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Age: The Six-Year Gap

November 13, 2010

So I think I’ve unofficially started a theme of “Serious Saturdays” (that’s not gonna be a thing, I promise) because I feel less vulnerable to the lurking big-girl blogs on the weekends to talk real shit. Also, that’s an engagement photo that somehow got lost in the gigantic CD of photos we got back from our awesome photographer.

I am 22. Isaiah is 28. I’ve thought about the difference in our age. I’ve thought about my maturity in relation to marriage and in comparison with other people my age. I read “Age & the Likelihood of Divorce” a while ago on Brave Bride and wrote out a post-long comment before deciding to just write my own post on the matter.

As Sarah commented in that same post, I feel as though my maturity has been defined by events in my life rather than how many years I’ve existed.

I have started explaining these points and want to explain more about this later in the week, however, for the time being, a neatly organized, non-elaborated bullet point list:

  • My father is an alcoholic.
  • Sexual abuse (like far too many women out there).
  • My mom’s penchant for motivation and ambition instilled in me throughout my life.
  • My single-hiatus.
  • The divorces I’ve seen (I started analyzingย marriagesย at a really young age).
  • A bazillion other life experiences that happened to me far too young and got me thinking.

First, I should tell you that I used to read Nancy Drew novels to my mom when I was five. I am an only child. My mom is an exceptional human being who pushed me to be the best I could be. Having said that…I was reading my mom’s “save-this-relationship” books she left laying around at around seven, I was in therapy and Al-Anon from nine and up and I never cried over my parents’ divorce so I could appear strong to my family. I decided at 12, when my folks split, that I would be more mature. That I wouldn’t need too much. I wouldn’t be a big pain (I was, but I can’t imagine how much more I would have been if I hadn’t been trying (ha)).

Anyways, I tell you those things only to tell you this. Age is so relative. I’ll be 23 when we get married. The reasons I don’t feel too young include: The experiences I’ve been through and the fact that I think deliberately and take time to discuss concerns about marriage together with Isaiah.

On top of that..our five and a half year age difference might seem like a bit, but it’s not so drastic that we can’t relate. I help Isaiah with his recent voyage into blogging and social media. He helps me understand what the hell people are talking about when they say, “When someone asks you if you’re a god, you say yes!” by forcibly sitting me down to watch the epically 80’s film Ghostbusters. I know, I know. Take it easy..breathe..and let your blood pressure come back down before you comment all-up-in-my-face.

So we ground each other. We help each other in completely opposite ways. I help Isaiah understand the Web 2.0 job hunting process and I spend whole, 8-hour days applying him for jobs and I make his resumes and I help him understand his finances and the importance of saving and credit. He helps me with the day-to-day everything and he keeps me calm and talking about things rather than letting everything stew. He calls me out when I’m being a bitch. He keeps me inspired and he helps me with the “manly stuff” — if I can be so stereotypical. He helps keep me up on the latest in technology and design. He keeps me moving. He brought me to this level, where I feel mature enough to understand what forever means and make a commitment based on that understanding.

And I wouldn’t be ready but for him.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. November 13, 2010 12:43 pm

    I’m rooting for u guys, and without a doubt, you 2 are a great couple. difference in years doesn’t make any difference in a relationship really!

  2. November 13, 2010 1:31 pm

    Hey, Lizzie. I agree that wisdom is not (necessarily) determined by age; there are certainly so many grounded and self-aware young people in the world, you being one of them. I think a big age gap can shape the dynamic in relationship, but not necessarily in an it-ain’t-gonna-last kind of way. I was hoping that I communicated that clearly enough in my blog post, but if not…um, that’s what I meant to say. Oops. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    PS. Like your friend hearttypat above, I’m rooting for you guys, too!

    • November 13, 2010 1:36 pm

      No, no, no. No worries. I wasn’t upset or offended at all by anything you said in your post. I was just thinking on my own thoughts and remembering comments said to me in my own daily life, not your post. I thought your post was well-rounded, a great read and not offensive in the slightest.

      Thanks so much for checking in, I hope I haven’t said something to give you the wrong impression. Thanks.

