by Kenneth Justice
~ “Look Kenneth, if we were to do it the entire Church would give us so much grief over it, acting like we’re terrible sinners….that it’s simply not worth it” she said
I was sitting at coffee with a late 20ish young single woman. She had been telling me about how much she enjoyed the Christmas services at her church…..but more specifically she had mentioned how much she was currently attracted to an older man who attend her church. However,, because there is more than a 20 year age gap between the two of them; for them to date would be considered extremely taboo.
This young woman has it all going on;
—) She’s 29 years old and has completed multiple college degrees
—) She passed the bar last year and is currently working as a successful local layer
—) She moved out of her parents house and purchased her own place
Clearly the young woman is responsible and resourceful…..and now that she is getting close to 30 years old she wants to settle down with the right guy……..’the right guy’ unfortunately for her is 56 years old.
“Kenneth, I’ve dated numerous men over the past decade but nothing ever ‘clicked’……but with this 56 year old who goes to my church; wow, I just really enjoy his company and am extremely attracted to him” she said
Apparently they’ve known each other for most of her life since they have both been attending the same church since she was very young. “Kenneth, what I love about this older guy is that I know so much about him; his family life, his career, and I really respect who he is as person….but if the two of us were to date our church would give us so much hell for it. They would act like we were evil because dating someone outside of your age range at my church is simply not something people do” she said
Personally, I’m at an age in life where I’m caring less and less what other people think of me. I spent so many years trying to live my life in order to make ‘other people’ happy that I feel like its simply not worth it….because to put it quite simply; you can never ever make others happy. Someone else’s happiness cannot be contingent upon me living my life a certain way. Their happiness is up to them; its up to them how they live their life…….
However, having said that…..I totally understand where the young woman is coming from, because sometimes its simply not worth ‘rocking the boat’. Sure, the two of them could pursue a relationship and maybe it could end up in a wonderful marriage; but if the consequences are that they are going to have to deal with a ton of hell and gossip from their fellow church members…..perhaps a successful marriage isn’t really worth it. Maybe staying single is the better option than having to deal with a ton of emotional trauma from the church culture that they are apart of.
Of course, many of us are probably wondering; “why don’t the two of you leave your particular church if that is the way they treat people???” and in a round-about-way I actually asked her that exact question. “Kenneth, its not that simple. My parents and siblings attend the church and all of his siblings and parents attend the church as well. We’re so much apart of the church family that for us to leave it would be like we’re divorcing ourselves from our family” she said
I guess some people in their situation would say ‘to hell with the church I’m leaving to date the man that I love’……but others would rather sacrifice love in order to maintain their family and church relationships. Its a tough situation no matter how I look at it.
There are many people that look at big age gaps between couples as a bad thing. For these two people the age gap is 27 years. To me that doesn’t seem like a big deal at all, and when she first began telling me this story I had to wrap-my-brain around the fact that some people actually think a 27 year age gap is wrong.
“Kenneth, it’s just that my father and this guy went to school together. They are only 2 years apart…….so if he and I were to start dating I think my parents would feel like their ‘friend’ is robbing the cradle” she said
Maybe I’m wrong….perhaps a 27 year age gap is too big a deal. But all I can think is “really” because it doesn’t seem like that big a deal to me. In this day and age when so many people rush into marriage and rush into bad relationships…..here is a couple who have been talking to each other for years. They’ve gotten to really know each other and it seems like they might make a good match…….but what do I know?
For most of the summer I kept meeting people who were getting divorced. People who had rushed into marriage before they were really ready for it. And this young woman actually seems like she is ready for it. Her career is set, her finances are in order…..and she simply wants to have a family now……but I guess she’s gonna have to look elsewhere. Sometimes life really confuses me.
I really need another coffee
(P.S. If you haven’t heard I’m going on a national and worldwide tour of 100 coffee houses in 2014 check out my link for the news and stay tuned for dates and locations <link> )
[EDIT: this article originally incorrectly stated their age gap to be 17 years…when in fact their age gap is 27 years]