Bible Answer

Can a man marry an older woman?

What does the Bible say about a man marrying an older woman? Is it acceptable?

The Bible places no requirements for age in marriage. Since the Bible is silent on this concern, all believers have liberty in this area, meaning a man of any age may marry a woman of any age so long as both are old enough to enter into marriage by law and custom and both have consented to the marriage.

Teaching found in some cultures and churches asserts that an older woman may not marry a younger man, but such teaching is not based on scripture. It is a man-made requirement only, and if it is presented as if it is a biblical requirement, then it is a false teaching. For example, some teach that because Adam was created first then the man in every marriage must always be older than his wife, but this is not a proper interpretation of scripture. . 

The Bible never suggests that because Adam was created first that the man in every marriage should be older than the woman. This is an example of confusing description for prescription. Furthermore, it is a ridiculous use of the text of Genesis. Taken to its logical conclusion, if we hold that all marriages must mimic Adam and Woman's marriage in every respect, then we would also conclude that every man must find his bride from a part of his own body just as Adam did! Clearly, this is faulty logic.

Proper interpretation of scripture must distinguish between prescription and description. The creation story of Man and Woman is descriptive. It describes how these two came into being, however this story is not a prescriptive for all people or all believers. The Bible does not prescribe how all marriages shall begin, and it is entirely silent on the age of individuals entering marriage. Not all marriages form with a younger woman and an older man. and there is nothing sinful when a woman is older than a man.

Proper interpretation of scripture is essential if we hope to live it out properly.