by Montreece Hardy,
While this is a joke, this happens to have been a reality for many women married to younger men who are 5+ years their junior. And while the idea is taboo, still, in some circles, marriages and relationships in the pop culture spot light have helped make the cougar/puma phenomenon much more acceptable these days.
So you find yourself married to a younger man…now what do you do to keep him? The following denotes just a few things to hang on to that younger man, make him and yourself happier, and overall make your marriage stronger.
Stop with the Jokes
So I know my favorite two running jokes have always been that I picked my husband up off the playground, and that I was single so long because I had to wait for him to be born. It is funny to us women, but after a very short while it is embarrassing and irritating for our men. Do your marriage a favor and kill the jokes because he doesn’t need any reminders of any insecurities or inadequacies he may bring to the relationship just because he is younger than you.
Forget the Age Difference
Early on in our relationship, I used to dwell on the 7 year gap between me and my husband. This was during the time I was most insecure about our relationship and when I cared way too much about what people thought. I sought approval for my relationship in people who didn’t matter. Nowadays, many times I forget exactly how old my husband is simply because of his personality. He is trapped with a mindset and soul that is at least 20 years beyond his chronological age. The security that I have found in letting myself be in love with my husband regardless of public opinion has been priceless and is better for our marriage. Wisdom comes from God and with experience, it is not related to longevity.
You Are NOT his Mother, You’re His Wife!
My therapist had to remind me of this. I would tell myself this all the time. I would tell my husband this all the time. But my actions contradicted my words. As the more seasoned partner in the marriage we have to work that much harder to be patient while our spouse makes mistakes (some that we may have made earlier in life and tried to warn them about – don’t get me started!), grows mature physically (changing body type), and grows spiritually. Stand by his side, not over him, and walk with him on your journey together.
Reverence, Reverence, Reverence
Your God-given role as the helpmeet is still that, regardless of your being older than your husband. Just because you are older doesn’t mean you boss him around, talk down to him (at home and especially not in public), control any and everything you get your hands on, etc. You have a partnership, and ultimately, as Ephesians 5:23 says, your younger husband is “the head of his wife.” You chose him to be that – accept it. And after you swallow that pill, chase it with some humble pie because it takes heaps of humility to be a grown (achieved degrees, career success, financial independence, and whatever that is for you) woman and respect your younger husband as that head. Pray and ask God to help you help him without hindering him, support him without suffocating him…He can do it! I am a witness!
Never Mind Gold, Silence is Platinum
Speaking of your list of accomplishments, don’t rattle that out to him reminding him you can do bad/good all by yourself anytime you have a heated discussion. I personally feel we as the older vessels in the marriage have to work twice as hard to “bridle that tongue” but it is worth it in the end. All of this is to help empower your husband. Your mouth can do you a lot of good if you are praying and speaking words of wisdom and encouragement. Anything outside of that, I have learned to be silent first – it is a must. When I trust God to deal with my husband, OH BOY does he deal with him. I just have to remember that every time I tell myself to shut up. It hurts, but try it once and you will see the life changing benefits – hence the reason silence is platinum.
He Will Learn from Your Example
I think this is universal for all wives. However, it is easy to get caught on that thin line between leading by example and feeling like you’re mothering again. Don’t worry about it. As long as you are merely doing and not talking about it, trust, if you have a praying man, he is watching, and God will show him how he is using you. Whatever it is, be it financial management, discipline with the kids, spiritual development, domestic management… God is able, but you have to really trust Him and just do the work. You will see the benefits if you don’t give up.
Be Open to Learning from Him
So there’s a generation or two between you. Doesn’t mean he has nothing to teach you. You chose him for a reason. And as often as you can, remind him of that and point out what you have learned from him. This is very empowering and supportive, without being overwhelmingly maternal.
It is no easy task being married to a younger man, but it is very possible. It may call for you to spiritually and mentally grow exponentially, not only to keep the peace, but to keep the enjoyment and genuine happiness in your marriage. Be encouraged!
Montreece Hardy is currently a stay-at-home wife, to Brandon, and mother of 21-month-old Jeremiah and 7-month-old Hannah. This is hopefully her first published relationship article ever! She has a bachelor’s degree in English literature, a Master’s degree in Education, and cuurently performs freelance copy editing and writing for a diverse array of Christian, education, and health-based e-magazines, blogs, and websites.