relAbout three months ago there was a news report about an 80-year-old man who wanted to marry a 26-year-old woman.

The story said the man’s children, who were all older than the woman, were doing all they could, including occultic interventions, to prevent the marriage and would often storm her house to warn her not to get close to their father but the lovebirds are adamant.

The story has generated a great deal of controversy and we ask; can an 80-year-old man marry a 26-year-old woman?

Why marry at an old age?

Marriage is one important rite of passage for the Ghanaian. All adults are expected to marry and in the past people were compelled to marry because marriage built one’s self-esteem and social status.

With marriage, you are seen as responsible and capable of taking care of others.

On the other hand, unmarried Ghanaian adults do not earn much respect irrespective of what they do or have. All Ghanaian adults, therefore, love to marry.

In fact, a study showed that by age 40 only one per cent of Ghanaian women would never have married.

Some Ghanaians marry at an old age because they go through divorce or lose their spouse through death.

They appreciate that marriage is  mainly for love, support and companionship and these do not change with age. In fact, these needs become more relevant with age because as we age we have fewer friends and loneliness may set in.

A spouse will share quality time with you and give you a sense of security and peace of mind.  He or she will support you as you age, become less energetic and unable to perform basic tasks alone.

Why some do not marry at an old age

We tend to have inflexible routine habits as we age. If you marry someone with incompatible habits you will have lots of conflicts.

The problems get bigger with an age difference of over 15 years because it could predispose the younger to infidelity.

In some 10 years when the woman is peaking in her sexual drive, the man may have ‘light off’. Wide age difference also makes it hard for partners to relate well because of a generation gap.

The older man may see the younger woman as his daughter and attempt to control her lifestyle, taste, values and associations, while the woman may see the man as her father and may be tempted to control freely sharing her feelings with him.

Some stay single just to keep the memory of lovers who have passed away. Some worry that a new partner may inherit what they have worked for and put the future of their children at risk.

It is also known that most children oppose the marriage of their parents.  When marriages break up, children experience  a great sense of loss which hardly goes away because of the continued sense of mourning.

They form a special bond to console themselves. Anyone coming into the family set-up is seen as an intruder who will change the family system and the love they share.

There is always the fear that if a new partner comes in they will lose certain rights and privileges. Most children, therefore, oppose the marriage of their parents and some parents sacrifice marriage to please their children.

Any age limit in marriage?

If you love an elderly man, go ahead and marry him. Be the woman behind him and show true love by the sacrifices you make to make him better. Love after all is a verb; it is about finding a need in someone and offering to make him better and happier.

Studies show mature men have patience and experience. They, therefore, handle marriages better than young men.

An elderly active and decent man has ample time for you to enjoy good years together, especially if the children are out of the nest. However, do not marry an elderly man for what you stand to gain in future.

Marriage is a basic human right. Anyone above 18 and of sound mind can decide to marry or not. Nobody, church or society can force you to marry or not to.

If you find someone you love and who loves you back, go ahead and marry him or her because marriage goes beyond age and sex.

No one is too old and after 18, too young to marry. Take the benefits that marriage in later life brings. You must, however, not make it a rebound marriage; one done to cover up pain or loss. Marry for the right reasons.

According to the Guinness Book of Records, in 1984, Harry Steepens in the US, then 103, married a woman who was 83. It is also known that Minnie Munro of Australia was 102 when he married a woman who was 83. Beat these records if you can.

Marriage at an old age will rekindle your life as you share your true love, support and companionship.

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