I’ve had this observation for a while. It seems that if one stays in a marriage relationship long enough – the maturity of the people involved tends to be quite similar, even if they seem to have a difference in age or experience.
The less mature may be pulled up a bit, and the more mature might be pulled down a bit. But somehow, when the going gets rough, they operate at a similar level. Or, they don’t stay together long.
It is most noticeable when there is a disagreement or conflict.
The one who thinks he is more mature doesn’t quite end up acting more mature than the other in how he deals with it.
I catch myself feeling ‘above’ my spouse on certain matters, but when I imagine having someone step in to mediate the impasse, I see the discussion of what’s wrong always leading back to some way I’ve contributed to the problem – just as negligent or careless, just as immature in my expectations or response to frustration. In the court of my own head, I never find the higher ground.
I suspect that those who are truly more mature don’t position themselves the same way when they enter into a relationship with someone less mature – parents are clearly parents, for example. They are not as vulnerable to the gravity of one with far less maturity. Not that they consciously do this, but that it is the way it works.
I see some marriages where there is an unusual difference in age, and one might assume there would also be a difference in maturity. But I am not quite so sure. Either one is more mature than he seems, or the other is less than she seems. Or something is really weird that causes us to question the health or appropriateness of that relationship.