…Relationship experts react
…Older women tango with younger men
…Younger men break off relationships
When the news about 19 year old teenage actress, Regina Daniels who married a 59 year old Barrister, politician and businessman, broke, there were lots of mixed feelings about her decision.
Even her father, in an interview publicly denied having knowledge of how his daughter ended up with an older man.
But her mother, Rita Daniels, WW learnt has since thrown her weight behind her daughter’s decision to marry the 59-year-old lawyer. For her, love rules the world.
According to her, “When it comes to finding love, there is no boundary, no age barrier whatsoever”.
Regina is not the only one who is caught in this web.
From East to the North, South to West, stories abound and no one seems to be complaining. We have heard of situations where older men marry teenagers and ladies within age bracket of 20 and 21 years old.
Even veteran actress Shan George revealed how she was given out at a tender age in marriage against her will.
Since Regina’s story broke; there have been criticisms from different quarters. Some people blamed her mother for giving her to an old man while others believed it was an opportunity that should not be allowed to slip out of their hand.
A private school owner in Lagos once shared her story of how she was given out in marriage at a tender age.
She revealed how she was terribly treated by her husband and how she was made to do this against her wish. None of the relatives complained about this development- rather, they all advised her to endure. With six children whom she solely finances, things have been very tough.
In Africa, people believe that an older man can marry a younger lady and nobody will question it but when it comes to an older lady marrying a younger man, it becomes a problem.
This was the scenario with a young man of 27 years who decided to break off a relationship with his supposed wife-to-be because she was a year older than he was.
They were about having their introduction ceremony when the man discovered that his girlfriend was a year older.
In the same vein, some relationships have crumbled due to this issue but those who affected preferred to keep mute so as not to be ridiculed in the society.
Different stokes for different folks, they say.
Research also revealed that many homes including those celebrities who are seen as role models for some have been broken because the wife is older.
Among those were, Soul E and Queen Ure. Before their breakup, they were in love. Queen Ure was 11 years older than Soul E. Toyin Aimakhu and Adeniyi Johnson also separated because she was older than him. This issue is trending.
But for Benjamin Ugbana, “A love relationship is about love. It’s about two people who understand that coming together as husband and wife is to build something that would last.
“Age is not in the equation until either of the partners begins to remind the other of seniority when submission is demanded”.
Ugbana who confirmed that he dated an older lady before, said, “Younger men tend to be more active”.
In the Western world, the issue of wide age gap between a woman and man is less important. French President Emmanuel Macron, 39, has a wife, Brigitte, who is 24 years, his senior, while supermodel Heidi Klum, 43, had been dating Art dealer Vito Schnabel, 30, for more than three years. Actress Gabrielle Union, 44, and her husband, Chicago Bulls player Dwyane Wade, 35, are often lauded as a power couple.
“Older successful men were used to being in control of women, and that doesn’t sit well with modern women,” says Susan Winter, co-author of the book “Older Women, Younger Men: New Options for Love and Romance.” “Younger men have grown up with working women and have worked for female bosses, so they’re more likely to treat women equally.”
According to Blessed Onwuka, Advertising Practitioner, age should not be a barrier in marriage. “The only place age becomes an issue is when the lady is not ready to be submissive to the authority of the man. If she makes the personality or ego of the man to be threatened because she is older then there will be crisis.
For example, if the lady makes the man feel like a small boy whether directly or indirectly, the relationship cannot work.
For marriage to work, every party has to throw away the alphabet called age and focus on the emotions and growth of his or her relationship. Age is only but a number.
I am one of the few people affected by this issue. I can boldly say the experience is great because the lady did not misbehave neither did she frustrate me. Most times it is the women that feel disturbed or threatened about age in marriage”.
For Pastor Sydney, “Age is not an issue if both parties love themselves genuinely and when God is the one leading them. I love my wife very much and we are compatible although she is five years older than I am. God told me that she is my wife and even when l had misgiving at the beginning, l obeyed God and went with the direction. Thank God l did because l am a happy man today; perhaps if l have done otherwise l would have been miserable. My advice is that we should be divinely directed.
In his reaction, John Okafor said his wife is 10 years older than he is. “We have been able to manage it till date with beautiful children from the union. The only problem with this situation is that over the years with the wears and tears of living and raising the children, older women are better wives. They are not `cry babies` and l can`t stand a cry baby.
“Your wife eventually becomes what you make of her; if you maintain and take care of her, she would remain young and everything you want her to be but if you stress her too much you shall also reap a stressed looking wife that would not be presentable for you at the long run.
Corroborating, Ngozi said, “Age is not anything when it comes to issues of the heart but not at the detriment of your life. I had a similar situation and l decided to go for a younger guy but l was miserable. He made my life a living hell.
“My take is that if you meet an older or younger man depending on what life sends to you; go for it if your happiness lies there. If a man can marry a younger woman; then a woman can equally be with a younger man”, she noted.
Also, Ibironke said her husband is seven years younger than she is. “We are happy together. If l had bothered me with what people would say, perhaps l would have lost out of happiness.
“He understands my biological clock very well and tries his best not to stress me out too much. I also take very good care of him more than a younger woman would have done. Therefore, I will say people should follow their heart and the leading of the Holy Spirit if you are a Christian.
Celebrities with older wives
Peter Okoye is married to Lola Omotayo who is said to be 6 years older than Peter. Peter and his twin brother Paul were born on the 18th of November 1981.
In an earlier interview years back, Lola addressed the age gap between them thus: “Like I said, Peter is an old soul and he always tells me that I’m like a 23-year-old. Age is just a number. Right now, you can see it around the world: Demi Moore, Usher and some known people. Even in Nigeria here, they are dating people far older than their age. So, we shouldn’t base it on the age factor. He doesn’t make me feel like he’s younger than me.”
Darey Art-Alade and his wife Deola Ayeni have been married for about 10 years now. Deola is said to be 8 years older than Darey yet they’ve been married for years with lovely kids. Darey once responded thus in an interview about their age gap: Do you not feel any pressure of any sort being married to somebody older than you are?” No pressures at all! Everybody at some time finds what works for him or her. I am perfectly happy with my marriage to my wife and I absolutely have no problems or pressures of any sort”.
Kafayat Sharafat popularly known as Kaffy is a dancer and a mother of two, she got married to Joseph Ameh who happens to be popular singers, Psquare’s drummer. Kaffy is eight years older than Pappy J as he is popularly called. They got married in 2012 and they have two children Eliana Ameh, their daughter and Sean Ameh, their son.
Nollywood actress, Ann Njemanze was a movie sensation in the 90s while she was married to popular actor, Segun Arinze. After their divorce, Njemanze went under the radar but surfaced again a few years ago. She got married to her new husband, Silver Ojieson, in 2013 and she admitted to journalist that he’s five years younger than her. The actress has a teenage daughter from her previous marriage to Arinze.
Reacting to this issue professionally, Dr. Timi Oyebode- Professional Counselor, Founder& Head Counselor, Attitude Development International, said, “First of all, age is not really a factor when it comes to love and relationship. However, age is a factor when it comes to marriage.
“Experts tell you that with age bracket that goes beyond a decade, 10 years, might have generational gap between the couple. Most of the time, the reality is that the couple determines whether or not age would influence their union. Another thing is that African peculiarity with age and respect is a big factor.
“You have couples who have a wide age-gap or otherwise and they are living very well with themselves. So, I would say that age is not a factor and it is also a factor depending on which part of the world the couples are coming from.
“As counselors, we do not decide for our clients or give specific advice when it comes to situations like this. Rather, we explore each couple and advise them to check their background, lifestyle and/or reason why they want to marry each other and if they can go through those processes, why not?
“By the time they pay attention to those processes, they might realise that it might not work for them and then pull out of it. So, what is important is to check out what the couple wants, to be able to give necessary guidelines.
“It is very necessary for anyone who is going into marriage to go for counseling. Even if there is wide age gap or narrow age gap, it is better to go for proper counseling.
“We have gone past the era of fear of third party intervention in marriage. Third party intervention is sometimes needed but however should not include the relatives or friends but couples in need of this intervention can meet with professional marriage counselors.
“People should explore the opportunities before and after marriage. They should go for both Pre and Post-marital counseling. Periodic marital check-up is important after marriage to get them going and ensure that they keep oiling the grease of their marriage vehicles. People often service their cars but they do not remember to service their marriages. It is always good to encourage couples irrespective of their age or differences to go for counseling.
In his response, Pastor Olowoleye Omoniyi, a marriage counselor, at Foursquare Gospel Church, Jakande District Headquarters, said that, “It is not a sin if there is a wide age gap between man and a woman who want to marry each other, but noted that different factors including attraction, sexual intercourse, decision making, goals and aspiration in life might militate against such.
According to him, “The law of the land gives the privilege as far as you are eighteen years old to make a decision. But, one thing, I have gathered from experience is that once there is a wide age gap, the man and the women do not belong to the same generation.
“Their reasoning, attractions will be different. The man, if he is too old would belong to the analogue age while the younger women will be digital age. So, there will be interest gap and it will affect the bond in the marriage.
“Secondly, they will not be compatible, even in interaction because their worlds are different. Another thing is that there will be challenge in sexual satisfaction. Sexually, ladies and men are active between ages 18 and 35, therefore, both of them might not be compatible sexually and those are factors that would cause problems in the home.
“Attraction is another factor. If one grows older than the other, they might not attract themselves anymore. Their focus might be different in life. The man is old and he is slow in doing things while the lady might want things to happen fast. All of these factors might affect marriage negatively.
“Even the relatives will not be relating with either of them very well. Husband and wife should be able to relate as friends but when there is wide age gap, it will be difficult to relate with each other as friends”, he said.