Dear Pastor Jay,
I AM 30-year-old pastor. I am in love with a 15 year old girl and I want to start dating her. I want to marry her after she is done with School. I want to marry someone who is young and begin to teach her. I wanted to know the advantages and disadvantages of dating this young lady given that I am a pastor.
Anonymous, Via SMS
ANSWER: When this text landed in my inbox, it was as not very clear. And so we had to ask the sender to clarify his situation and I was very glad to hear that he is ABOUT TO start dating this 15 year-old girl. I was glad because he has NOT yet started.
Firstly, allow me to commend this pastor for seeking advice on this matter before taking action. There are very few people who have such kind of courage. And it is because they lack this quality that they always find themselves in problems.
This man asked me to reflect on his situation and also state the pros and cons of marrying such a young lady given that the man is a pastor. I will start with the disadvantages.
Firstly, from a social point of view, the idea of a 30 year old pastor dating a 15 year old girl doesn’t appear to be in order. You see, as pastors and I mean real pastors, we are supposed to be seen to be morally upright people by society. Some people think so highly of us that they don’t even expect us to make mistakes although we are just human. So, if a 30 year old pastor is seen dating such a young girl, all manner of bad things will be said against not only you but all pastors including innocent ones like me and Bishop TD Jakes. You will hear things like “nebena ama pastor bale icindika…belatemwa utubaice” [Loosely translated as ‘Pastors should respect themselves… they shouldn’t date young ones’]
Further, as a pastor, you are supposed to be dating someone who is mature enough to advise you on trick and important ministry issues. I really don’t expect a 15 year old girl to be mature enough to handle the pressure that come with being the pastor’s wife/girl friend. Since what you want is a young wife, try looking for someone who is anything between 20 and 24….not 15!
Secondly, and I hope I am not mistaken, legally, that girl is not ready to date/ have sex with anyone. Having sex with her before she turns 16 would amount to defilement.
Thirdly, I think the age difference is quite high. By the time she is 20, you will be 35. It might not look very serious from a distance but such relationships are becoming hard to nature especially in our days. You see, one of the pitfalls of dating a younger woman is that you could end up feeling quite old. This can happen when you come face to face with certain realities such as: her set of friends / social circle consists of people of her age only, she has never heard of the music artiste that rocked your era. Right now, she is young and might not be very mature in spirit. You may be her exact opposite. While all these are small things, together they can turn into something big.
Further, since this girl is just 15, don’t be so sure she will always love you as much as you love her. Let me throw a question to you. Do you still love the girl you loved when you were 16? Chances are that you don’t. So, it is not for certain that this girl will still love you when she is 19.
Let me also mention here that you need to be ready to handle the male attention if you decide to date her since this girl is approaching “those tough years.” As a woman moves from ages 16 to 20, she is bound to attract male attention. She will have men her age, in her social group trying to woo her. Now these young men could well be more fit / in-shape than you are. There is always the ‘danger’ of her choosing to leave you to date a good looking much younger man.
Again, since you want to marry her soon, she may not be of the idea. She may want to play around a little bit. Girls of in our days want to earn, do well for themselves, and have well-set careers before they finally take the ‘plunge.’ When dating a younger woman, chances are that she may not want to get hitched anytime soon while you may be ready to settle down.
After all has been said and considered, you may be interested to know that there are advantages of marrying a woman with whom you have a very big age difference. Due to space, I will mention only one adavantage.
Previous studies have shown that men with younger wives live longer. While it had long been assumed that women with younger husbands also live longer, in a new study Sven Drefahl from the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany, has shown that this is not the case. Instead, the greater the age difference from the husband, the lower the wife’s life expectancy. This is the case irrespective of whether the woman is younger or older than her spouse. Related to life expectancy choosing a wife is easy for men – the younger the better. The mortality risk of a husband who is seven to nine years older than his wife is reduced by eleven percent compared to couples where both partners are the same age. Conversely, a man dies earlier when he is younger than his spouse.
In conclusion, let me implore you to think through what I have written above. Much as I am praying for you, I also want you to pray seriously about this situation. I want to believe you have a spiritual father. Let him know about this. Further, get your parents/guardians involved in this.
I pray that God gives you more wisdom, my brother!
Pastor Jay Bwalya