What is Love? Where is love? How does love work? Does true love exist?

What is Love?

Love is an emotional feeling of attraction, closeness, intimacy, strong liking, and source of enjoyment to be together with someone or something.

Love can take different forms with different things and beings. Examples:

“I love coffee”; “I love my new dress” : “I love my native place” – these are to do with things.

“I love Ilayaraja songs; I love watching thriller movies”  – these are to do with abstract things.

“I love my dog”; “I love my cat”  — these are to do with living beings other than humans.

“I love my friend”; “I love the comedian Vadivelu” – these are to do with third persons

“I love my cousin brother; I love my brother in law” – These are to do with distant relatives.

“I love my mother/ sister/ son/ daughter/brother/ grandfather” – these are to do with blood relatives.

“I love that girl; I love that boy” – these are to do with a specific person of opposite sex with a marital or sexual intent in mind.

“I love my husband/ wife” – these are to do with existing intimate relations

“I love Lord Shiva; I love Lord Krishna” – this is bhakti – devotion to God.

It is quite obvious that the intensity of love, the reverberation of the joyful feeling that love generates is not same in the various categories of love that we saw above.

The love a boy develops on his girlfriend is not of the same frequency or intensity as the love the boy has on his sister. The love one has on his father is not same as the love one has on the pet dog. Strange it may seem, but the present day truth is that many people are able to love their pet dogs better than their fathers!

When it comes to love, all of us are both givers as well as receivers.  All of us, with varying degrees of intensity, are capable of giving love and receiving love. No one can constantly be giving love without getting back any love in return. No one can keep on receiving love without giving something back. Think of it: If pet dogs don’t reciprocate any love, no one will ever keep them at home!

What is the source of Love?

Where from does love spring? Why at all does a person express love to another? Why does a wife love her husband? Why do parents love their children?

According to Sanatana Dharma, God is the in-dweller in all beings. God permeates the entire creation. Even though each of us seem to have different personalities, our Self – Atman is one. It is like different beads of a necklace strung together in a single thread. It is like a single sun reflecting in hundred pots of water. Atman is that thread; Atman is the sun. Atman is Sat-chit-ananda – Existence-knowledge-bliss. It is the bliss of the atman that gets expressed in the form of love.

In the Hindu scripture Brihadarayanka Upanishad, The saint Yagnyavalkya says

 ‘A wife loves her husband not for his sake, but for the sake of her own Self.

‘A husband loves his wife not for her sake, but for the sake of his own Self.

‘You love the sons not for the son’s sake, but for the sake of your own self

‘You love wealth not for the the sake of the wealth, but for the sake of your own self

‘You love the cattles not for their sake, but for the sake of your own self……

Is love really pure?

It is really an uneasy question to answer.  At the highest ideal level, it is true, but at practical level it is not always so.

Behind every expression of love, there will always be some dose of selfishness lurking. Perhaps only in one human relationship – the relationship between a mother and her little child, the love may be closest to purity. It is so because, there is a divine dispensation behind it. This mother’s love on her little kid seems to be pre-programmed by the Higher Power for the continuation of progeny in the earth; it is the reality in animal kingdom too. Mother animals carry their intense love on their little ones through instinct. To a large extent, such an instinctive feeling of love exists in human mothers too which transcends any scientific analysis.

But, in the present times, it is a fact that even this motherly natural love is also is also getting a beating. Now a days, children are born out of mere sexual union without the sanctity or commitment of marriage; Children are born out of live-in relationships; Children are born out of deteriorating husband-wife relationships ending up in divorces; children are born out of serial monogamy (i.e. a woman bearing children of different males out of different wedlock done one divorce after another). As a consequence, the natural love that a mother has on her children has definitely deteriorated.

Even when there is a pure love existing between the mother and her young child, the purity gradually deteriorates as the child grows up to a man/ woman.  Parents start expecting several things from their children – obedience, respect, help in family chores, monetary help, heeding to their advice regarding finding a partner for marriage, the monetary expectations (in receiving or in avoiding to spend) behind conducting son’s/ daughter’s marriage, obedience, respect from daughter-in-law, the need to take care of them at their old age, the need to conduct the rituals post their death – the list goes on this is how the once-pure parental love gradually changes colors towards a personal, selfish agenda.

Selfishness and love

Mostly, the selfish motive behind love gets smartly camouflaged. The giver of love may hide and underplay the selfish motive. The receiver of love too, out of love towards the giver, may overlook the play of selfishness behind the giver out of gratitude. Example: A father wants to construct a house and he wants his son to apply loans and assist him financially.  He says to the son: “To possess my own house is my dream; unfortunately, I could not do it because I had to ensure getting your sister married off and to educate you decently. I have done my duty. But with my present financial status, I cannot buy my dream house with my savings alone. I want you to help”. The son, out of gratitude to his father, willingly gets into a debt trap so as to help his father realize his dream. Interestingly, the son too may hold a hidden selfish motive –‘In future, this property or a portion of it will anyway come to me’.

In the above case, the father’s selfish interest is obvious, but is hidden behind sentiments.  The father does not think ‘I would not like to put my son into a debt trap at this young age just because of my selfish motive to fulfil my dream”.

Likewise, if we analyze threadbare keeping sentiments aside, we can locate some selfish motive (small or big) lurking behind every act or expression of love in most of our relationships.

That’s why, Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) says: “We love others because they give us happiness or fulfil our desires; obeying, respecting, or having high opinion about us. Otherwise, we do not love them. When somebody hates us, revenge often takes the place of love. This is the case with even with those closest to you. If you disobey or disrespect them, you may not love them. Where there is real love, there is no selfishness.  We must be able to love without expecting anything from anyone”

Ego and love

“Whom do you love the most?”

If you pose this question to people, most of them will tell the name or a relation that they believe to love dearest. But it is a wrong answer. The unshakable truth of our existence in this world is that all of us love ourselves dearest first and then only any other person or thing.

This self-love as such is natural and fundamentally it is not wrong. It is natural because we are all self (Atman) in essence, but we have forgotten it.

When someone says ‘I love myself’, he does not refer to his atman which is the source of pure unadulterated love; what he means is he loves his own personality – his ego. All of us have different degrees of egoism in us, some very strong, some moderate, some subtle, but nevertheless the ego is very much there.  This ego wants us to be selfish, self-centered, receive appreciation and pampering, garner importance, ensure one-upmanship and so on.

Another face of ego is sensitivity. Some people may look meek, non-assertive, soft-spoken and so on, but they may be extremely sensitive to criticism, censure, sarcastic comments and so on. They will behave like touch-me-not if they are hurt even a little. Sensitivity is nothing but subtle, but strong, hidden ego.

Love and Hate

Ordinary love is just like one side of a coin. The other side of the coin is hate. When the coin is flipped and ‘love side’ goes under, the other side – hate gets exposed.

The greatest truth about love is that it will flourish well as long as ego or sensitivity is not hurt. The moment the ego is hurt, the coin flips! The other side – hate becomes visible. When our selfish interest is not met, love reverses. When we fail to receive appreciation, pampering etc or when our self-importance or one-upmanship is denied, the love reverses.

The swing from love to hate may be slow and graduated in some people and very fast in some people. Normally, women, being essentially very emotional, swing from love to hate very quickly without any intermediate stops.  It is also observed that a woman can hate a person as intensely as her erstwhile love.

Reversing the hate back to love is also possible when the hurt ego is pampered. A genuine apology, a corrective action of mistake done can pave the way for the reversal.

Amma Mata Amritanandamayi says “The difficulty is not in expressing love, but in letting go of the ego. Love is our true nature. It is already present within us, but we are held back by our individual boundaries. We have to outgrow our individuality (ego) in order to merge into universal love. The ego stands in the way of love. Once removed, it flows like a river.”

Time is also a great healer. This can be seen particularly in blood relationships. Any hurt caused in the past leading to a crack in love gets healed over time and people come back to revive relationships. That’s why it is said that the blood is thicker than water.

Love and possessiveness

Ahankaram (Ego) and mamakaram (possessiveness) are like twins.  Our love is mostly available for consumption within our own limited circle — covered within the boundary ‘mine’ (possessiveness).  If true love transcending limited boundaries can be called (with upper case L) “Love”, the ordinary love we see within limits is just ‘love’ with a lower case ‘l’.

Amma says: “There is ‘love’ and “Love”. You love your family: Your father, mother, sister, brother, husband, wife etc., but you do not love your neighbor. You love your son or daughter but you do not love all children. You love your religion, but do not love all religions. Likewise, you love your country, but do not love all countries. Hence this is not “Love”. It is only ‘love’. Transformation of this ‘love’ to “Love” is the goal of spirituality.”

Love in Man-woman relationship – Love-Romance-Lust

The very sustenance of life in earth depends on the factor of love between man and woman. May be as a consequence, this love is the most basic, emotion laden, complicated, joyful, painful and stressful. It has the widest scope of expression — from the meanest to the divine.  

In Sanatana dharma, considerable priority and importance has been given to the man-woman relationship, clearly specifying the scope, purpose, boundaries and dharma associated with it. Man and woman leading a life of mutual love and togetherness in proper wedlock, with the aim of spiritual advancement together, begetting worthy and responsible children for continuation of progeny and contributing to the welfare of the society – that is the core purpose married life and such an ideal life is a dharma by itself – Grihasthasrama dharma – The righteous way of living a family life. Sexual energy, instead of getting uncontrollably dissipated in lustful, unbridled way of living, is channelized and streamlined. Proper control of passions, self-discipline and restraint with the twin goals of spiritual progress and social welfare – that is the hallmark of Grihastasrama dharma of Hinduism.

Triangular Theory of Love

Even from the point of view of modern Psychology, the love between man and woman is still set within the conventional scope of good marital life and bonding.

One of the most popular and widely acclaimed theory on love in man-woman relationship is Triangular Theory of Love, conceived and elaborated by Dr. Robert Sternberg (born December 8, 1949), American psychologist and a Professor of Human Development at Cornell University.

His theory is depicted in the form of a triangle in which the three faces are Romantic love, companionate love and Fatuous love. Its 3 corners are passion, intimacy and commitment. A love is consummated in full satisfaction only when all the 3 ingredients – passion, intimacy and commitment are present.  See picture below:

 

When a man/woman gets attracted to the other with passion only (without intimacy and commitment), it is just infatuation.

If in a man-woman relationship there is intimacy but no passion (sexual attraction) or commitment (for marriage or long term togetherness), it is just liking or friendship.

If there is only commitment in relationship without passion or intimacy, it is empty love. Such a thing is possible in arranged marriages, but intimacy and passion may develop subsequently.

Only when lines exist connecting these corners, the triangle of love is complete.

A romantic love (as one side of the triangle) exists when passion and intimacy are present.  In a romantic love, commitment is yet to come. For the romance to end in marriage, commitment is essential.

A companionate love (as the second side of the triangle) exists when intimacy and commitment are present.  In this love, romance is yet to come. Only when romance gets added to this relationship, there is color and spice in the married life.

In fatuous love (as the third side of the triangle) passion and commitment are present. Loving at first sight and getting married quickly fits into this form of love. Here there is no romance or a prolonged courtship. If romance is also added, then the love-life is wholesomely consummated.

Ideally when all the three faces of the triangle are present, it is a successfully consummated marriage.

Love equations that end in disappointment

  • Lust: When the attraction to the person of opposite sex is purely physical with the overt or covert intention of having just a sexual relationship for enjoyment, it is lust. It is fired by passion. If at all romanticism is added, it is more as a ploy to woo the opposite sex. Commitment to a long time relationship will be very elusive.

