Emmanuel Macron and his wife: Will Indians be cool with such a marriage?

In the land of arranged marriage, an older wife is rare, though Bollywood has been chipping away at social stereotypes. However, among regular Indian couples, the male ego still gets in the way.

sex and relationships Updated: May 14, 2017 14:47 IST
Older wife,Older wives,Emmanuel Macron
French president-elect Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte Trogneux, his former teacher and his senior by 24 years.

As the people of France rejoice over president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s victory, a lot of eyes are on Brigitte Trogneux, his wife of 10 years. The attention is neither for her political views nor her style; it’s for the fact that she’s 24 years older than her husband and their relationship began when he was her student in school. In India, a similar match would bring forth gasps — in a nation of arranged marriage, a wife older than her husband is very rare. But celebrities in this country have been steadily chipping away at the mould.

Abhishek Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan. (Prodip Guha)

Actor Abhishek Bachchan’s wife, actor Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, is two years older than him. Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar married Anjali Mehta when he was 22 and she 27. Filmmaker-actor Farhan Akhtar was married to Adhuna Bhabani, six years his senior, for about 15 years. Actor Soha Ali Khan is married to actor Kunal Kemmu, who is five years younger than her. Filmmaker Shirish Kunder is eight years younger than his filmmaker wife Farah Khan. Actor Arjun Rampal is two years younger than his wife, the former model Mehr Jessia.

Evidently, men do fancy older women. Relationship expert and marriage counselor Shivani Sadhu says, “There are many reasons why a man may go for an older woman. It could be sexual compatibility or the maturity that comes with age. An older woman might also contribute more to the family income, and give career advice.”

Dr Pulkit Sharma, clinical psychologist, recounts a fairly recent case where a 33-year-old man’s family had strong reservations about his 41-year-old fiancée, worrying that she wouldn’t be able to bear his children. He says that even though acceptance is increasing, friction might still arise. “There’s a fear that the [older] woman will overpower the man. It’s not taboo, yet it’s a rocky road, largely owing to the male ego,” he cautions. The couple whose example he gave is going through a rough patch.

Sachin Tendulkar with wife Anjali Tendulkar. (Viral Bhayani)

Psychologist Anil Sethi, who is himself married to a woman two years older, recounts his own experience. “It’s a matter of feelings and age is no bar. It was an inter-caste marriage, but my parents never objected. Yes, her father objected and didn’t attend the wedding. But after a few months’ time, he came around,” Sethi says. “Today, people are very open-minded. What matters is that [a couple] should be happy and comfortable with each other.” Stressing that age really is no bar, he says, “A lot of myths are being broken in our country now.”

First Published: May 09, 2017 20:00 IST