The Ideal Age Difference for Successful Marriage in Malawi

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The ideal age difference in marriage in Malawi (and elsewhere) is not as big as you would think. A 2014 study conducted at Emory University in the States revealed that the larger the age difference between couples the higher the rates of divorce.

The results showed that the ideal age difference in Marriage is one year gap. Couples who have an age difference of one year are only 3% likely to end up with a divorce. The divorce rate jumps to 18% for a couple with a five-year age gap. While for a ten years age gap there is a 39% chance of the couple divorcing. The divorce rate is even higher at 95% for couples with a 20 year age gap.  

These findings would equally apply to people who want to marry in Malawi. Getting married in Malawi is a great achievement for many people. It is usually celebrated with a lot of pomp than university graduation or a celebration for one getting their new job. 

As a matter of fact, if people delay marrying, society, sometimes start to isolate them in different activities. 

Unmarried Malawian men in their late or above the twenties sometimes are labeled as being irresponsible, greedy, and childish. Women receive an equal share of insults and stigma if they choose to marry late.  

It is, however, not a secret that with the increased cost of living more young people are taking longer to marry than in previous decades. Need to advance in education is another reason that forces people to marry late than expected. Usually, youths who went up to pursue tertiary education in college or university marry later than those who quit schooling earlier.  

When a person decides to marry the society expect him/her to meet some basic requirements for their union to be welcome by others. Apart from cultural backgrounds, education, and religion, the age gap between two partners are a critical aspect. 

If preparing to marry in Malawi, people want man and woman to be within the acceptable age range. There are some age differences between man and woman which are unacceptable.  

In some instances, lovers would say age is just a number. This means that for such people age gap between partners doesn’t matter. As long as the two love each other, then all is fine. 

However, there are other situations where knowing a partners age is critical to the growth of a relationship. 

In most cases, the community expects men to marry women who are younger than them.  Malawians, in general, consider it normal when the man is older than the woman. The opposite is usually questionable. And it is very rare. 

However, when the age gap between the two parties is much bigger it also brings some questions. For example, when a teen girl marries a man of 50 years or above people will always consider it unusual. The church rejects marriages where the age gap is too wide. 

In cases where the woman is older than man, almost always people will question the relationship.  And commonly most families will not adequately support such a relationship. Usually, the man who marries an older partner is heavily criticized. People will wonder why a young man can marry an older woman while many women of his age. 

This then tells us that there is something important about the age range for people who want to marry. It is not just a number as some would suggest. There is a recommended age gap for people who want to wed. 

Research results in psychology agree that there is a tolerable age difference between husband and wife.  The husband should be at least two years older than the wife.  The age gap shouldn’t be too wide as that will also lead to challenges. 

The age difference is among others attributed to the fact that women mature earlier than men. Hence, if the man is older than the woman the two will be able to reason on an equal level.  As such the issue of the age gap is sociological and not biological

While others recommend an age gap of not more than 7, there is a formula to use to find the right age for a partner. It is the plus or minus 7. 

The rule helps to decide the compatible age of a partner. Here is how it works

To find the minimum age of a partner, divide one’s age by two, then add seven to the result. For example, a thirty-year-old person will divide thirty by two to get fifteen. Then add fifteen and seven. The minimum age for this person will be 22. 

On the other hand, to find the maximum age of the partner, the age of the person is doubled, then,from te result subtract 7 . Using the same person aged 30, the greatest age for the partner would be found by doubling 30 to get 60. Then subtract seven from 60 which gives us 53.

However, the plus 7 formula less helpful and unrelible because it is not supported by any scientific evidence.

As such results from the Emory University research conducted after interviewing 3000 participants are much reliable. It is without doubt that there are always exceptions.

There are successful couples with wider age differences. As long as the couples compatible, they understand and communicate with each other effectively the union will be successful.  Compatibility in age alone does not by itself guarantee happy marriages since there are many other important reasons that affect the success of a relationship



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