    If the motive of one of the partners is just to satiate the lust whereas the other partner mistakes it for genuine love hoping it to end in a marriage, then the relationship heads towards an ugly end as and when the moment of realization of truth dawns.
  • Romance: When the attraction to the person of opposite sex is based on passion (where lust is not too obvious or blatant but very much exists hidden) and one finds joy in the company of the other person even without a sexual relationship. Both attraction and intimacy are strongly present in a romantic relationship.

    In a romantic relationship, both the partners will behave their best to keep the mutual attraction and the joy of company alive and vibrant. It also means any dark, unpleasant or ugly side of their personalities or behaviors  will be very skillfully hidden. Even if such things get revealed now and then, the other partner may not notice it and register it but opt to ignore it or sideline it as long as the romanticism is burning.

    When romanticism is all alluring, at least one of the partners may tend to delay the commitment. It is because people have an inherent inkling in them that most of the charm of the romantic love will fade away once the relationship gets committed to a marital bond!

    In romantic love too, when the commitment part of the love becomes elusive, then the relationship starts drifting towards disappointment.

What is true love and where is true love in man-woman relationship?

Since love or attraction (be it infatuation, lust or romance)  between man and woman is extremely emotional and has the undercurrent of sexual intent behind it, human mind creates all sorts pretences to generate an image that the love indeed it “true love”. The coining of the phrase ‘true love’ itself is an indication about the common existence of ‘untrue love’!

Swayed by emotions and sentiments, if we are developing mere attachment to someone, it is not love.  Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) says: “ ‘Am I really in love or am I too attached?’ Contemplate on this question as deeply as you can. Most people are craving for attachment, not real love. In a way, we are betraying ourselves. We mistake attachment for love. Love is the centre and attachment is the periphery. Aim for the centre”.

Suggested additional reading: Reading and discussions on an additional document provided herewith  (see at the bottom: What is true love, where is true love?) may be helpful for youngsters to grasp very practically how our minds caught by emotions can hoodwink us into justifying our own failings in understanding what is love.

Lack of Love

The source of all love is divine. Amma says “Love is the foundation of life, but consciously or unconsciously we forget this truth. When we do not express love in our words and actions, it is like honey trapped in a rock — it is of no use to anyone. When families are able to express love with each other, peace and harmony will prevail in the home and society”.

Every being receives its essential doze of love right from birth from the mother first.  In a family where cordial love exists amidst its members, the child, as it grows, gets love from father, siblings, grandparents and other relatives.  The home is the birth place of love and the fertile soil of love for growth.

Conversely, when a child born in an atmosphere where love is lacking, and is brought up in a home where exchange of love is in short supply, the child grows with lots of psychological issues. Many of the emotional problems in the adulthood where this longing of love or absence of love gets expressed in myriad ways in man-woman relationship can be traced back to lack of love in childhood. That’s why Amma says: “Only those who have received love can give love. Hearts of such people who have never received love will always be closed.  They will neither be able to receive love or give love. It is very important for parents to give love to the young”.

That’s why Grihasthashrama (Family life) is a dharma in Hinduism

A child born and brought up with proper love and care in a family is a wealth for the future generation.  In Hinduism, continuation of progeny and having children of worthy qualities for the welfare of future generations was considered as an essential dharma of worldly life.  

If this dharma has to sustain, there are several things that need sustenance in the social fabric:

  1. Respect, belief and  commitment to the institution of marriage
  2. A marital relationship is not just for releasing animal passions
  3. A marital relationship is a lifelong commitment.  Man and woman have to essentially agree and live to a committed life of togetherness for life based on mutual love, trust, respect and companionship.
  4. There is nothing like live-in relationships. Divorce is an anathema.
  5. Women were expected to be housewifes predominantly because child rearing was considered as the prime responsibility, more than any financial or other considerations
  6. In order to ensure the purity of mother’s love, a woman getting remarried after an untimely death of husband was highly discouraged by the society.

Despite the onslaught of western culture in India, we are still able to see quite a lot of family bond amidst Indians. Divorces and remarriages are not still fully accepted in in Hindu culture.

Loving God – Bhakti

All said and done on love, the obvious ground reality is that love between human beings gets tainted in some way or other by egoism and selfishness. When a man longs for pure love — a love where the giver of love simply gives without any expectation in return — he understands that only the creator can give such a love.  The creator has given us sunlight to see, the air to breathe, the earth to live, the trees and plants to give us food, rain for our drinking water and so on. Man feels he is indebted to the creator for giving us everything without any expectations. This indebtedness makes him love the giver. He is also sure that God being omnipresent and omnipotent can give him all that he needs by sincerely praying to Him.

Such a trust and faith becomes the basis of love on God which is called devotion — Bhakti. Love on God at the initial levels may be based on expectations from God. We want money, wealth, comforts, position and power in life and believe we will be happy if we get all these in good measure. We pray to God lovingly for blessing us with all these. We face difficulties, suffering and worries in life. We want God to remove them all. We lovingly pray to him for support.

As our love and relationship with God gets deeper, our understanding about God also get refined.  Based on our experiences, we grasp that God in any case is always taking care of us irrespective of our praying him or otherwise. We also gradually understand that God is not freely giving us whatever we pray and ask for; sometimes he gives; sometimes he does not give; sometimes he gives something that we do not want. But over time, we analyse, experience  and understand that whatever he has given or not given have all been for our good only. We grasp that we are limited in our own understanding of what is good for us or what is bad for us, whereas God knows only what is good for us and he arranges everything accordingly — by giving or by denying.

The more we grasp this fact, then our ‘love with agenda’ on God comes to an end. We don’t find the need to pray to him. Our love on him too starts reflecting his love on us — unconditional. We start loving God for love sake. Such a deep love on God is called “Prema Bhakti”. A devotee gripped by prema bhakti forgets everything; he has no care for his own body, its needs or comforts. He wants love of God for love sake. He wants to become love. He wants to merge in God. He melts in God and becomes ultimately God himself.

This the the story of evolution of the unadulterated pure love of the divine.  We have several examples of such great personalities who demonstrated the path of pure Bhakti to attain Godhood. We have had great saints and Avatars  like Bhakta Meera, Sri Gouranga, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Ma Anandamayi, Papa Ramdas and Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi) in this great land of Bharat.

Amma says: “There are three expressions of love that awaken us from within: love for oneself; love for god and love for the entire creation. Love for oneself does not mean the self-centered love of the ego. it means to love life, to see both the successes and failures in our human birth as God’s blessing, while loving the divine power inherent within us. This grows to become love for God. If these two components are present, then the love for the entire creation will manifest naturally.”

Sharing Pure Love

it is no wonder that Avatara Purushas and Mahatmas carry this divine love with them for unconditional distribution to others. Their source of love is unlimited because it is divine.

It is this pure, divine love that attracts people who are emotionally suffering in their loveless lives, to mahatma’s like Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi).  Why a dark skinned, rustic woman from a remote and unknown fishermen’s hamlet in the faraway state of Kerala in India is so much sought after by white skinned, educated elite of the west?

Because they have lost love in their lives. A vast majority of them  have been born and brought up in an atmosphere where lust is essentially mistaken for love; brazen selfishness with very poor faith in the sanctity of marriage is the norm of life;  The mindset for give and take or for any sacrifice for the sake of the other person has been missing among the majority. Life in the west gradually has turned to become filled with ‘beggers of love expecting other beggars of love to feed them with love’.  When they encounter a person like Amma where every nerve of her is bent upon giving, giving and more giving, caring, sharing and absorbing others’ woes and worries, they get floored! Their long and unsatiated thirst for love atlast finds a spring of love rising and flowing for everyone to come and take.

And this love elevates the receiver from evolving from the clutches of selfishness. From a beggar of love the seeker evolves to a lover of God.

-=0O0=-

How to have more joy and less pain in life

Joy and woe are woven fine; a clothing for the soul divine’ says poet William Blake. Practically all spiritual masters from all religions say the same thing time and again. Joy and pain are always said to be like two sides of the same coin.

It is true that fate plays some extra-dirty games in some people’s life and however much they strive, their share of pain seems to be more than the pleasure they get out of life. Hinduism says it is all due to* prarabhdha* (effects of past bad *karma*s done in previous lives). There are also a lucky few people who seem to enjoy pleasure far in excess of pain in their lives and again, Hinduism attributes it to good karmas done in previous lives. As for the majority, it looks joys and woes in life tend to even out.

But man always wants to maximize his joy and minimize his pain in life. Is it then really possible? For many people, particularly in young age, there seems to be a mental resistance to accept any religious or spiritual advice/ explanation/ guidance on this subject. So, outside religion, are there any good tips available for them to enjoy more pleasure in life without proportionate pain?

Yes there are indeed some practical tips available. Let us see some of them.

Have your own standards of desirable joy and bearable pain

Everyone has different capacities and tastes for enjoyment. Everyone has different levels of tolerance and acceptance of pain for the sake of enjoying pleasure. Be clear about your standards. Your close friends’ standards need not be yours. What everyone seems to be enjoying NEED NOT be really joyful to you. The pains to which others seem to be impervious may be too unpleasant to you!

Have you ever thought in such an angle in life? The fact is – most people do not evoke enough self-awareness on these things. To be blunt, herd mentality is quite strong in most of us. Because of this mentality, many people bear with pain without being aware of it for the sake of enjoying some paltry pleasures that othersseem to enjoy!

An youngster, whom I know as one with a calm demeanor, once told me that he went with his friends to see a 20-20 cricket match live at a stadium.

“Ah! Must be quite an experience! Did you enjoy it?” I asked.

“Sort of; yeah, it was fun, okay, but…”

As I probed deeper, he said: “We had to wait in very long queue for hours to book our tickets first. In the stadium, they did not permit us to carry our own food or water—everything we had to buy at very hefty prices there! Oh! The amount of noise people made there with their shouts, whistles, drums, pipes and what not! At some critical action times in the game, someone will invariably jump up in front of me and block the view. The pitch was so far away that I could not even make out which players are playing. Whether a ball was really caught or dropped, I won’t know from such a distance! The side where we were sitting, for the ticket amount we paid, was constantly exposed to sun and I felt I was getting roasted! I had to spend through my nose to keep buying water and drinking it to quench my thirst. By the time the game was over, I got thoroughly tired – both physically and mentally. As I returned home, I was suffering from a splitting head-ache!”

“ Then you mean to say, it would have been heaven if you had watched the game in TV relaxing at the couch in your home?” I asked.

“Absolutely! I would have seen all the actions, all the replays, heard all the expert comments!”

“…and you would have saved quite some bucks, escaped from the burning sun, from the unwanted headache…” I completed the sentence and he nodded.

“How about your friends?”

“Ah! They all seemed to have a freaking time at the stadium! They enjoyed every moment – shouting, dancing, laughing, munching and drinking…”

Now you get some idea?

Be aware to weigh pain and pleasure in advance wherever possible and then decide which one is more for you

We continued with our conversation.

“Did all in your group of friends come to the stadium?” I probed further.

“No! You know Prakash? He is an ardent cricket fan, but flatly refused to join us right at the time we planned the program”

“Did you know why?”

“To be frank, he warned me in advance about all these!”

Now you know the difference? Prakash was not fitting into herd mentality. Perhaps he too had gone through this experience earlier and learnt a valuable lesson! Despite being an ardent cricket fan, Prakash could weigh the pleasure and pain behind witnessing the game live at stadium. Having learnt that the pain, according to his demeanor, is more than the pleasure, he judiciously opted out of it.

Learning from past experience and using it in future is the key.

