Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Age difference between husband and wife


Age difference   between husband   and wife

By
P.R.Ramachander



  I belong to the generation of people  who were born in the middle  of twentieth centaury.In my previous generation   girls  had to get married even they were  mere children  and the boys did get  married  when they were nearing 18. Most of the males  of that generation   did not  reach  the age of 60   and died much before that  . If a women survives her  first  child birth   , she used to have a  long life span. If by chance a girl does  young  , her husband got married again immediately. So almost every house had a widow and large  number of houses  were  looked after  by step mothers,
To prevent the ever increasing number  of child widows  the British  brought   the Sarda  act .It said that   women should not get married before the   age of 14  and men  before  the age  of 18.There  were  huge protests by Brahmins all  over the country  and my father  used to say  an Athi rudra yagam     was performed  in Palghat   town , so that  this bill would not get passed,.
    Because  Brahmins of that generation  who got married  in the 1940s  were  law   abiding people , they followed  this rule strictly. It was at this   time that our youngsters   started  studing in schools and colleges   and  going to metropolises like  Mumbai, Chennai and Calcutta  in search of jobs. By the time they   could clear  all their responsibilies  and get settled in life  , they were  25-30. The  girls completed   school education   and were  ready for marriage by the time they were  about 17 .So the  normal age difference  between husband and wife   was anything between 8-12 years .Child birth was not a great risk and the life span of men   suddenly increased  to beyond 60.Very less   widows and very less  step others   were  to be seen in my generation.

  In the 1980s  most of our girls  started  becoming graduates   and most  of the boys became post graduates. .Since  lot of unaffordable money was   spent on their education,  both boys and girls wanted   to earn money   before their marriage . The average   age of marriage  of boys continued   to be   28-30   but the  girls  got married  between 23-25.So the age difference  between the couples  got reduced  to  6-8 .Both girls and boys had  relatively long life span .Widows   were  extremely rare  and consequently  number of step mothers  came down. It was the time when girls got exposure  of outside  life  before marriage Slowly  love marriages  started  taking place 

   In  the 1990s , almost all  the girls    were  working before marriage and love  started  developing between class mates   and collegues. They started telling that if  the age difference is  more than 2 or  3, There  would not be mutual understanding between them. It was at this time that due to very long life span of males also  the  sex ration became almost 50:50 .
   In 2000s  love marriages  and inter caste  marriages became common . There   were lesser number of girls compared to boys. The   age difference between them further reduced.Divorces  became  common
     And we have reached a stage  when most of the girls prefer to have   almost same age   as their husbands or slightly younger.
     WE have among us now people from almost   all generations .What do they think about this development?


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