  3. lyn permalink
    November 13, 2010 1:37 pm

    It sucks when you have to defend yourself to other people. But that in itself helps make you stronger. And honestly, you don’t need to convince me, or anyone else, that your relationship is viable and important. It’s so clear to me just from what (little) I know about you, and about your past.

    The “gap” closes as the years go on, of course, and soon you’ll find that you don’t have to prove your maturity — your worth as a partner — to others anymore. But for now, try to stay confident in the fact that YOU know what’s right, and all those other fools can get lost.

    PS – Comment up in your face about Ghostbusters? Really? Oh man. Did that really happen before?

    • November 13, 2010 1:51 pm

      Lyn…thanks so much. You’re sweet. I know the gap will close the further away from “20” that we get, and neither of us even think about it until there’s a crazy cultural reference – like, that he didn’t LOVE “Doug” growing up and I didn’t know what “Heman and Shera” was. But obviously, that’s just joking and not actually in the realm of things that affect our relationship.

      Thanks so much, again.

  4. November 13, 2010 4:48 pm

    Sing it, sister. I also was raised as a psudo-only child because my sisters were so much older than me, away and in college by the time I was 5, and then my parents divorced. Being the only kid in a divorcing home can really kick you into grown-up gear – (can, not always) I feel it definitely did for me.

    I completely understand your need to put this post out there and justify your right to get married like the rest of us oldsters ๐Ÿ™‚ and I think you did a great job here. Smart lady.

    • November 13, 2010 5:54 pm

      I’m an only child as well..and I understand the feeling that you’re kind of an only child…a lot of my family and friends are like that as well. Thanks so much, Kerry, I don’t know why I felt the urge to write this today…but I did.

  5. November 13, 2010 4:56 pm

    I agree with Lyn. The gap closes. When Tony and I broke up, I was 15 and he was 19. The age difference seemed insurmountable then — the difference between a high school kid and an adult. Today? There is no difference, just experience.

    The other day, Robin (HitchDied) commented on my blog about Life Lists that she worries about he rug being pulled out from under her. I think this is a common fear for those of us who have experienced big losses. I used to think that I was overly mature for my age, but these days, I’m feeling more like a late-bloomer. I think maturity comes and goes as we respond to new challenges. You guys sound like you are a good balance for each other, and you’re marrying for the right reasons.

    • November 13, 2010 5:53 pm

      Oh man…the rug. I know all about it. My mom married my dad during the only three year period that he had been sober…she never even knew he was an alcoholic. Talk about a giant, warehouse-sized rug. Sometimes I ask Isaiah if he has any surprises for me…but during those times, I have to say to myself: You know Isaiah as well as you can know another human. You marry someone for the good and bad parts…

      I’m writing a guest post this week for Anna on what marriage means to me, so I didn’t want to go into that too much.

      Thanks so much, Sarah.

      • November 13, 2010 8:16 pm

        I was just about to comment on the rug pull and how it can age you prematurely or freeze you in your tracks, but here Sarah beat me to the punch.

        Also, I really appreciate how open and honest you are on your blog. Openness and honesty are pretty vital for good relationships and marriages, so I think you don’t have much to worry about. Like the tragically middle-aged at 14 Aaliyah once said, Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.

      • November 13, 2010 9:40 pm

        haha thanks, robin. i actually love aaliyah in a guilty-pleasure sort of way.

        i definitely understand that concept and have thought about that before. thanks so much, i think understanding the background of someone is so important to understanding marriage and what not too…you know? but now i’m just blushing a little bit and not able to get my words together…

  6. November 13, 2010 7:50 pm

    Dearest sweet lizzie, you guys make a really good looking and great couple. ๐Ÿ™‚ Iโ€™m also one of those that think difference in years doesn’t make any difference. My mister and i also have difference in years…and we do have to defend ourselves to other people …so i totally understand how that feels. Thanks so much for putting up this post and sharing your thoughts with us. It comforts me and im not alone. ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you are having a wonderful weekend so far!! Love to you and yours!