Be moderate in your enjoyment – any consequent pain will be far less

During my childhood, chance to eat good feasts were rare. I had a sweet tooth and also loved oily savories too. Death day remembrance ceremonies conducted at home for ancestors were occasions when we get sumptuous feast to eat. And I mostly over ate on such occasions and suffered the consequences – a sense of dislike of the feast itself at the end of eating on account of over-stuffing of the stomach, indigestion and a possible loose motion the next day!

Since fortunately I had had the tendency to analyze myself and evoke self-awareness, I became gradually more conscious as I grew up. While I still enjoyed sweets and savories offered generously at feasts, I started reducing their quantities considerably but made sure to taste a little of everything. I made it a practice that I would never eat to my full stomach in any feast. Thus I could really enjoy every variety served in the feast and never suffered out of indigestion subsequently.

This concept of moderation can be extended to all our activities whereby we seek enjoyment – foods, drinks, movies, music, going out with friends, sex, socializing, keeping awake, sleeping, working in office, study, earning money, spending money, idling, philanthropy, playing games, doing exercise, watching internet, talking in cell phone, taking medicines and so on.

When you develop moderation on things you love to enjoy, you will surprisingly find that the keenness or taste of enjoyment also grows sharper. Your focus and awareness of enjoyment will grow and you will find it deeply satisfying. For example, if you cut down your coffee intake from say 4 cups a day to two cups a day and that too with a reduced volume per intake, you can observe that the coffee tastes so extra blissful, unlike what you used to feel with higher intake!

Keep strictly away from enjoyments that society abhors

I m not saying what Bible abhors or other religious scriptures condemn. There are several things that the society you live in does not generally appreciate or accept easily as right or normal. The society may be quite pluralistic in religious faiths and hence irrespective of whether they are religion-based or not, there are things that public does not approve of.

Example: Same sex relationships, prostitution, polygamy, polyandry, stealing, illegal trading of arms, drug trafficking, terrorist activity, love jihad, bullying, black-marketing, drug addiction etc

Unfortunately, there seems to exist an extra doze of thrill in enjoying what society forbids. There is a saying in Tamil that stolen mango has an extra tinge of taste! Perhaps that “extra tinge of taste” is so alluring that people get entrapped into pleasure-seeking on things that the society forbids. May be the consequent pain does not come imminently; but it comes for sure and it will land so severely that it can cause the greatest damage.

Keeping away from things that society forbids will bring you mental peace; that peace is more worthy than the joy of indulgence.

 Enjoy in tune with your age

There is an age up to which even ‘stones can be digested’; there is an age up to which the body can take lots of abuse without showing much of reaction; there is an age up to which youthful zeal can be maintained in intimate relationships; there is an age up to which mental resilience can be quite strong.

Time and age gradually wears away many things. Indulgence in excess chocolates may not lead excess fat up to certain age, but beyond that age if you continue that indulgence, you end up suffering in obesity and cholesterol related problems. Jogging brings you good health up to certain age and then joint pains beyond that! Post thirty five, excess make up brings in a false sense of youthful look up to certain age, and then suddenly everyone seems to laugh at your wrinkles despite your best efforts to hide them!

Whether eating, drinking, sex, dress, mingling, singing, dancing or any such thing, do what is right in tune with your age. If not, you will end up with more pain than pleasure.

Accept some pain for the sake of worthy pleasure or for avoiding a bigger pain

If waking up early is a pain for you, then that pain is worth accepting if you can avoid the pain of peak-hour traffic woes, by starting early to office. If the pain of compulsorily saving some money instead of spending it carefree is undergone, then you will enjoy a debt-free life at later stages of life. If doing regular physical exercises is found boring and painful to you, then by forcefully engaging yourself in it, you will be able to enjoy a good physical health in the long run.

Desire to maximize joy is the innate nature of every living being. The above 6 guidelines can help you to a fair extent in this effort. But always remember: Between enjoyment and peace, there is a huge difference. Matured is the one who looks for achieving peace in life rather than enjoyment out of life.

Monogamy – Is it nature or nurtured?

It really appears that God has created men with some undue advantages and privileges over women. Perhaps on account of this advantageous position, the basic mental and physical tendency of a man is polygamous; on the other hand, due to the physical and mental nature of women, they tend to be more monogamous. Thus there lies a natural phenomenon that leads one to subscribe that monogamy in a woman is her “nature” and in a man it develops by “nurturing”.

Motherhood and monogamy in woman

God seems to have created every woman with the intention of making her life wholesome essentially through her motherhood. This mother instinct is deeply etched in every female species, including the animal kingdom. Amidst human beings, even the life of a nymphomaniac undergoes a metamorphosis, both physiologically and emotionally, once she gives birth to a baby. The inexplicable bondage of love a woman develops with her baby and the desire to protect and nurture the child calls for an emotional attachment towards the man who was the cause of the arrival of the child.

Through her love and care a woman nurtures monogamous commitment in man.

Through her love and care a woman nurtures monogamous commitment in man.

In a woman, God seems to have made this emotional bondage with her man and her sense of loyalty associated with it very strong indeed. Added to this natural phenomenon, there exist the moral and ethical standards imposed by the society on women. The society as a whole imposes (or expects) the morality of monogamy in a woman and it cannot simply be brushed aside accusing that it is males’ scheme of things to subjugate women this way. No woman possessing basic moral values ever respects a woman who practices polygamy. It is not again because of traditional moral conditioning, but because, deep within her psyche every woman seems to feel comfortable and peaceful with having just one man as the father of her children.

It is true that in the present day scheme of things where marital discords and divorces have become too common, a woman may bear the children of more than one father one marriage after another (what is now called serial monogamy) , but definitely the society would not easily accept a woman having more than one sexual partner simultaneously.

There is nothing like natural fatherly instinct!

There is nothing like natural fatherly instinct!

Thus along with motherhood, God appears to have given a woman a far deeper sense of responsibility towards her children and the need to ensure their respectability in the society; that respectability can be ensured by her only by declaring boldly, without any sense of guilt, who their singular father is.

A woman’s psyche, by nature, is haunted by a high degree of guilt and consequent emotional turmoil, if she were to become polygamous by her adventurism, omissions or commissions.

A man can sow seeds everywhere

Contrary to all the above, think of a man’s physical and emotional constitution. Man’s life is NOT built physically and mentally around fatherhood. When a woman produces just one egg in her womb per month that has the potential to become a child, a man produces billions and billions of sperms at every ejaculation which he is capable of releasing every day. A man, like a tree or a plant produces far in excess of seeds than that can create a new life. Why is it so? It leads us to believe that it is purely God’s scheme of things that it be so.

This excess and natural production of seeds tempt a man to sow them at wider and and newer fields and he is not haunted by any emotional sense of guilt as strongly as women are. That’s why there is lot of scope to conclude that God has not created men to be monogamous strictly;He has given him the freedom to play as he likes and face the physical and emotional consequences of practicing such an unbridled freedom, or to restrain himself by accepting moral and spiritual responsibility towards a single woman.

Enforcing monogamy through womanly love and care

God has also given, in a very poetic way, some strong capabilities to woman to keep her man bonded and hooked to her without going astray. Yes. It is the power of woman’s overpowering love, possessiveness and the physical bondage she weaves around a man. It is this beautiful characteristic of woman that attracts and binds a man to one woman. A woman’s way of showing love to her man, the way she goes about satisfying his needs and nurturing him, the way she displays extraordinary motherly characteristics to their children and the extent of sacrifice a women does to do her divinely role of playing the unselfish motherhood — all these create an awe in a man on his wife.

Loving, nurturing, caring, accepting man’s dominance, accepting a man’s many idiosyncrasies and still tolerating and supporting him — all these things are done by women just as a barter deal to ensure men of predominantly polygamous tendencies to remain monogamous. Thus a woman plays her role naturally to nurture monogamous tendencies in a man.

An essentially polygamous man can be tamed and turned monogamous only through the unique strengths, well founded on femininity, as endowed to a woman by God. When women forget to grasp this simple fact, they end up fighting for equality and entangle themselves into more and more emotional turmoil.

If a man, despite his natural and inborn tendency, opts to live monogamous, he is definitely elevating himself spiritually. By nurturing this quality, he may lose some thrills and fun in life, but he gains love, physical well being, mental peace and tranquility in the bargain. On the contrary, if a woman tends to become polygamous, she is going against her basic monogamous nature and thus tend to acquire lowly animal qualities. As women are more of emotional creatures than men, a fallen woman suffers a lot more emotionally than a fallen man.

Such of those women who want equality with men in all respects — women who want to shun their traditional role and monogamous nature and compete with men in all spheres including the domain of loosened moralities, are woefully ignorant of this elementary fact, and the price they pay for it in their physical and mental plane is really too stiff.

The suffering of a family or a society is much more when a woman goes astray, than when a man goes astray. This is not an area where woman should try for equality with men. If they do, not only do they bring themselves to ruin, but also cause a severe damage to the balance of the society at large.

Monogamy & Polygamy – Potent Lessons from Indian Mythology

Lord Rama, the most adored male Monogamist

Sita Rama — the monogamous and ideal husband.

In the grand Hindu Epic Ramayana, the King Rama practiced monogamy as a matter of great virtue, despite the fact that it was quite a common norm those days that Kings had multiple wives. Rama’s father Dasaratha had three queens and other 60 concubines in his palace and Lord Rama never took it as an example to follow for his personal life. With such a great virtue, Rama is being adored as the ideal husband, despite the fact that he got himself separated from his dear wife Sita and sent her to forest in order to uphold his adherence to dharma as a ruler.

Draupati, the much condemned woman polygamist

On the contrary, in the other grand Hindu epic Mahabharata, the 5 pandavas, who were considered sticklers to dharma, got infatuated by the overpowering beauty of Draupati; they opted to marry her as a common wife of all the five, despite the fact that it was only Arjuna who won her by his archery skills at the swayamvara of Draupati. There are explanations and justifications given in this mythology for this deviant act, but the fact remains that Draupati accepted this proposition without protest; it was quite a blasphemous act, even considering the fact that the morality of the ruling class was at its lowest ebb during Mahabharata period.

Only Lord Krishna could come to the rescue of polygamist Draupati.

A scene from Mahabharata – Draupati being disrobed by Duschatana in front of her 5 husbands. Only Lord Krishna could come to the rescue of polygamist Draupati.

This act against the social norm practiced by Draupati and Pandavas can be taken as one of the covert causes of the many hardships faced by the Pandavas in their lives. The total lack of empathy towards their cause by the Kauravas and the utter disrespect meted out to them by kauravas becomes very obvious when Pandavas lost everything to Kauravas while playing the dice game. Draupati was singled out and utterly humiliated by Karna as he was openly laughing at Draupati, calling her a whore that married 5 men and she could very well come and sit on his lap too.

It should be noted that though Pandavas won the war, none of their their children given birth by Draupati was alive to rule the kingdom later.

 

 

What Is the Ideal Age Gap Between Man & Woman for Marriage?

Is there a sound reason behind the traditional practice of women marrying older men? If so, how much older should the men be?

That’s the crucial question. If a woman marries a man that is 7-10 years older than her, is she really marrying an “old(er) man?” Many women today seem to nurture such a viewpoint. Getting married to a man that is almost the same age (just two or three years older or even younger by one or two years) seems to be acceptable for today’s woman. The question is whether such a trend and preference of present day woman is in any way beneficial for her married life or not.

What does Hindu Shastras/ Smritis say on this subject? Are they relevant today?

Whatever Manu Smriti/ Parashara Smriti state on this subject has been totally irrelevant in the present day for the Hindus (and also by law too). The smritis say that a woman should be married off before her 12 the year i.e. before attaining puberty. They recommend an age gap of 12 to 20 years between husband and wife! Naturally, it is obvious that there is no question of even discussing the possibility of an older woman marrying a younger man!

