When I married my husband in 1991, I was in my late 20s and my husband was, well, a few years younger. It wasn't a massive age gap but -- as the years went on -- I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about it from time to time. Living in a society that greatly prefers the toned 'yoga body' of a 21-year-old over the turkey neck of someone 30 years older, I admit I tossed out the AARP card I received last year with the ferocity of a wolverine so that my husband wouldn't see it.
I know there are many with strong opinions on the issue of age. For example, one of our bloggers, Emma Nicholson, recently wrote about the drawbacks associated with being married to a younger man including the assumption they're having sex 24/7.
But even if I do cringe when examining the ever-deepening creases below my eyes in the mirror -- making me (at times) slightly insecure about our age difference -- there are, for me, some great things about being married to a younger man. I've listed just four of them below.
1. He still loves to do sporty activities with the kids.
In our early years of marriage, we often went skiing and diving. And while I enjoyed these activities, my passion hardly matched my husband's. Now that I'm middle age, it's not anything as dire as a bad hip that's put me off skiing and diving. It's simply that -- after years of managing three kids in bitter cold on a variety of slopes -- I've thrown my lot in with my less-stressed runner friends. It's a lot easier to grab a pair of tennis shoes and go than it is to rent boots, organize lessons and sort through a pile of single gloves in a usually fruitless search for a match. That sense of impending doom that used to engulf me on the chairlift? You can have it. My husband, on the other hand, still has the fearlessness of a 20-something and truly enjoys taking the kids skiing, diving and even surfing. And I sure love watching them.
2. He keeps me young.
It may sound cliche, but my husband really does make me feel younger. He enjoys going to concerts, planning fun family holidays, and talking tech with the same aplomb as our Web-savvy 13-year-old daughter. That sense of I-can-accomplish-anything-I-set-my-mind-to mindset everyone enjoys in their 20s? He still has that -- and it's contagious. Henry Ford was onto something when he said that those "who stop learning are old, whether at twenty or eighty." My husband always wants to learn new things, whether it's how to cook leeks or use his new GoPro.
3. He doesn't mind switching roles.
Raised on "The Cosby Show" and "The Golden Girls" -- and not on "Leave It To Beaver" -- the idea of a wife being the primary or sole breadwinner isn't foreign to our family. As my husband has transitioned into a new business, I've probably contributed more to household expenses than he has in recent years. Meanwhile, he's done the lion's share of household chores. My husband was a short-order cook in high school and has no problem doing almost all the cooking. After I started a new job that had me commuting into New York City, my husband took over walking the dog, mopping the floors, and ferrying the kids to doctor's appointments. When he commuted, those tasks fell to me. This effortless back-and-forth has made for a real partnership.
4. He's genuinely excited about his professional future.
My husband, in his mid-40s, is at the pinnacle of his career. He's recently launched a new business and is genuinely excited about the future. Indeed his love of journalism -- and now new media -- is one of the things that initially drew us together. I know older couples who have clocked out of the working world -- and who don't know what to do with themselves. The changes in circumstances -- shifting roles, reduction of income -- have wreaked havoc on their relationships. I feel as though my husband and I have yet to completely work out the roadmap of our lives, even after 23 years of marriage. In other words, we're still winging it, meaning there are plenty of surprises in store.
In the end, though, age differences probably don't matter that much in marriages. After all, two people the same age can be as different as night and day just as easily as two people decades apart can be. And no doubt I've come across a lot of 70 year olds who have more energy than 50 year olds.
What do you think? Are you married to a younger man? Tell us about the pros and cons.