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age difference in the fundie world


CrazyCatLady

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melodys-notes.blogspot.com/2012/06/newly-weds-bruce-brady-hannah-richards.html

One thing i've noticed in my short time observing fundies is that they seem to be a-ok with much older men marrying young women. The blog post i posted a link to above kinda creeped me out. Not only is that dude old enough to be her father, he just looks like a total nerd. She is cute and appears rather young. Is marriage so important to fundies that they will marry their daughters off to the first man (or elderly person) who comes by?

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Historically men married at an older age than women, so I imagine it's the same with some fundies (though a lot of fundie men marry in their early twenties, too). Women married relatively young because they don't have any prospects besides "marry and pop out babies" whereas the men they married needed to be somewhat established in a career in order to support the wife and babies. This was particularly true amongst the middle classes; noblemen already had money, whereas working class men would have started working at 14 or so rather than going to university first. In Jane Austen's Emma, the eponymous protagonist marries a man who has to be about twice her age. This is treated as normal and would have been considered normal by the audience of the era.

Edited for riffles

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Oh yeah, it's totally normal when the woman's feelings are of no consequence and you expect her to be abused in the course of her marriage anyway.

As far as the good old days, things sucked in a lot of ways back then and this is one of the worst IMO.

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Is it really just in the "fundie" world? I've noticed the "May/December" romances in other circles as well. Honestly, if you love someone (and they treat you RIGHT!) then why should it matter? My husband is only 5 years older than me, but before I met him, I dated a few guys that were maybe 10 years older, and one that was a year younger. LOL! I don't see the problem. Maybe I'm dense. LOL

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Yeah, it seems to me that the older man/younger woman thing is pretty common in most societies. And maybe it does have roots in fertility and stability dynamics.

I think the age gap (at least percieved, the guy looks really old) in the link isn't all that common though. Even with the man being older, what I usually see is a gap of maybe 3-6 years. Dh is 10 years older than me, and that's kind of unusual for the people I know.

In the cult we were in, there wasn't a big age gap usually, at least not while I was there. The age groups were pretty rigid as far as socializing. The upper teens were largely seperate from those in their 20's. And then if you got to 30 without getting married, you were bumped up to another seperate social group (and given up for hopeless, if you were a woman). So the age gaps, if there were any, were usually 1-5 years. I was kind of surprised to find out that there have been a couple of marriages recently where the woman was quite a bit older.

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Kinda what they said...

at 19, a guy can't support a family.

So either he marries really young and poor or he lives 'single' for a few years while he gets established.

The girl, at 19, can either wait at home beina SAHD (ugh) or marry a guy 4-20 years older--because boys her own age can't 'support' her and she can't work.

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Historically men married at an older age than women, so I imagine it's the same with some fundies (though a lot of fundie men marry in their early twentes, too). Women married relatively young because they don't have any prospects besides "marry and pop out babies" whereas the men they married needed to be somewhat established in a career in order to support the wife and babies. This was particularly true amongst the middle classes; noblemen already had money, whereas working class men would have started working at 14 or so rather than going to university first. In Jane Austen's Emma, the eponymous protagonist marries a man who has to be about twice her age. This is treated as normal and would have been considered normal by the audience of the era.

Ok, it's one of my biggest peeves when someone talks about "historically" like it's some monolithic culture. No, not all societies have been Patriarchal and not all of them have endorsed such age differences in women. The societies that have done this aren't even the majority. Talking about the Victorian era like it's all of history is very Europe-centric.

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I think an important thing to consider when defaulting to "BUT I KNOW PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THESE KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS AND ITS FINNNNNEE" is to consider the position that this young woman is in, and how different it most likely is from those people you know. Yes, some people can make informed decisions about this. Others are never given the chance to think for themselves, and are pushed into courtships arranged exclusively by their parents. So I'm gonna go ahead and say I doubt this girl chose this for herself, and if she did it was after years of being told that the godly thing to do is marry who your parents want you to.

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I think an important thing to consider when defaulting to "BUT I KNOW PEOPLE WHO ARE IN THESE KINDS OF RELATIONSHIPS AND ITS FINNNNNEE" is to consider the position that this young woman is in, and how different it most likely is from those people you know. Yes, some people can make informed decisions about this. Others are never given the chance to think for themselves, and are pushed into courtships arranged exclusively by their parents. So I'm gonna go ahead and say I doubt this girl chose this for herself, and if she did it was after years of being told that the godly thing to do is marry who your parents want you to.

Agreed. There's no fully informed consent in a fundie marriage from fundie families. The young women are little more than chattel to them.

FTR, my husband is 6 years younger than I am, and it works great! ;)

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When I was still in a fundie church, big age differences like that were unusual, but there I remember a few couples where the guy was much older than the woman. However, it was almost always a case of a woman in her late 20s (and practically on the shelf, in church eyes) marrying a guy who was 45-50. There was a definite preference toward marrying people of similar age, though. The elders in the church started trying to set us up with each other from about age 17 on.

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Agreed. There's no fully informed consent in a fundie marriage from fundie families. The young women are little more than chattel to them.

Right. i get that in many societies it is perfectly normal for there to be a significant age difference between spouses, i was just noting that, at lease from what i've seen, it happens more in the fundie world. It also makes me sad that most of these women do not really "choose" who they want to marry, they just go with whoever daddy decides is right. And if you are a hopeless 30 year old you will absolutely be married off to the nearest available man, even if he is 70 years old!

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Most of the fundie couples I know of are within a few years in age, but in the branch I come from (IFB) it's very common for young men and women to go to church-affiliated colleges and meet a spouse there. Men and women both seem to either marry in their early 20s or stay single for a while. My husband's 10 years older than me and that seemed to surprise a lot of the younger people in our church, but many of the older people (60s+) had large age gaps as well. The only other younger couple I know with a large gap is a 14 year difference and that was slightly scandalous not because of the ages but because the man had been divorced.

It was common in this area for women to marry very young, usually to older men, even into the 1960s & 70s, so I don't know if that is more fundie-related or just geographical. For example, my mother-in-law was married at 13, but her family wasn't religious that I know of - it was just a way for some of the poorer farm families to have fewer people to feed and clothe. My mom lived near her when she married for the first time, too, and I think she was 17 and married a man in his 30s - again, not religious at the time but got very fundie later on.

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It was common in this area for women to marry very young, usually to older men, even into the 1960s & 70s, so I don't know if that is more fundie-related or just geographical. For example, my mother-in-law was married at 13, but her family wasn't religious that I know of - it was just a way for some of the poorer farm families to have fewer people to feed and clothe. My mom lived near her when she married for the first time, too, and I think she was 17 and married a man in his 30s - again, not religious at the time but got very fundie later on.

Statistically, men and women are marrying later in life than they have in past decades (in the US at least, i am not sure if this is a trend in other first world countries). I personally know couples that were married as young as 14 and 15 (in their 80s now) which was seen as perfectly normal in their social circle.

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Ok, it's one of my biggest peeves when someone talks about "historically" like it's some monolithic culture. No, not all societies have been Patriarchal and not all of them have endorsed such age differences in women. The societies that have done this aren't even the majority. Talking about the Victorian era like it's all of history is very Europe-centric.

I wasn't meaning that the Georgian era is representative of all of history (Emma was published 19 years before Victoria ascended to the throne - one of my pet peeves ;) ), just that it's an example of a trend that was relatively common in Europe for several centuries. I was focussing on European history because it is the one most likely to be influential on North American fundies, but I should have clarified that. I apologise for making it sound like I was putting all of world history into a neat little Eurocentric box.

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