Hence we can say that sastras do not offer any relevant help on this subject. We have to naturally rely on healthy practices that are existing in the society for long and go by their merits.

4-8 Years Is the Ideal Age Gap

Personally, I believe very strongly that an age difference of about 4 to 8 years between the woman and man (the man should be older, of course) is really conducive for a good marital bond, and it works very well in the majority of the cases that I have seen (of course taking all other favorable aspects of marriage between the man and woman).

Why It’s Better for Women to Marry Older Men

  1. Women Mature Faster Than Men

There are two elements of compatibility in a marital relationship: Physical maturity and mental maturity.

Women attain physical and mental maturity at a much younger age than men. A girl of three years has more advanced linguistic and oral communication skills than a boy of the same age and a girl’s dependence on her mother at that age is far less than that of a boy. Furthermore, girls attend preschool with more ease, self-confidence, and willingness than boys.

A girl reaches puberty between the ages of 12 to 14 whereas a boy reaches it between 14 and 17. A girl’s instincts about the opposite sex are much more developed as a teenager in comparison with boys.

At 21 years, a woman generally has well developed instincts to observe world and people around her and frame judgments; she has fairly developed a sense of responsibility for her own life and those dependent herself and has firmed up clear ideas about her needs, wants, goals, and ambitions.

  1. Men Aren’t Ready for Marriage Until Later

On the other hand, a 21-yr-old man is far more boyish and carefree, taking things lightly and afraid of commitments and responsibility. An unbridled life as a bachelor is far more attractive to a man at that age than one of the commitment, responsibility and restrictions in a marital relationship.

Around the age of 26, men achieve the level of mental maturity required for a disciplined family life, which comes from the realization that the love and affection of a caring wife is far more valuable than a physical outlet for lust.

Thus, when a woman marries a man four to eight years older than her, they both have similar mental maturity levels and are in a better position to adjust to each other.

  1. Women Respect Older Husbands More

All said and done, a basic psychological fact about men that cannot be wished away is his sense of superiority over the opposite sex. A man, deservedly or undeservedly, expects his wife to treat him as more than an equal partner. As such, he welcomes signs of respect.

Where there is a sizable age difference, the woman tends to show the man more respect. This psychological nuance helps in a significant way to bring harmony in the relationship.

  1. Biology Favors Women Marrying Older Men

From a physical maturity point of view, an age difference augurs well in the long run. The best time for a woman to become a mother is before she turns 35, and her active interest in sex gradually wanes subsequently. She will reach menopause somewhere between 45 and 50. After menopause, women practically lose interest in sex.

On the other hand, a man’s sexually virile age may extend even up to 60 years of age. At around 40, men tend to get a revived vigor in sexual cravings and a co-operative and willing partner at home helps prevent them from going astray.

  1. Looks Matter as Decades Go By

Furthermore, having an attractive and young-looking wife is more important for men. For women, on the other hand, the man’s love is more important than his looks. Normally, a 40-yr-old man would look quite youthful in comparison with his wife if she were of the same age.

Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why previous generations preferred a wider age gap between men and women in marriages.

About Men Marrying Older Women

I am biased totally against such an option. No separate arguments are needed as the logic behind the advantage of men marrying younger women was discussed earlier in this article.

NOTE: This article has kindled lots of discussions from readers and there are several Q&As seeking and explaining why marrying an elder women is not advisable are available in those discussions which are given at the bottom of this article. 

There are many things in the present-day state of affairs, mentalities, values, and preferences that contradict time-tested practices and cultural guidelines. It is quite natural that the institution of marriage is getting a beating and many live without a happy conjugal relationship in the present generation.

Larger Age Gaps and Marriage Traditions

Marriages With Age Gaps of 10-12 Years Face Difficulties

If the age gap is much wider than 4-8 years, it is possible that the marriage will go sour in the long run. There are a few reasons why a woman might marry a man 12-15 years older than her.

It could be because of coercion or compulsion (by elders, through the husband’s influence of power or intimidation, or because of the woman’s economic insecurity). It could be because of illogical infatuation or psychological complexity. It could be a woman’s calculated move to woo an older man for financial reasons. It could be to gain a celebrity status through the back-door for a woman to marry an aged/ very elder male celebrity .

Unless there is a genuine bond of love and affection between the couple that can overcome the limitations of the sexual relationship in the long run, if the age gap is too wide there is always the danger of the marital bond breaking up with painful scars left behind.

Traditions of Marriage Are Changing

I write from India and many of my views are basically Indian. As the institution of marriage is still strong and respected in India, I am convinced that this system makes sense.

In India, even in my generation, it is rare to see women marrying men 10-12 years older than them as that practice has been virtually discontinued. In the generation prior to mine, there were a few cases here and there.

However, in at least one case, I knew a couple of my earlier generation with a 12-year age gap between them. They got married when the girl was just 14 and had no ideas of her own. In that generation, girls simply accepted their husbands like creepers winding around the trees. Perhaps that acceptance without questioning brought in a beautiful bonding between them.

The only problem their marriage faced was that the husband passed away when he was about 70 and his wife, aged 58, had a very long widowhood to be spent without her closest companion. She is quite fine now, living alone, but the lack of companionship at this old age does show in her emotional life.

Will the present day girl mold her life totally around such a “senior” husband unquestioningly? Will their life be free of a generation gap? Will the woman or man take it lightly if someone asks the girl “Is he your father?” It is very unlikely. In my opinion, a girl marrying a man who is ten years older or more is not a good proposition for the current times.

To conclude: Woman marrying a man of 4 to 8 years elder seems best

Based on the various arguments that I have put above, it is my conclusion that there is a very fair scope for a successful marriage in the long run, if a woman marries a man 4 to 8 years older than her.

-=o0o=-

Discussions on this subject

The above article was posted by me originally in another website sometime during 2010.  It soon found a very large readership across the world, thanks to high page ranking it got in Google Search. Soon, I started getting lots of comments on the article. Gradually, the comments section turned to be a big Q&A as people started bombarding me with their queries and seeking my counsel on their personal marriage issues related to age difference. I would have given detailed answers to some 100 different cases this way. 

Some of the actual questions and answers on this subject are shared below:

Q from sam (asked in 2011)

I am 29 yrs old and my girlfriend is 13yrs younger than me. Its been a yearsince we first met. Should i hang on with this relationship? HELP!

A:  Sam,

It means the girl is just 16 years old! In olden days, 16 was a marriageable age, but not in the present day standards. She will not be adequately mature to weigh the pros and cons of the age gap.

There are always exceptions, but whether your case is an exception requires an honest probe by you. There are umpteen compatibility issues — looks, likes & dislikes, cultural differences, generation gap, sexual interests, meeting of views on moral and ethical issues and so on.

Generation gap can become a potential headache in the long run.

A decision without emotional interference can only help.

C.V.Rajan

sam 

Thanks a lot. Sir, i found the solution to my condition in ‘decision without emotional interference’.

—————————————————————————————

lizu (asked in 2011)

My boyfriend is 13 years old is there any problem?I am 18 now.

A: Lizu,

Sure you have a real boy as your boy friend!

C.V.Rajan

—————————————————————————————

Q: (2011)   hi its me iqs

Im 17 and my boy friend is 26 we are very happy with each other. do you think is there any problem?

A: iqs,

I am writing about marital relationships. Not about relationship with boy friends. If the present boy friend is sure to end up as your husband, then you can ask these questions:

– do I find lovable as well as respectable qualities in him?

– If by virtue of his age, he dominates I or tries to treat me as a “child”, will I fight with him to resist it or I won’t mind being submissive to him?

– When I become. say 27 years and happen look quite young and he, at 36 looks a bit older, I will absolutely have no qualms about it and he will not be jealous of my looks?

– Do I find many of my/ his ideas, ideals, likes, principles and values do not suffer from any generation gap?

If your honest answer is yes to these questions, there won’t be any problem. By God’s grace, you can hope to have a happy married life.

C.V.Rajan

Q: iqs 

hi sir its me iqs again

i really thank you for considering my question.we both surely want to get married just waiting for my studies to end up .he has been with me since 4 years i know that was too young for me ………

i was 10 wen i lost my mom every relation around me changed i have seen a lot in my life from that day n have been on my own for every thing after all this he was the 1 who came into my life n i felt very protected i don’t know what i am but people do say me that i don’t look 17 from my talks in him i have found every relation

but sometimes some of his things do bother me like his principles he is very strict regarding some of the things but i guess i can overcome this while rest of the things are fine like love,respect,trust .At the end of the day its always the women who has to sacrifice to make a relation work.i don’t want to lose him at any cost want to make a best relation husband and wife could have but just scared about the age gap.

A: Hi iqs,

May God be with you in guiding you to have a smooth relationship with your would-be husband lifelong.

You know I write from India. In the previous generations (even in my generation — I am 54 now) it is not uncommon to see husband being elder to wife by 7 to 10 years.

My wife is younger to me by eight and half years. My elder brother’s wife is younger to him by 10 years. We both have happy and contented married lives. Except for a few cases here and there, I have seen that such an age gap does work well in marital relationships.

If at all something negative is there, it comes at much advanced age. Assuming that both spouses are of good health, it is likely that the wife will have to spend a long widowhood, without company, if the husband passes away at say 80 and the wife has another 10 years to go.

But you know, we can’t extrapolate too much!

Only in the present generation, youngsters prefer an age gap of 1-3 years. Perhaps girls would prefer a friendly husband (whom they can easily dominate) rather than an elderly, bossy husband nowadays!

C.V.Rajan

iqs 

hi sir

AMEEN.

m from pakistan .m really thankful to you for helping me out .I dont have words to thank you

The uncertainty level is too much in this world nobody knows what will happen to them the very next minutes of their lives this is the thing which only GOD knows may be i have much less life span than him we can only pray for what we want…

you’re perfectly right on this today’s generation is extremely modest but honestly telling m myself of a new generation my views are truly not with them in this case men’s should have that manly power in them ,they should be bossy ,elder and at the same time loving ,friendly also

i thank u once again for guiding me through this

Pl remember me in your prayers

Hi Iqs,

Thank you. May Allah be your guiding force always.

C.V.Rajan


Princess (asked in 2011)

Hi sir…ve got a bf who is 12 years older than me and he really loves and wants to marry me…i feel he’s too old although i also love him.I’m afraid my parents wont accept our union due to the age gap.Do you think 12 years is such a wide gap?

Hi Princess,

You know, I write from India and many of my views are basically Indian and living values based on Hinduism. As the institution of marriage is still strong, respected and works in majority of cases in India, I am convinced that this system has sound sense.

Coming to the age gap of 12, I should say even in India, the practice of marrying with such a wide gap has virtually been discontinued even in my generation (a generation earlier to mine may have a few cases here and there).

But in at least one case I have seen a couple of my earlier generation with 12 years age gap between them. But they got married when the girl was just 14 and had no ideas of her own. At that generation, girls simply accepted their husbands just like creepers winding around the trees.

That acceptance without questioning perhaps brought in a beautiful bondage between them. They were one of very nice couples I had seen in my earlier generation.

But the only problem their marriage faced was that the husband passed away when he was about 70 and his wife, aged 58 had a very long widowhood to be spent without her closest companion around. She is quite fine now, living alone, but the lack of companionship at this old age does show in her emotional life.

All these are what I saw in an earlier generation to me.

Will the present day girl mold her life totally around a “senior” husband unquestioningly? Will their life be free of generation gap? Will the visible differences in looks trouble their life? Will the woman/ man get hurt if someone asks the girl “Is it your father?”

So, naturally there are lots of finer things in the present day state of affairs, mentalities, values, preferences etc.

Only a logical analysis without too much of interference can give give a right solution. If your emotions say strongly to go ahead, then go ahead — with a commitment to do a lot of sacrifice and adjustment in life, all in due respect to the love you have on your man. Then God will be with you.

C.V.Rajan


Hello (asked in 2011)

Hi, I just came to know about your wonderful site! I am 30yrs this september. Single. Got a marriage proposal from a guy, who seen my profile in matrimony. He is 71 born..and am 80 born. The groom is 9 yrs elder to me. Will that work out in the long run?Pl reply at the earliest. Thanks in adv.

Hi Hello,

I request you to read some of the responses and comments to this article too, which may be of help to you.

However, coming to your case, you are 30 years old already. Hope you are proportionately mentally matured too, which means you are at an age where logical thinking can definitely outweigh emotional thinking.

What’s your preference in life about a partner? Will you be comfortable with a fatherly figure rather than a friendly figure? Do you mind treating your husband with an element of respect which he may expect on account of the age difference and his very age itself?

Are you capable of grasping expression of love and romanticism more by non-verbal behavior rather than verbal expressiveness?

What’s your long term expectation from life?

Hope you can get balanced replies to these queries and decide yourself.

All the best.

C.V.Rajan

———————————————————————————————Paresh 5 years ago

Hello Sir,

My Girlfriend is 5 years older than me. I love her and want to marry her. She also loves me and want to marry me.But our families are against our decision….

Give me some points to argue with them so that I can convince them about our relation.

Dear Mr Paresh,

I wonder whether you read my article in full! I too am old fashioned like your parents and if you were my son, I would never approve of such a marriage. (If my son goes against my wish and proceeds, then I will have to forget my objections and welcome my daughter-in-law. No other go!)

Unless the love is too strong and has an element of spiritual affiliation cutting across births, I would personally be only pessimistic in such relationship.

Sorry. I can’t offer any helpful hints. I am at the other side of the fence!

C.V.Rajan

———————————————————————————————RAHUL 5 years ago

i m 32 yr old and i m getting proposal of getting married with a girl of 10 yr younger.this is ma parents wish.as i m not having much offers in ma life right now.as i m over with two long luv affair . what should i do ? just suggest me ASAP i will be thankful for ur best suggestion.

Hi Rahul,

As per my understanding of the present generation girls, what they look for in a marital relationship is a friendly figure, whom they can take for granted and also dominate. A large age gap of 10, to the present day girls seems to mean a “respectable” husband, who will tend to dominate and whose ideas will be half a generation older. Present day girls, endowed with good education, freedom and scope for own income do not mostly want to fit to such a scenario, in my assessment.

Now that you are 30 years old and with two failed love affairs behind you, I am sure you would have grown mature enough to see life and understand the opposite sex much better. But that’s not sufficient.

The girl, with whom your parents are planning to get you wedded, should be in a position to think deeper and understand the pros and cons of this relationship. If the girl, on her own (without parental compulsion) is able to think over the whole issue peacefully and then take a positive decision (and assuming that you too have made up your mind) then pray to God for His divine grace in keeping the marital bond strong for the life and accept to the proposal.

In my opinion, the girl’s consent is a must and she should know what is ahead. (Please see some of the earlier responses from other readers and my replies in the comments). A one to one talk with the girl will probably help.

Let God be your guiding force in such matters.

C.V.Rajan


gwen 5 years ago

my boyfriend and i have an age difference of 1 month, we’ve been together for 3 years and are both in school. we talk about marriage but what worries me is whether he will be able to appreciate me the same way when we get to 55.i wont be looking the same with time and women do have a tendance of aging faster than men.in other aspect of the relationship such as maturity, respect and other such issues icant complain. would you advice me to hold on to this relationship because i know by God’s grace it will lead to marriage one day.

Hi Gwen,

I know of a case, a friend of mine (with whom I have lost touch in the past 25 years)who married his school mate/ class mate. They were in love right from their 8th grade. He became and Engineer and she completed her Medical when they got married at an age of 24. They were couples “comfortable with each other” when I last saw them 26 years ago.

They were Indians; they belong to the previous generation; both were well educated. They were from very respectable families; they had their value system well developed.

I wish and hope that such a strong bond of love coupled with good principles and values exist between you and your boy friend. If it exists, then, with God’s grace, things may work out well.

But I have my own concerns about the present generation. I don’t know which country you belong to. If, in your cultural background, marriages and divorces are parts and parcel of everyday life in most of the people’s life around you, then we can’t predict how life will go on.

Generally, girls, in addition to having fun with a boyfriend, think of marriage as a long term goal, whereas boys think of having sexual fun as the goal in the short run in dealing with a willing girl. Not all may fit into the category, but that’s the reality in teen age.

When it comes to marriage, the boy should be able to earn on his own and take life seriously. Will it happen to your boy friend at say, 24 years? Or if you get married to him, say, at 22 years itself due to force of circumstances, what sort of financial standing will there be when you start your life?

Then, the question of sexual attraction and compatibility is always there post marriage. Assuming that you are now 17 years old, can you foresee things to happen after 6/7 years when your boyfriend will truly be ready for marriage? Assuming that you are in west where premarital sex is not frowned upon, will the sexual attraction continue to make a long standing relationship viable and workable?

Too difficult to predict for me as a third person.

Faith in God and prayer for guidance is the right course available to you.

C.V.Rajan


sim 

I am 26 years old and my boyfriend is 36. In the beginning, he lied to me about his age and said he was 30 (he looks young). He revealed his real age after a few months. He said he had tried to tell me on numerous occasions before but was scared he would lose me. I was visibly upset for a few weeks and didn’t speak to him.

But I knew his love for me was genuine and we were very happy together. I used to be very depressed before and had moved to new city where I met him. He helped me restart my life and regain my confidence. Finally something good had happened to me.

I decided to stay with him and I knew this was the man I wanted to be with. I know he has never lied to me about anything else.

However I am scared how our age difference will have an effect on our future. We have been together 1.5 years now want to get married. My parents are coming to meet him. but I told my parents his age was 30 ..as he told me that in the beginning and haven’t had the courage to tell them about his lying and real age.

ritu (asked in 2011)

hello sir..have gone through your article..really great work.. hope u will be of a great help to me as well.

sir, i am 20 years old and my boyfriend is 27, its been three months that we are together and we love each other a lot. but sometimes some of the issues really scares me up. like 7 years of age gap between us. moreover he is my next door neighbour. although me and my boyfriend dont see any problem in this. but our parents might have a problem . i know i am going slightly out of the topic that u startd off with.. but still i rilly wanna know…

what do u have to say on this. do u think that our relationship can work out. plz reply sir. thanx 🙂

Hi Ritu,

20 and 27 years combination, in my personal opinion, is a near-perfect match! He will be mature enough for marriage. He would be in a good position in his employment status. (Imagine: if you were to fall in love with a man of 23 years now. What is his emotional maturity and job experience/status to earn a good salary?)

But one thing I want to caution you, based on present day girls’ mentality that I widely see everywhere. These girls seem to primarily want to treat her man at equal footing (or better, boss over him!), don’t really want “a man to be respected” but a man that she could be friendly to the extent of ignoring even a semblance of respect to him.

Capacity to manipulate seems to be more important than submissiveness in the present day trend. But, boys (men) being boys, tend to brush these all before marriage, but suddenly find lack of respect and submissiveness from wife as a big issue after marriage when ego clashes start surfacing.

Do you know? Mahatma Gandhi got married to Kasthuriba who as elder to him by about 2 years. Gandhi got married when he was hardly 18! Do you know what troubled him a lot after marriage? Lack of submissiveness from Kasthuriba!

So, if you are the type of girl who can behave friendly as well as give respect to your man’s age and maturity and have no intentions of manipulative dominance to play one-upmanship, then go ahead! Pray to God to guide you correctly in your marital life for a lifelong bondage and happy togetherness!

All the best.

C.V.Rajan

ritu 

first of all. thanx a lot sir for taking out ur precious time for me.

well.. yes.. i am a kind of a girl who is very friendly.. and give ‘love’ the top most priority no matter what.. i treat my guy on an equal footing and he rilly dont have any problem with that. but as u said.. guys suddenly find lack of respect and submissiveness a big issue aftr marriage. i just hope this does not happen in my case. its not that i dont want to give him respect but its just that i dont want him to make an issue about it.. i want my guy to treat me as his friend first beacause i believe that friendship is the most beautiful relation one can ever have with his/her partner.

Hi Ritu,

All the best!

My wife is 8 and half years younger to me.I am rather old fashioned. But still, she is my best friend and vice versa. But, but…I firmly believe, like in Orwellian jungle “all animals are equal but some animals are more equal than the others!”. My wife definitely understands that when it comes to critical matters of decision making, particularly if there are too much emotional issues involved.

In a marital relationship, despite the “equality”, the husband assumes a fair degree of one-upmanship. If this is correctly understood and if the woman is able to accept her emotional vulnerability in critical junctures and yields to the whims of a more matured person, then the marriage can be stable.

Hope you will grasp this nuance. If you fight for equality as a matter of right, you will end up with a bitter taste. If you are good at the feminine way of tackling man with love,care and respect where due, you can end up with one-upmanship, without your man ever knowing it!

Bye

C.V.Rajan

ritu 

i got your point sir. thanx a ton 🙂

================================================

sumeet 5 years ago

hello , i just went through your article. liked your thoughts n clarity.

i am 26 year old guy and d girl i love is 28 yr old. we love each other a lot but again old school stories. first her parents were not ready and my parents were ready. after 2 meetings her parents liked me a lot. so they were kinda ready for going ahead. then came the twist my parents started thinking about age diff is big plus intercaste marriage. so finally i convinced them to go for doing marriage talks that was the first time they met her. after everything they thought d girl isn’t that good looking so relatives started opposing now. but i still want to go ahead? is this still a recipe for disaster coz my parents aren really 100% sure about this marriage. will we face many problems from relatives and my parents?

hope i get the reply..

Sumeet,

Hope you have grasped from my tone of writing (and of course based on the generation I belong to) that I am personally against a boy getting married to a girl of higher age. The physical and psychological reasons behind it have been outlined in my article.

The problem is that when love starts at too young an age (school days), we are too immature to grasp the long term repercussions. School-day love is nothing but the weird play of secretion of hormones, to put it in the most blunt way.

But we Indians, due to our cultural upbringing, tend to develop a sense of loyalty and commitment to each other, the breaking of which, even if the intellect warns of inconvenient consequences, is emotionally difficult.

We may say, not without some merit, that the love we develop on the opposite sex at an innocent age is much pure without calculative mindset; but, when it comes to life at a larger canvas over the long future ahead of us, a certain amount of calculativeness cannot be avoided.

When that calculativeness dawns at us as we get ready for marriage, at that point, what we think as “pure love” has to necessarily go through an acid test.

In your case, the caste too is another big hurdle! Deep within our psyche, Indians have a deep-rooted affiliation to our caste system. You may be free of it at this age, but not the earlier generation.

In your case, it looks very clear, and very heartening too, that you don’t want to break your family bondage to go ahead with your own decision. In India, when a woman marries, she marries a family. Indian family system revolves around families and relations; we just cannot be islands. That’s our culture.

So, setting aside emotions, it is time for you to take into consideration the inevitable calculativeness, I suppose!

Have a frank discussion with your girl friend. Ask her to read this article too, if you feel it will help.

Hope you are God fearing. Please pray to God sincerely for guidance. You will definitely get it.

With best wishes,

C.V.Rajan

sumeet 5 years ago

i am really glad that you understood the what i was trying to tell you exactly.. i am glad that i got the reply too.

