Dear Aunt Dara,
I am 26 years old and have been dating a 45-yr-old man for two years. We love each other very much and would like to get married in the near future. He is divorced with two children. He's a very good father to his children and I know he'll make a good husband. We are both Christians. We get along very well, share similar interest and goals, and appear to be compatible. I'm Nigerian but have been living in the states since I was 17. My parents still live in
The problem is my parents want me to end
the relationship with him because of our age difference and the fact that he
has been divorced and has two children. My dad referred to him as "second
hand" because he's been divorced and says he will never give me to
marriage to him. My parents say he will
divorce me too. My dad referenced the
Bible that God hates divorce. My dad
said he does not feel at peace with our relationship and he has been praying
for me. They are worried that I'll bring
shame to them and people will talk about it. The main issues that my parents have with him
are his age, divorced and two children. Nigeria
I have been praying about our relationship because I knew it was going to be challenging. I have prayed for God's guidance and discernment in helping me to make a good decision that will honor God. He has been praying also. I have often felt afraid of him passing before me because he's much older. The thought of being without him hurts, but with prayer I've been able to deal with it.
I love my parents and do not want to disappoint them. I've always done what they wanted but I'm at a point where I don't want to end the relationship and I don't think my parents will ever change their minds. I also feel I cannot live my life for them or for the Nigerian culture and what people back home would think or say. I feel torn. What do I do?
Dear Younger Woman,
First of all, I want to commend you on the mature way that you are approaching this. Obviously the two of you love God and each other, and you are seeking God’s guidance. I really believe that your parents have your best interest in mind more than their concern about what others will think. They want you to make a wise decision and believe that marriage to an older, divorced man with children will ultimately be a mistake. It is natural for parents to feel this way and they believe they are giving you wise counsel. The Bible instructs us to listen to our parents (Proverbs 13:1), but that doesn’t mean that our parents are always right and that adult children should always do what their parents say. You must do what God is leading you to do.
That being said, your parents do have some valid concerns. God intends for marriage to be a lifetime covenant (Mark 10:2-10). When a couple marries, they are taking a solemn vow to God that they will be committed to each other for life. To break a vow to God is a very serious matter (Deuteronomy 23:21-23). The Bible does say that God hates divorce (Malachi 2:16), but God also forgives sin and wants us to stop committing sin. So, if this man marries you, will he fulfill his vow to God by making a lifetime commitment to you? What were the reasons behind his divorce? What did he learn from his failed marriage? What changes is he making to avoid repeating a painful past? Consider very carefully that the person that you marry will have a profound affect on your life and your eternal destiny. Will this man help you to get to heaven? I’m sure that these questions trouble your parents.
Your parents also have concerns about his having children, and for good reason because the children will have an impact on your marriage. Divorce is never good for children. Divorce can be very harmful to children. Even having a good father and a good step-mother cannot compensate for children not being raised in an intact home with both biological parents. How do his children feel about you? How do they feel about your relationship with their father? How old are the children? If the children are not grown yet, with whom do they live and what are the custody and child support arrangements? These are but a few of the factors that will have an impact on your marriage.
Finally, there are problems with large age differences in a couple. (Please refer to my post on January 4, 2011 titled “She’s Old Enough to be His Mother.”) There is a strong likelihood that he might pass on before you do, but the possibility of widowhood should not keep you from living the life that God wants you to have now. Keep praying for God’s guidance and do what God wants you to do. I will keep praying for you, too.