Rahima Sadiq: I am 37, He is 32, Life Couldn't be Better

I remember watching The Sound of Music as a little girl. One of the songs that resonated with me from that movie is a duet titled 16 going on 17. The lyrics were something like Girl: "I am 16 going on 17, baby it's time to think, better beware, be canny and careful, baby you're on the brink. Boy: "I am 17 going on 18, you need someone older and wiser, telling you what to do." That unfortunately planned some sort of seed in me, the seed of the boy, the lover, the husband has to be older and definitely wiser. Someone to take care of me, someone to stir the ship, someone to be the head. Love and marriage meant the guy is older and more dominant and I am the younger, quiet steel behind him. Then I got older and read the story of the Prophet (PBUH) and his first wife - Khadijah. Khadijah was 15 years older than the Prophet. 1-2-3----15 clear years. She was even a widow. Can any man in this day and age marry a woman 15 years older? Except for monetary gains, I do not see that happening. Our daddies are usually much older than the mummies, and don't forget we live in a patriarchal society. Then I turned glorious 30, Being 30 to me meant your life was all together, a great career or running some business, never feeling insecured, and knowing that you were grown up and adult. Now that I’m in my 30's, I realise that none of that was true. I am 32 and still feel awkward, gawky girl on the inside. Fast forward to my present life and situation, my expectation for my 30s is that I will be happily married with a couple of kids, a boy and a girl and most likely arguing with le boo whether to have a third child or not. That was my assumption some 10 years ago At 32, I was single, broke and in a career I wasn't necessarily enjoying and wondering where and what direction my life was turning. Then something life changing happened. Someone younger accosted me. What!? Is this a joke? Am I dreaming? He wants to marry his aunty? I will lash him and give him balance. How dare he? That was my thinking and attitude. Why should I consider a younger lad for marriage? I wanted to get married after my first degree, it did not happen, I went in for my masters degree and all I the guys I met were a definite no no, and just when I decided to resign myself to fate and face my career, he strolled into my dear life. When I asked for his age and he told me, there was no earthquake in Abuja on that day but it was as if the ground shifted, opened up and consumed me. What! 27! Am 32, his elder sisters' age, but he persisted and I gave in, just for a try. He will soon be tired and be on his way out of my life. Wish we could exchange the age, wish I am the 27 and he the 32. God as they say definitely has a sense of humour. After a while, marriage beaconed. I spent several months agonizing on several issues. How do I need to respect him? Does he need to give me a whole lot of respect since I am much older? What happens when we fill forms and we need to fill date of birth for our spouses? Won't people laugh at us? How do we navigate this kind of relationship? What if I turn out to be the domineering one? I have an intense personality already, my friends say I could be very aggressive and controlling, so how can a younger guy handle that? Even the older guys run away. How far would he respect me? That was my thinking initially, now I know better. I met my dear husband at a dawah gathering. I was trying to raise funds and supplies for some under privileged children and I gave a passionate speech of why we all need to learn to give. That emotional speech apparently got to the depth of his soul. This is who he wants, this is the girl he always wanted. Age and all meant nothing to him. He is cute, baby-faced and tall with good sense of humour and very matured and secured in himself. He followed up on me and never gave up. I am a hardcore and completely unromantic lady. I work all day and spend my nights doing more work. What I do best is appealing to the rich to give out to the poor, I like everyone to get some chance at life. I never imagined anyone will see me more than a pest, and even admire me for what I do and how I do it. My brothers and sisters, love is love no matter the age difference and circumstance. Life O Life! Love knows no bound and shouldn't be a barrier to a lifetime relationship and real happiness. The respect that I thought I couldn't give him, he earned it. He acted very maturely and makes me laugh. You cannot take a good laugh away from a good relationship. I throw tantrums every now and again, but he copes and it always ends with a joke that I cannot help but laugh to. Except we tell our friends, no one knows that I am the older one. I have been joyously married for 5 years and wouldn't change a thing for the world. So many people have lost their true love and right man with this attitude and orientation. The age of Methuselah has nothing to do with the wisdom of Sulaiman. Has nothing to do with love, respect and peace which is what a good marriage is all about. Age is not one of the criteria the Prophet (PBUH) mentioned as a criteria for spousal selection but religion, beauty, wealth and background. Dear brothers and sisters in Islam , let Allah lead you to your spouse. Love comes in different ways. Only Allah has the knowledge of the unknown. Perform salat-ul-istikharah for guidance towards selecting a spouse. In Shaa Allah, we wouldn't pick another woman's bone and flesh but your very own . Salaam Alaekun. Rahima Sadiq works for a charity foundation whose mandate is to get every Nigerian child off the streets and into good schools.

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