My parents are not 100% sure that we want to go ahead with this but they are saying we are ready for marriage only because you want that to happen. we both are working and have an idea about what are the problems we might face. we are ready to face everything else except unnecessary remarks from relatives. and as per i think every marriage whether it be arranged marriage i am the one who has to handle everything 6 months down the line. if der are any problems in my marriage i am the one who is going to solve it not my parents not my relatives. so i think its good that i choose my life partner. for problems they can arise in any kind of marriage. what matters is i am going to spend rest of my 50 years with the person of my choice. she is also ready to to face the situation except my parents unwillingness. all we want is to give us fair chance and accept us and we wont let you down. At least we will keep trying. i agree with your views about deep rooted affiliation for the family. we perfectly agree that marriage is kind of bonding of 2 families. 1 yr down d line if evryhting goes well then same relatives might also say see how they pulled it off. there is nothing called caste n al.

we are in fix these days. slightly some where now i am ready to go against my parents wish n relatives. ( one point we are kind of having very close bonding with relatives so we tend to carry everyone along with us for good ceremonies in the families) i need a neutral view on this every time i hear comments from my parents or relatives i think no one is trying to understand my point of view. basically i need neutral opinion.

thanks a ton for replying for earlier post.

Also one more point to be noted is.

today if we decide to separate since my family might not accept the things and will make life difficult due to close scrutiny. we certainly don want to do stuff everyday morning we get up and thing we do is prove it to others that we are good.

and next thing if we separate and she unfortunately does not get good fella to marry then i cannot live with the guilt that it happened because of me. it will be unbearable and will haunt me for rest of my life.

she is very emotional and she will end up loosing all confidence and whatever she has in life. we have seen all our dreams together. its really very very tough for us to accept the separation.

Hi Sumeet,

I am glad to read the following words of yours:

“i am the one who has to handle everything 6 months down the line. if der are any problems in my marriage i am the one who is going to solve it not my parents not my relatives. so i think its good that i choose my life partner. for problems they can arise in any kind of marriage. what matters is i am going to spend rest of my 50 years with the person of my choice. she is also ready to to face the situation except my parents unwillingness. all we want is to give us fair chance and accept us and we wont let you down. At least we will keep trying. “

It is clear from your words that you are a man of committed principles and you are also aware of what problems lie before you. You are not thinking of a short term perspective.

So, it looks to me that you are bound by a strong bond of love.

I have seen people’s (close relatives’)attitude changing after marriage, once they find the human qualities of the new bride adorable. If your would-be wife is affectionate, large-hearted and is not of the type who would break family bonds for selfish sake, then you will find a dramatic bonhomie reciprocated from your relatives.

Once a child is born, most of the bitterness is forgotten and the new baby does all the repairing work!

Glad that you are quite clear on your stand. Let God’s grace be with you in removing all hurdles before you so that you have an ever-lasting relationship with your would be wife.

With best wishes,

C.V.Rajan

======================================

kpu 5 years ago

Dear Sir,

Thanks to you for taking us to this very important topic. I am 24 girl and getting married to a guy of 32 year old but sometimes I feel that he is more mature than me mentally. I am sort of kiddish nature. Well we both like each other a lot but I am afraid that he should not lose interest on me later. Also I used to think that men are sexually active and give good performance only up-to the age of 35. Is this true?

Thanks in advance

Hi KPU,

Kiddish nature has an element of attraction and joy too. We all love little children, don’t we?

Are you ready to accept the mature person’s decisions at critical junctures and abide by them rather than fight with him for your “self acknowledged” immature tendencies? Then things will not get complicated.

Regarding sexual interest dwindling after 35. It could be due to lack of sexual attraction with the wife (wife’s obesity, going-out-of-shape, too much of pre-occupation with her chores and children, boredom of familiarity, lack of innovativeness and romanticism in sex, excess tension at office, letting-go of the joy of togetherness etc etc.

A young wife (in your case, the age difference of 8) is a plus point for continued sexual attraction on the wife.

And I have mentioned about men getting a sexual revival at around 40 in the article….

C.V.Rajan

———————————————————————————–

Tushar 5 years ago

I am 3 months younger than my Girl friend. . Is there any problem, if we get merried ?  Pls help

Hi Tushar,

You can read some of my replies already on this subject. As an old fashioned old man, I am personally against men marrying older woman.

None of the favorable aspects of a reasonable age gap between husband and wife that I have elaborated in the article will be available to you if you marry an older girl. Marriage is to be seen in the long term.

What is attractive to you now may not hold till old age.

Think of 10 years from now. Compare both of your age/ looks / sexual attraction etc.

I always say, there are of course exceptions. But what is the assurance that your case is an exception?

C.V.Rajan

—————————————————————————

sanjeebni 5 years ago

I am going to marry a guy of 36 years old where i am 30. it’s an arranged marriage. i had a little hesitation towards the age gap. but i think i got my answer..

Thank you so much Sir..

Our generation needs your guidance in this matter.

Sanjeebni

——————————————————————————-

kaka 5 years ago

i m 28 year old guy and want to marry with 34 years old woman, what u suggest? is it right match

Hi Kaka,

The ideal safe child bearing age for a woman is 35. Perhaps, with advances in medical technology, it can be extended by about 3-5 years. But the woman has to be very careful and child birth will have its own complications to face.

The above is one aspect.

Imagine after 10 years. You will be 37. A man at that age is still within the brim of youth. Your partner would then be 44; almost middle age. I don’t think sexual drives and aspirations for men will go away in 10 years. At 44, a woman’s inclination towards sex is less likely to be matching.

Better to think in the long term.

C.V.Rajan

vacratus 5 years ago from India

This is a really interesting viewpoint! I wouldn’t have supported this few years back, but weirdly enough right now I quite agree to what you have to say!

eva 5 years ago

my hsband is three years older than me.i am now 21 and he is 24.is it perfect? there is a conception that i should more younger than him becos of continuing sexual life paralelly.

Rabbani 5 years ago

I’m 35 and my wife is 26,is there any problem? I thin she is not happy with me,plz suggest me.

———————————————————————————-

Neelam 5 years ago

Hi Sir im divorcee. My parents are looking new alliance for me. I also have 2 years baby boy. My age is 27 years right now. My parents are looking forward to marry with a boy who is 10 years older than me. I am not ready cause i feel we will have too much of generation gap. please help me for that. what should i take into consideration while thinking about that boy??

i would be thankful to u for ur valuable comments.

Hi Neelam,

A past divorce, to be frank, complicates decision making process. If your past husband was closer to your age and if that age factor was one of the reasons for lack of understanding (= lack of “respect”/ “obedience” etc a typical Indian husband expects (irrespective of whether he deserves them or not), then probably a larger age gap may help towards better emotional equation, because you will be forced to give a better respect and obedience to the “matured” husband.

Yes. Generation gap will be there. Value systems may differ. He could be more conservative in several aspects like your dress codes, mingling with opposite sex, doing domestic chores by you, your sacrificing career for the sake of family etc, if freedom for such things are extremely important to you.

But you have a past. If you can look within yourself unemotionally on what went wrong last time, you can decide how the new proposal will work for you.

Pray to God for guidance.

C.V.Rajan

Neelam 5 years ago

Thanks Rajan Sir For Your Valuable Thoughts. I completely Agree with you sir. I will Try to convience my parents on this grounds. I want to start my life in completely new way and i think u have helped me in this.

Thanks once again.

Forbidden man 4 years ago

I’m 23 my wife is 33 and life sucks , nothing we got common , we always face problems ,we always fight , we got no sexual life , so please guys don’t do mistakes and marry to a woman elder than you .

john 4 years ago

Im 25yrs…and my lover is only in her late 14yrs….we decided to get married when she turns 18yrs…meanwhile i will be in my early 29yrs…Is this will work..?

Anonymous 4 years ago

Hi Everyone. I have a similar situation here…just that in my case its way too complicated. Can anyone help?

I am in a relationship (for last 4 years) with a guy who is 10 years older to me. Thats not all. He belongs to a different community (he is a hindu but from a different caste). He isn’t that well off and due to all these reasons, my parents have disapproved our marriage. We also tried to match our kundli but even they pose a little problem as per 1-2 preists. Its been more than 4 months now…I have not spoken to my parents at all..being in the same house.

I just dont know what to do in order to convince them?? Have tried a lot of things but I cant give up as we both love each other and have reached a stage where we cant forget each other and cnt think of getting married to someone else. But my parents are not ready to listen to anything.

Hi Anonymous,

Your case looks difficult for an outsider to offer a solution.

1) Do you believe that 10 years age gap does not seem to pose problem for you (generation gap etc)?

2) Do you have good faith in kundli (Jathak) matching? Are you mentally troubled when priests say that they don’t match?

3) How far is parental acceptance important for you? Are your emotional bondage, sense of comfort, sense of responsibility towards your parents quite strong?

4) Do you believe that your parents’ opposition against this alliance is purely out of their egotism (“We know better; you should obey us”) or with genuine concern for a long lasting marital relationship?

5) Are you very very clear that the cultural differences between you and your boyfriend on account of caste is quite immaterial to you?

6) Are you very very clear that the earning capacity of your b/f currently and in the future will not be a contentious issue once you get married? Are you independently earning well?

7) Is your emotional commitment to your b/f is much more stronger than any other negative aspects coming out of answering the above questions?

If you are still confused, surrender to God and seek guidance sincerely.

C.V.Rajan

========================================================

Rama krishna 4 years ago

sir i am in dilema. i am 8 years younger than my girl friend, i am going to marry her so can u tell the advantages and disadvantages…. i really dont care disadvantages finaaly i am going to marry her but pls guide me sir

Hi Ramakrishna,

I am personally and totally against such experiments with life.

You can read some of the replies posted above. It’ all discussed in detail. If you want a bitter one, this response has been posted by a person who made such a decision in life. I quote:

“I’m 23 my wife is 33 and life sucks , nothing we got common , we always face problems ,we always fight , we got no sexual life , so please guys don’t do mistakes and marry to a woman elder than you.”

C.V.Rajan

———————————————————————————-

Island girl 4 years ago

Hi sir just came across your page while searching for best age difference between a man and a woman I’ve read all the postings and your replies very interesting so here am I written also…. now please tell me I am a woman of 44 years of age, christian divorce 7 years ago with two daughters ages 22 and 17 I am a woman that would prefer to have a good relationship with someone older than me 2 or 3 years older never thought of anyone younger but it happen now that this guy of 30 years of age has set his eyes on me I have spoken to him about the big age gap but he is not concern or cares about that, this guy never knew his parents and was raise at a home for boys until he became a man he has told me that he has always had an interest in older women my question now, do you think he is looking a mother figure in someone much older than him? or could it be really be love he’s looking for in a mature woman plz advice…thank you.

Hi Island Girl,

I am afraid that on account of your basic need for a good company, you have laid a trap for yourself and if you trip over it, I have a feeling that it will end up as a life-long regret for you.

With daughters aged 22 and 17, a relationship with a guy of 30 years will wreck havoc in your relationships with your daughters and in your own life. Frankly nothing sounds right for me in the guy you are talking about.

At 44, you are just a few years ahead of menopause. I don’t think this guy of 30 will keep loving you for what you are and what you soon will be — a middle aged (= old) lady.

If you are really too keen on having a lifelong company for you, first marry off your daughters and then seek a marriage for yourself with a like-minded person aged above you. The better option will be not to marry at all and lead a life of purity, contemplating on Jesus Christ and offering whatever little service you can do for the society through some charity organizations.

C.V.Rajan

—————————————————————————————-

SMC 4 years ago

am 22 yrs old and my Boyfriend is 33yrs elder than me. Its been two year since we met. Should i hang on with this relationship? HELP!

