Old Couple's Wedding Sparks Debate on 'Ideal' Age Gap [VIDEO]

  • A bride slips a wedding ring on the groom’s hand.
    A bride slips a wedding ring on the groom’s hand.
    File
  • On Saturday, September 12, Ben Kamau's wedding made the evening news due to the fact that he had just turned 80 while his beautiful bride, Nancy Wambui, was 65 years old.

    It was a testament to the power of love, however, comments soon trickled in, with some standing out highlighting the age gap between the two (15 years) as perfect, raising the question on what is deemed to be the ideal age difference between couples.

    Ben a widower, was smiling like a teenager as he described his bride as well as the pin-stripped Njonjo suit he had picked out for the special event. On her part, Nancy, a single mother of two, explained that she had kept trusting in God to find the right man to settle down with.

    In a conversation with Kenyans.co.ke, Professor Halimu Shauri a sociologist and Associate Professor, in the Department of Social Sciences at Pwani University, says there is no really one-fits-all answer.

    A stock photo of a couple holding hands.
    A stock photo of a couple holding hands.
    File

    "Age is just a number. It all depends on why you want to marry and what you are looking for in a spouse. If you are looking to settle at an old age, a woman close to you in age would be ideal. On other hand if you want kuonekana unatesa (to be seen as hip and trendy), an extremely young bride would be the obvious choice," he opined.

    He went on to explain that the reason behind dating and marrying a particular individual is what matters as he opposed the 'ideal' age gap theory, dubbing it as a myth.

    Referencing Prophet Muhammad and his marriage to Khadija, the professor defended why he found no reason to look down on any man who chose to marry an older woman.

    "The Prophet, who was 25 at the time married Khadija who was 40 years old. This was dictated by the fact that he needed someone mature to help him carry out his life's purpose and look after their home," he explained.

    Gospel singer Guardian Angel (24 years old) was the subject of debate on social media platforms with his said partner, Esther Musila, at the heart of it as she is 26 years older than him.

    However, according to the professor, relationships are between two people who have the power to make a choice.

    He further explained that the success of any relationship has nothing to do with age but rather the level of commitment and contentedness with why one chose to date the other.

    Guardian Angel with Esther Musila
    Guardian Angel with Esther Musila
    File

    On the other side of the aisle, a 2017 study titled The marital satisfaction of differently aged couples found that the thrill of a wide age gap tends to wear off within a decade, leaving mismatched couples unprepared.

    “Marital satisfaction declines more rapidly over time for both men and women who have large age gaps with their spouses, compared to those with small age gaps," reads an excerpt from the study.

    This decline in satisfaction erases those initial higher levels of satisfaction at the beginning of marriage for men and women with younger spouses.

    The study further argued that the decline in satisfaction erases those initial higher levels of satisfaction at the beginning of marriage for men and women with younger spouses.

    The social scientists asked men and women in their 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s what they considered the ideal age for a long-term partner, and a casual fling. 

    Both women and men preferred age-appropriate spouses, but men alone opted for significantly younger suitors when it came to brief affairs.

    After their marriages reached the 6-to-10-year mark, couples with larger age gaps saw a sharper decline in satisfaction, especially when there was money troubles.

    “It is likely that such couples are more vulnerable to economic shocks, as they have relatively lower household income compared to similarly-aged couples, and are also more likely to be single-income households,” the study further reads.

    As for the precise age gap for marital bliss, the sweet spot remains a mystery. However the study detailed that couples one year apart had a 3% chance of splitting, compared to 18% for couples five years apart, 39% for 10, and 95% for 20.

    It is important to note that these numbers represent averages and trends, not predictors of marital success, at the end of the day, this is solely dependent on the two people in question and their level of commitment to each other.

    Catch a glimpse of Ben Kamau's wedding below: