yourself. There may not be any cautionary red lights for you right now, but if there are then please don’t ignore them. And don’t try to force something into being that is not of the Lord.
He will show you (and give you confirmation through prayer, the godly counsel of family and friends, study in the Word) if this age difference is acceptable in his sight for you.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).
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