Hi SMC,

If your boy friend is 33 yrs elder than you, it means he is 55 years old! And you call him a “boy”friend!? He is of your dad’s age.

If you hang on to him, my personal feeling is that your life will hang out of balance within a few years of marriage.

C.V.Rajan

———————————————————————————–

S.R 4 years ago

Hi sir,i just read your blog and it raised up a few questions in my mind which i thought u could help answering me. I am 21 years old from a typical south indian family..i am in love with a guy 60 days younger to me..i have told my mom bout it and she the same reasons u have mentioned in ur blog..i discussed these with him too..he said and assured me that these reasons will not bother our relationship at any age..and yes i do believe him.but my doubt is does he really understand the intensity of the problems you have mentioned..can a 21 year old guy analyse it..pls answer from your perspective sir..thanks a lot!!

Hi S.R.,

You are at 21 and you are at the right age for marriage. Your boyfriend, in south Indian standards is still a boy for marriage. What sort of financial strength does he have to get married and run a family with confidence?

If marriage is not an immediate thinking, then at what age? At 25/26 for him, when he will be mentally and financially mature for marriage? Will your parents wait till then to allow you to remain single? At 26/27 for a woman to get married, her mental maturity, assertiveness, self-confidence etc will be very high. Bossiness will be well developed in you at that age and it may not be to good liking for a man!

When you are deeply engrossed in love, at this age, all these things will look trivial and insignificant. But once you get married, they have every potential to grow too big to shatter a good married life.

Only if your boy friend is mentally much more mature and much more stable than you, then only there will be a scope for a stable married life in future.

C.V.Rajan

————————————————————————————–

rameez 4 years ago

iam 32 year old iam divorce. now iam get Raddy to married as next month 12. my gf age is 21year and her is virgin.my Question is me and my gf to get married to live happy? iam from maldives.

Hi Rameez,

In the expectations of the present generation girls, the age gap of 11 is high. But any day, if a woman gets the love, affection and emotional support from her husband, she will be able to adjust. Her age of 21 is the right age for marriage where excessive analysis may not trouble and confuse her too much!

But you being a “second-hand” and she being a virgin requires true sense of acceptance from the girl. If she is quite understanding about it, it is good. Again, you should be mentally mature enough to forget the bitterness of the past failed marriage and start things afresh with good hope.

You should be mature enough to know your side of the faults for the previous failed marriage so that the same mistakes are not repeated in the new relationship.

Best wishes!

C.V.Rajan

—————————————————————————————–

nyash 4 years ago

Hi am a 28 years old kenyan lady. am pretty and have no child. i met a 42 year old man who is a divorcee and he is head over heels in love with me. we have been going out for 9 months now. he is so kind to me and has sacrificed a lot for me, he treats me with a lot of respect and i love his maturity in handling issues unlike guys my age who are immature and drink a lot. i am highly educated which i feel puts off guys my age. he wants to marry me and i love him too. i have been going to his place many times and i have access to all his stuff including his house and everthing in it. sometimes i wonder if it is ok and i also wonder if my parents will agree to it. PLIZ HELP

Hi Nyash,

I presume you were also a divorcee. You have mentioned that he treats you with respect. Is “respect” a very important expectation for you from your partner? And you have mentioned that you are highly educated. Perhaps it means your level of education is far above comparable Kenyan women in your surroundings. Does that education obviously give you some sense of superiority and also a level of “demand of respect” for that education?

By any chance the strength of your education and probably your income from your profession on account of it is something that looks too attractive for your man?

When you reach an age of, say 35, your man will be in his fifties and will that middle-aged-look of your hubby by any chance trouble you?

You have not mentioned about the education level of your friend. If it were to be lower than you, will it, at a future time, become a cause for an ego-clash? Do you have a tendency to give too much weightage to the formal education and the prestige behind it?

After marriage, it is not your education nor your earnings that will decide the cordiality between you and your partner. It is not “respect”, but rather the casual, ego-less ease, taking-each-other-for-granted simplicity that will decide the strength and joy of a good relationship.

If you think that such a casual easiness not burdened by your past laurels is most likely to blossom after marriage and you are mentally prepared for such adjustments, please go ahead!

All the best!

C.V.Rajan

———————————————————————————–

Aadab 4 years ago

Hello Sir,

I am a 40 yr old man divorced and have a 7 ½ yr old son. I have begun liking a girl who happens to be my uncle’s daughter who is 14 yrs younger then me. She has also developed a similar feeling towards me & we have been communicating with one another for about a year now. We have only been talking to one another as I am working abroad. I have made it very clear to her about my my past life & my son. We intend to get married as we have developed great fondness for one another. Kindly advice if it would be healthy to get into a matrimonial bond. We are struggling to get our parents accept the idea but the age barrier and my divorced status seems to be reflecting towards a negative reply from both our family members. Can this really become a problem in the future. Kindly advice.

Hi Adab,

At the outset, 14 years of age gap looks too large for me too. And you have this disadvantage of having a 7 and a half year old son too to take care.

Some woman basically feel at ease at “fatherly men” and if the initial marriage chemistry works out successful, they can lead a happy life. Since this girl clearly knows your history, perhaps she is mentally prepared (and inclined) for such a relationship. If it is really so, one hurdle is removed.

But women have some peculiar emotional swings. If everything works out smoother (sexual and emotional equations) in the first couple of months of marriage, it will be fine; if not, women may start acting funny and they are capable of causing maximum damage to what you feel very important (= relationship with your son).

Another important thing is the need for your son’s acceptance of the woman. If the acceptance comes before marriage, it will be the best. It means a personal meeting of the girl with you with your son is essential. Your son is old enough, I believe, to understand your marital interest in that woman.

So, it’s all a question of preparedness. If you, your son and the woman are well prepared to face what is likely to be ahead in the life after marriage, it is going to be far better.

“In temple festivals, there will be a sudden loud explosion of fire-cracker as part of the festival entertainment and it will shock the huge gathering unexpectedly. If you are mentally prepared well ahead that during temple festival there will be this sudden explosion, you will not get shocked” – Mata Amritanandamayi.

C.V.Rajan

————————————————————————————

Priya 4 years ago

Hi sir,

I am a 27 year old female am loving a guy with his age of 23. My family is suppporting for this relation very high without the knowledge of his age am also loving a lot but his family is not supporting me . I cannot leave him but i loved him i want to marry him and he alos loved me very much . Can you please suggest some ideas regards to this matter. Your co-operation is highy appreciated. Thank you………

Hi Priya,

The idea of what is “love” before marriage will undergo a sea change after marriage! That’s the painful reality.

Are you and your boyfriend right now ready for marriage? If so, at 23, what is his statute and earning capacity in his profession? Are you employed? Are you currently earning more than him? Is he mentally mature for a married life? (Married life is not just sexual life alone).

Assuming that he would like to get married after 26 years when he will feel more like a young man standing on his own legs with confidence at the right age for his marriage, you will be a 30 year old(er) woman!

Very unfortunately, women at 30, though looking young before marriage, suddenly look older and too-matured after marriage. A child birth adds fuel to the fire.

Such things may not seem to matter “now”, but suddenly they may look too formidable when the reality dawns in life.

What will happen to you if, say at your age of 36, your man (still a young man at 32) starts ignoring you and looking for sexual gratification with another young woman, who is likely to be more sexually compatible to him?

There are such fine nuances in life which older generation did think about and that’s why the socially acceptable practice of a man marrying a girl younger to him was widely practiced across the globe.

C.V.Rajan

———————————————————————————-

Abhijit 4 years ago

Hello sir, I am 31 years of age & I am in love with my maternal uncles daughter who is 21 years of age. She respects me a lot. She is ready to get married with me. I am a software engineer by profession & she is a teacher by profession. But somewhere I am a bit worried about the age difference. She has a very matured mind & she understands my feeling very well. Sir When I think of the age difference between you & your wife, I feel like my & my fiancé age has only a difference of two when compared to yours. So I want to know, How successfully have you adjusted & mainatained the relationship with your wife so far? I would be very happy so that it will take your example in mind when starting a new life with my fiancé. Thanks in advance.

Hi Abhijit,

Remember that I am one generation older than you and in my generation, women took submissiveness to husband for granted. The larger age gap did help that submissiveness. By God’s grace, my wife adjusted too well with me and we were one of the few very happy couples in our surroundings. Our value systems, outlook towards money matters, relatives, expectations in life and even spiritual outlook almost matched very well, by God’s grace.

I was not an authoritative husband (though as a male I was sure about my one-up-manship!) We were very communicative and I was her best friend and she was my best friend after marriage. Both of us never needed a confidante outside of us to discuss problems.

Even where there were differences, my wife was willing to accept my views in critical situations, because she had faith in my maturity. My wife too was a minister for me to consult, as she had good judgment about people.

But my observation of present generation is that women of today seem too keen to dominate (and even manipulate) their husbands and that’s one of the reasons why present generation girls want much smaller age gap.

Any day, it is my personal opinion that men are better balanced in their emotions than women, when emotions are put into strain in a relationship. This way, a matured man (= larger age gap) can definitely have a better understanding of his wife’s emotional swings and handle it better and more level-headedly, unlike a young husband, who too is likely to react too emotionally when problems creep up among them.

On the other side, you may face problems related to generation gap (the way married women prefer to dress like girls (= western style), the way they mingle with colleagues of opposite sex in office, the way money is to be spent on unnecessary extravaganza, the compulsions of socialization outside office etc etc).

If you are sure that your girl understands your value systems and expectations in such things very well and you too will be able to adjust to the present day scenario better, then go ahead.

I have seen around me many successful marriages with large age gap at least in my generation. (I should say such age gaps are not seen in the present day and hence I am not able to say so for the present generation).

All the best to you!

C.V.Rajan

P.S.: This IT-Teacher combo looks very attractive to me! As a teacher I believe she will be better imbibed with principles and values. She will be less exposed to the evils of the onslaught of western culture, so widely seen in the corridors of IT companies!  (C.V.Rajan)

=========================================

rachel 4 years ago

i am in love with a man 14 years older than me. we are from the same community, religion and the same area. i have never been married but he is separated from his wife with whom they had a child who is now 8 years of age. he loves me too. should i go ahead with the relationship? he wants to marry me.

Rachel,

“He wants to marry me”. Does it mean you are not too sure? 14 years of gap, in my own personal standards is too large, at the outset.

When he wants to marry you, I believe he would definitely expect you to play the role of mother effectively for his 8 year old child too. If that were so, it should be an irrevocable moral commitment for you to take care of the child and be good at it too. Whatever (love and) affection that you develop on the child should continue even after you get a child of your own.

Are you prepared for this moral commitment?

You are first hand and he is second hand. If this reality is not a matter of botheration, then it is fine.

Another important thing is the child’s acceptance to your arrival to his family. It means, there has to be a meeting between you and the child and a cordiality should develop between you. If that chemistry works out, then one hurdle is removed.

Otherwise, if you are quite confident of your mutual love and if there is no manipulative intent or hidden agenda behind this proposed relationship — either from his side or from your side, you may take a plunge.

Pray to God for divine guidance if confusion persists.

C.V.Rajan

pooja 4 years ago

i am 24 and husband 37. i am confused .is it is ok

8m 4 years ago

Since when is mental maturity based on the acceptance of the institution of marriage, financial status and employment experience? This sounds like conservative, religion-based, moral oppression. If one chose to never marry, is one chronically immature? This is sexist propaganda stinking of materialistic ideology.

Beliefs like yours prove that god is dead.