    • November 13, 2010 9:45 pm

      jacqueline you are SO sweet! cavity-style! i definitely get that..i think the biggest thing to getting over the subconscious effects of an age difference (we didn’t even realize there was the slightest difference between us until we started talking about) is open communication. i hope the best for you and yours as well. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. November 13, 2010 8:03 pm

    Jeez, you guys and the making me think a lot! I have a few posts going re: the rug being pulled and the age difference. So it’s awesome that everyone is jumping on that before me! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Ya know what? You’re never, ever going to please anyone. Right now, there are people actively bitching at me for being sooo old and fiiiinally getting married, and there are people telling me “you’re too young, wait til AT LEAST 30.” Suck it, peeps. I appreciate the input and you gotta do what’s right for you, but I have to do what’s right for me. People who know me are fully supportive, and that’s what counts.

    And the age difference–there’s 5.5 for us too. (Almost exactly). But that’s really necessary. When my parents were in the process of divorcing, my mom’s counselor told me that I shouldn’t date young guys because I was never going to be happy with any under 25 year olds, and that I was probably going to have to end up with a guy significantly older than me because of the aging events I went through. I dated several guys close to my age or younger than me, and it makes a difference. In a good way.

    So long rambly comment to say hugs and that I totally hear you on this, and if you ever want to talk about it in more depth, I gotcher back! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    • November 13, 2010 9:44 pm

      thanks, jo! can’t wait to read your posts on the subject! my therapist said exactly the same thing…that i would likely not find anyone my own age who was on the same page as me, but it’s not that i don’t think guys our age can be mature as well.

      what’s that rule about guys/girls maturity? i forget…but you know it.

  8. November 14, 2010 11:39 am

    Hello! I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago and now I’m completely hooked. To the great detriment of my work, I keep finding myself navigating through your older entries and wistfully daydreaming about the day when I find my own better half. My sister got married in April and it inevitably got me thinking about how I’d like to do my own wedding and well…like you I’m excited to put my creative brain to good use towards a lower-budget, one of a kind wedding.

    It’s so refreshing to read your posts and see that two people can be so level headed and comfortably in love without feeling the need to have an extravagant hurried wedding. It really is just about finding the person you enjoy spending your time with and then enjoying spending your time with them (marriage or not). As for age, you’re right, it bears absolutely no importance and I for one actually like seeing mature young couples committing to each other. Sometimes I feel like people these days prioritize everything else (career, money, fun…) over long-term relationships. I always hoped I’d at least have met my future husband by 22 but I’m definitely two years behind on that one. However, having just taken my own dating hiatus perhaps I’ll find myself as lucky as you both ๐Ÿ™‚

    Here’s wishing you both all the luck and happiness (and INSPIRATION!) the world has to offer. Can’t wait to keep reading your next posts.

  9. November 14, 2010 12:35 pm

    what?! you are way too sweet! welcome to the blog..and the innerworkings of our relationship sometimes. i definitely understand that…i’m watching a lot of my friends go either end of that extreme all the time, and it helps to mentally check “don’t want that…don’t want that…” every once in a while. oh, man the single hiatus is…so important, i think, for some people. it definitely was for me. no worries, tangerine, you’ll find him.

  10. November 14, 2010 1:42 pm

    i appreciate your generous honesty. there are so many blogs that paint this pretty perfect picture. you break it down nicely. i am happy i have found your blog. a breathe of fresh air!

    • November 14, 2010 2:00 pm

      aww, thanks, terri! back atcha! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 14, 2010 11:59 pm

      Totally agree with this! Lizzie, your posts are so real, I feel like I know you and we’re meeting up for a drink. You’re always incredibly honest and I dig your tell-it-like-it-is attitude.

      You + Isaiah seem to be the perfect combo, and yay to you both for not letting age stand in the way of such a good thing. Although I would raise my brow if you were 22 and he was 82 or something. I can’t help but be a teensy bit judgey sometimes.

      • November 15, 2010 12:01 am

        Oh for sure…age is just a number until it triggers your natural gag reflexes…then it’s…something else entirely.

        Thanks so much, Hollie!

