This Is How A Significant Age Gap Can Affect Your Marriage

Age is more than just a number

The classic rule of ‘half your age plus seven’ is often thrown around when determining the ideal age of your partner.

But a new study published in the Journal of Population Economics offers a surprising new insight into the magic age for marital bliss.

According to the study, couples with a significant age gap were likely to be less satisfied with their marriage over the years than pairs who were a similar age. 

“We find that men who are married to younger wives are the most satisfied, and men who are married to older wives are the least satisfied,” Terra McKinnish, of the University of Colorado Boulder said in a statement.

“Women are also particularly dissatisfied when they’re married to older husbands and particularly satisfied if they’re married to younger husbands.”

Catherine Zeta Jones
Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas have a 22-year age gap (Credit: Getty)

She added that satisfaction erodes quickly after 6-10 years of marriage for couples with a big age gap.

“Over time, the people who are married to a much older or younger spouse tend to have larger declines in marital satisfaction over time compared to those who are married to spouses who are similar in age,” McKinnish said.

Deakin University’s Wang-Sheng Lee, who co-authored the report, told ABC Radio Melbourne that couples with a greater age gap were more likely to be living on a single income.   

“This also could contribute to them being more financially vulnerable if something bad happens,” he said.

The research looked at 13 years’ worth of data from the Melbourne Institute’s HILDA survey.

Of course, the study only offers observations about the Australian population and is not an indictment on couples with large age gaps.

“It’s not making a statement about the French president, Donald Trump, George Clooney or any of the other Hollywood celebrities — we’re just saying something more about the typical Australian couple,” Dr Lee said. 

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