Hi 8m,

I am afraid your comment is not properly focused. What is your real objection? Is it against marriage or is it against materialistic life?

I write from India where the highest religious goal is attaining God through renunciation. If you want to attain God, keep away from materialism and sexual (sensual) attractions. This is what saints like Ramakrishna declare. Celibacy is an essential basic virtue for a spiritual seeker who wants to attain God.

That’s the core spirituality at one side.

At other side is the materialistic world with all its lures and the God created attraction between man and woman that ensures progeny. If this part of life has to succeed well and is to have the proper balance in morality, then the institution of marriage has proved its worth. A marriage relationship needs to survive in this world and some essential materialistic interference can never be avoided.

Hope I have made things clear.

C.V.Rajan

———————————————————————————-

Shomail 4 years ago

I want to marry a girl who is 8.5 years Younger than me. Rite now i am 24 and she is 16 years.Do you think that it will be perfect marriage Couple.

I want to marry a girl who is 8.5 years Younger than me. Rite now i am 24 and she is 16 years.Do you think that it will be perfect marriage Couple.

Hi Shomail,

If you marry the girl after she reaches 19/ 20 years of age, it should be okay, I think.

C.V.

Shomail 4 years ago

Sir Actually Problem is that she is my Student. I can’t express what i feel about her because she respects me as a teacher.Sir Do u think that A student and a teacher can become a life partner.Actually Problem is that I like her and want to become her my life partner…

Shomail,

A difficult situation indeed! I don’t know which country you belong to. I write from India and in our country a teacher is a respectable person, who is to be treated almost like father. But that’s the ideal, imposed from the culture of the past. Present day cultural tendencies cross certain boundaries.

If the girl respects you as a teacher, it is good, normal and right. But if the issue of love is brought in and is made open, it can create lots of social headaches to the school as an institution and to the parents in society who send their children to school with a belief that they are safe there to study without any other distractions.

A 16 year girl may get confused and disturbed when your love is revealed. Even if she reciprocates, how far the institution will accept it as okay? What will be the reaction of the girl’s parents and also parents of girls of same age in the school?

There is quite a good chance that people may interpret your love to be primarily with a sexual motive with a hidden agenda of intimidating or molesting an innocent girl.

The respectability of the teaching profession gets a beating if things were to turn ugly due to the reaction of the society. You may even lose your job if parents of the girl take up the issue negatively with your school authorities.

So, it is a very precarious situation, even if you whole heartedly believe that your love is pure.

The best course will be, if your love is strong enough, to wait till the girl completes schooling and moves up to college. Then, perhaps after 2/3 years, you may try to re-establish your contacts with the girl and express your love. If she reciprocates, well and good. Else, move away.

In my opinion, any hasty move to expose your love on the girl at her tender school going age of 16 can create lots of problems, particularly because you are a respectable teacher.

Shomail 4 years ago

C.V.

Sir First Of All I missed one thing to tell you that I was her tutor at home.By profession i am an Engineer and has just Completed my Education. I taught Her at home not at School.Her mother Knows me and respect me too.Now in days I have completed my Course there and she has just completed her exams and it looks i will not teach there any more because i will get the job soon.

Sir Plz i want a help from you I want to Forget her but i can’t.I know her from the least 3 years but can’t express my Feeling infect I don’t want to Disturb her educational Life. Sir I am Disturb What should i do ..?

Shomail,

I can advise about marriage, but not about loving before marriage! No experience. Sorry!

C.V.Rajan

Shomail 4 years ago

Plz sir I want help any suggestion for the sake of ur God Plz plz any Suggestion. will be very help full for me at this time

Hi Shomail,

If you were a school teacher, I suggested this already:

“The best course will be, if your love is strong enough, to wait till the girl completes schooling and moves up to college. Then, perhaps after 2/3 years, you may try to re-establish your contacts with the girl and express your love. If she reciprocates, well and good. Else, move away.”

This still holds good, because you are interested in her completing the studies. But you are neither a school teacher, nor you are sure whether the girl has interest in you. Right?

Then, you may do one thing. You can keep your contacts with the girl and family, by visiting their home once in a while (say 5/6 months once) to enquire how the girl is studying and whether they are all well.

You should be smart enough to watch their reaction to you when you visit them. Their facial expression, body language, their interest or lack of interest in welcoming you as a guest etc. Does the girl’s face show any specific brightening up when you visit her? Is her reaction or attitude towards you is more than a common courtesy extended to a guest? Or, does she show any cold reaction when you try to talk to her?

You should never lose your respectability with the family, I think. If you find receptive and positive signals, then you can proceed step by step in winning the girl’s heart along with acceptance from her family members. If you don’t find receptive signals or find cold reception both from girl and family, it may be better to wash your hands and move away.

You see, I am middle aged and old fashioned. This is what I can suggest and nothing romantic will be there in such suggestions! What to do?!

C.V.Rajan

Shomail, 4 years ago

Thanks for the Suggestion Sir!


As I developed this website, I thought all those discussions could be quite relevant for many other readers too. Hence, I have grouped those Q&As into separate posts and are available for you to read in this site. 

Here are the links to the continuation of more Q&A on this subject:

For more Questions from readers on this subject and my answers to them, please continue to read Part 2 of Q&A on right age combination between husband & wife for marriage.

——————————————————————————

For more Questions from readers on this subject and my answers to them, please continue to read Part 3 of Q&A on right age combination between husband & wife for marriage.

——————————————————————————

 

 

 

Amma’s insight into man-woman relationship

On a Tuesday Satsang at Ashram – some time in August/ September 2012

On this Tuesdays’ satsang, a western woman asked question on the issue of men molesting girl children and also about wife-beating done by men. She wanted to know how such men should be treated by society.
Amma was at her elaborate best in answering the question. She touched multiple aspects of man-woman relationship, the cultural differences in India and in western countries on this issue, the status of women in the past and present and her own childhood experiences and observations. In a rare moment of slackening of guards, she hinted on her “all knowing status” by virtue of her divinity too!
Amma was unequivocally clear that those who abuse children and wife are handled as per law. But she felt that while the act should be condemned, the actor should not be. There may be deep-rooted psychological complications in men who sexually misbehave with little children and such men should be subjected to mental treatment with care and concern.
While analyzing why men always feel superior to women and by that count, resort to beating wife as a matter of right, Amma said that it all got nurtured from the traditional role of men being the bread winner and a protector of woman who are by nature physically weak and vulnerable. Women too are to be blamed for this state of affairs, since, women, in their role as mothers, somehow treated men as superior creatures over their female siblings.
Amma said lots of changes for better has happened in societies across the globe over a period of time and women too have now got ample opportunities and avenues in education and employment. Thus men are not sole bread-winners any longer. Amma felt that this reality has been understood by at least 60-70% of men.
But the feeling of one-up-manship has been nurtured in men across so many generations that it is quite deep rooted in men’s genes. So it is only a question of time that the others too will accept equality and behave better. It is a slow process and it will happen. Amma was rather against women “fighting” for their rights. The changes should come through the path of love and understanding and not by confrontational ways.

Amma was equally frank in saying that empowerment of women too has its ill effects in society; women are losing their innate qualities of loving kindness, patience and motherhood . Their financial independence coupled with lack of patience and forbearance now tend to make them too arrogant with men and in this process, disintegration marriage and family life are caused by women too in the present society.

Amma felt that while this trend is quite palpable in west, it is slowly catching up in India too.

Amma said that in case of Indian woman, she could advice them to be more forgiving, patient and forbearing, because, culturally, in India, woman have the tendency to sacrifice their personal whims to quite some extent for the sake of the family and the future of the children.

But when it comes to advising her western children, Amma felt that she needs to be more careful and guarded. In west, the idea of personal freedom and sense of rights of the women are strongly rooted. Western women may not be able to digest Amma’s guidelines in line with what she gives for Indian women.

While talking about how men were treated as though superior to women and how their egos were pampered, Amma shared many of her early days’ scenario in her household and around.
In those days, women were prohibited from showing broom stick to men. If a woman was sweeping the floors and a man entered the scene, the woman was supposed to hide the broomstick else it would be deemed insulting men.If a brother, be even a younger one, grew taller than a girl, the girl was expected to stand when the brother enters the room where the girl was seated.
If any male guests were coming to a house, the girls were expected to remain unseen to them. It was infra-dig for men to wash their plates or clothes. It was the duty of female members in the family to wash the food plates and dresses of men. The sense of superiority that males enjoyed was more or less fostered and nurtured mostly by the elderly womenfolk in the families.Perhaps since males were the sole breadwinners and protectors of the families, women extended so much extra respect for males that naturally ended up bloating up their egos.

In those days, males could not tolerate or digest verbal onslaught of women. Amma had heard some males saying, “Oh! That loud-mouthed woman scolded me so much! Should I ever live in this world after hearing those words from these lowly women? Oh what a shame; better to commit suicide!”

(Late Sri Sugunanandan – Amma’s father)

Amma’s mother Dhamayanthiamma was always protective about her husband Sugunananthan. She always displayed a sense of respect towards him and she would never accept any complaint about him if made by her children. While she herself might have some personal grouse against him, but would never allow children talking ill of their father; she would almost blindly side with her husband in such situations.
There was always a thread of love with a strong sense of duty and responsibility to the husband that women displayed those days.
To explain the type of attachment her mother had with her father, Amma narrated this amusing incident:
Hardly a few years back there was a knock at Amma’s room at one night around 9 PM. When the door was opened, Dhamayanthi Amma was standing there with a cloth bag tucked under her arm. She came into Amma’s room saying, “I am fed up with your father; I can’t live with him any more; I have packed my essential dress and I have come here to stay with you; I will not go back to him”.
Amma listened to it with a sense of amusement and made arrangements for Dhamayanthi Amma to stay in her room along with Swamini Amma (Soumya).At around 3:00 AM early next morning, Amma heard noise in the bathroom as someone was taking bath. It was Dhamayanthi Amma. After her bath, Dhamayanthi Amma said “OK. I am going back”.
Amma asked her “Why? You said you have left your husband and are going to stay with me?””Who will make tea for the old man in the morning? He is so much used to taking that tea early” so saying, Dhamayanthiamma left while Amma watched with utter amusement. That was the type of love that existed in the older generation.”

The Importance of adequate age difference between Husband and wife

Amma continued on the subject with a keen sense of ‘worldly wisdom’ that has practical relevance, not understood by the present day generation.”In olden days, it was the prevailing practice that the husband was about 8 to 10 years older than the wife. It had some real logic. When the husband is much elder, the woman naturally tends to show respect for his age and maturity. Unlike a person of the same age, husbands too were able to deal with their wives in a more matured mindset when women show their idiosyncrasies.  Biologically too, the sexual needs of a woman are keener and much more sensitive, which could be satisfied better by a more matured man. That way, the age difference is advantageous.”

When Amma spoke thus on a very subtle and delicate subject, it is quite natural that many in the gathering had their dose of wonder! Perhaps grasping this, Amma said:”When I was talking like this on this very sensitive subject in another gathering in the past, someone asked me, “Amma! You were a Brahmacharini and how on earth do you know all these subtle nuances of man-woman relationship? Even many householders like us do not know of the importance of what you said now!”
“Do you know how I escaped from this question? I said to her:  “You see, a car driver may not know what is wrong in the car when a car suddenly breaks down on the way. But the engineer who designed the car would surely know the correct cause of a breakdown!”

This reply of Amma brought a spontaneous round of applause in the gathering. Only very rarely Amma speaks openly of her all-knowing-power (Sarvagnyathvam) born out of her divinity. Those who were present in this day’s satsang caught that rare moment and it naturally triggered the instant applause!Related reading: What is the ideal age gap between a husband and wife?