  11. judyminardi permalink
    November 14, 2010 10:32 pm

    You shouldn’t have to justify, or feel that you have to justify, your marriage. You seem like you’ve got your head on straight, and if you want to do something, there’s (legally) no one that can stop you!
    I once thought I would fall in love and marry someone much older than me, since that was who I surrounded myself with for a time. I am now engaged to my best friend, and partner in crime and he is only 4 months older than me. “Age ain’t nothin’ but a number”… or whatever that girl once sang!

  12. November 15, 2010 12:36 am

    I can’t lie. My eyes widened when I read you were 22. I had no idea! I only ‘know’ you through your blogs and Twitter but you definitely sound more mature than I remember most 22 year olds being. You’re right – it probably has a lot to do with your experiences, and I don’t think it will matter a bit in your marriage. Sounds like you and Isaiah have it ‘down’ as much as any couple can. I once dated a man 14 years older than me and I don’t think that mattered – we complimented each other very well. Our ages were not the reason it didn’t work out.

    Continued good luck to you guys! I really appreciate your posts. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 15, 2010 1:24 am

      REALLY!? haha. thanks so much! i understand that game…exes are a whole ‘nother story and age has never been the difference…often if it’s age, that’s a game-changer right from the beginning, you know?

      thanks again!

  13. November 15, 2010 7:29 am

    sounds like you have your feet firmly planted on the ground!
    my husband and i are a few years apart – we didn’t get married until later, though. just how it worked out. and my parents are 16 years apart and still married!

    • November 19, 2010 1:15 am

      thanks so much, alex. my aunt and uncle are 17 years apart and still married as well! when it hits you, you just know…you know?

  14. November 15, 2010 4:26 pm

    I have a 22 year old brother that I can’t imagine will settle down for years, but when I was 22, I had already lived with John, moved across the country all on my own and then brought him out to California with me. The difference between age and experience is enormous, and I don’t think that anyone else can say with any certainly when the “right time” is. The right time is when it all comes together, and if your blog is any evidence, you and Isiah are meant for each other.

    But do enjoy the Ghostbusters!

    • November 19, 2010 1:15 am

      DEFINITELY. experience is key, thanks for the comment, lena, you’re so sweet!

  15. November 16, 2010 5:35 pm

    I think that age is mostly just a number. And that experience is a HUGE part of the equation. And you will be fine.

  16. November 17, 2010 12:00 am

    This is my favorite post of yours, maybe ever.

  17. Mary permalink
    November 17, 2010 6:39 pm

    Hi Lizzie! I love your blog! I know I’m a little late commenting on this post, but it really struck me and I had to comment when I found time.

    Mark is three months older than me so I can’t quite relate to the age difference, but I totally relate to the young marriage thing. I’m a 21-year-old marrying another 21-year-old and I get a lot of strange looks. While I’m sometimes tempted to say “age is just a number” to defend myself to people, I don’t. I understand why people might assume I’m not ready to get married because let’s face it, age is generally correlated with life experience. (While it doesn’t excuse rudeness, I do understand their thought process.) But I DON’T think that age is as strongly correlated with maturity. My two uncles are in their 40’s and I don’t think they’ll ever be ready to settle down.

    I agree that life experience is SO important because it not only teaches you about who you are, but also about where you want to go in your life. Which is so important if you’re tying your life to anothers.

    • November 19, 2010 1:20 am

      mary…don’t you ever worry about “commenting late…” haha. i’m always down for some conversation. i definitely get that ALL the time…the people who think i’m too young and inexperienced to get married…that i haven’t “tried enough people out…” but then i get the crazy other end of the spectrum, where we will be “perfect together and we just knew, didn’t we, and it’s SO cute that we’re getting married and blah-blah-blah.”

      i couldn’t agree more with that statement, lady: “If you’re tying your life to another’s…” you have to know who you are before you can be certain you’re making ANY right decision, let alone a huge one like marriage.

  18. November 18, 2010 9:57 pm

    i love you two. i cannot stress that enough. you are a wonderful couple and you are wise beyond your years. ryan is 4 years older than me and i think it is a very good fit. you guys are in it for the long haul, i can tell ๐Ÿ™‚

    • November 19, 2010 1:21 am

      thanks so much, lisa! you are WAY too sweet! this brought a huge smile to my face, for sure…


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