Age Differences in Romantic Relationships

Is it wrong for me to be dating a woman who is much younger than I am? I'm 41 and she's 25. We've been together about six months and have a great relationship. We also share a strong faith and have many goals and interests in common. The subject of marriage has come up, but I'm hesitant to move ahead. I can't help wondering what friends and family will say. What do you think?

There are no hard-and-fast rules governing the ideal age spread between married couples. A great deal depends on the two people involved. This is the kind of thing that almost always has to be determined on a case-by-case basis. What other people think is not important. While there are unique factors that ought to be considered, such as what challenges you may face later in life, essentially it all comes down to your compatibility as a couple.

What we can tell you is that, in our opinion, it’s always a good idea for couples who are dating seriously to get counseling before they start thinking too much about engagement or marriage. If you and your girlfriend have been dating for at least six months, and if the two of you feel strongly that you would like to spend the rest of your lives together, we’d urge you to find a good marriage-and-family therapist and set up a series of counseling sessions. That would be the best way to get the specific answers you’re looking for. Call us. Our Counseling department would be happy to discuss the options with you and provide a list of qualified counselors in your area.

The counseling process should include a personality test such as the
PREPARE/ENRICH Premarital Inventory. You can find a sample test online:

You’ll need to invest a certain amount of time and money in the process, but if you think about it you’ll have to agree that it’s worth spending a few months in pre-engagement counseling to make sure that your relationship is really marriage material. Doing so could save you a great deal of heartache later on.


If a title is currently unavailable through Focus on the Family, we encourage you to use another retailer.

Boundaries in Dating

101 Questions to Ask Before You Get Engaged

You’re How Old?

How to Pick a Spouse

Things I Wish I’d Known Before We Got Married


Age Difference Boundless

Red Flags in a Relationship

Preparing for Marriage

You May Also Like