I am married to an incredible man. He is respectful, kind, giving, fun-loving and handsome.
He brings me my coffee, just the way I like it, to my bedside every morning. He’s seen me through the ups and downs of what life brings. He has celebrated in happy moments and has shared sorrow in not-so-happy ones.
We have many things we love to do together: date nights, family time, dining, traveling and anything else that builds lasting memories. With all of the things we have in common, why would anyone have anything negative to say about our relationship?
Unfortunately, it has everything to do with two words: age difference.
Let’s just throw it out there: my husband and I share a 22-year age difference. I see it, you raised an eyebrow. Well, let me stop you there.
When we organically met (now almost 12 years ago), we never asked each other about our ages. We didn’t ask, because it didn’t matter. All we knew was that we had formed an instant friendship. Four years later, we began dating.
Nothing special happened for us to meet. We weren’t set up on a blind date, we didn’t meet online, and I wasn’t seeking out someone older, with a previous life.
We met through a mutual acquaintance, just like 25% of other couples.
Isn’t it interesting to think about how our lives change just by being at a certain place at a certain time? Or, how it could have taken a completely different path if we weren’t? The serendipity of life is astonishing to me. I love hearing the love stories of other people. They are always filled with such emotion and each person typically has a different perspective of how their love unfolded. Our story is not any different. We often refer to it as “the greatest love story never told,” as we keep many parts of it sacred. But, man is it a good one. I’m not saying our story is perfect. What is? What I can say is that it is real, and true and perfect for us.
Everyone brings something to a relationship. Even if age-difference is off the table and no children or prior marriages are involved, everyone has some sort of baggage, emotionally or otherwise.
At the beginning of our relationship, we knew we needed to ask ourselves important topics/questions that naturally came with our age difference:
“What are our thoughts about having children?”
“Would our families naturally blend?”
“Could we handle the judgement that would come our way?”
This discussion, although not always easy, was so important to us in laying the foundation of a possible future.
It is easy for any of us to criticize what we don’t know, and maybe even who we don’t know. We are both well aware that this has happened in a variety of circumstances. But, those people don’t know, and that is why those opinions don’t matter to us.
They don’t know my husband and I are more alike than we are different.
They don’t know we’ve known each other for 12 years, been married for 8 years and have two sweet little girls and a beautiful home to show for it.
They don’t know that my father is still almost 20 years older than my husband.
They don’t know I have two older sisters the same age as my husband.
They don’t know that we both work. HARD.
They don’t know, because they don’t want to know. They would rather form a judgement, because that makes a better story, right?
All they see is what meets the eye.
I know that we aren’t the first couple to be judged, nor will we be the last. But, what I do know is the importance of not allowing what the world sees as “normal” to impose on which path I walk, especially when it comes to who I choose to spend my life with.
When our daughters grow older and begin searching for that great love in their life, they will have been taught to choose the right person, regardless of age, but rather by character. Because, goodness, if they have someone that is respectful and kind and loving to them, what else matters?