Age difference between husband and wife
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?