Over and over again, I've interviewed people who kept lists of qualities they were looking for in a spouse—a Wall Street banker, a vegetarian, a skier, a poet, someone who recycles, someone who drives a Porsche, someone under 30—and then fell in love with a completely different type of person, someone much younger or older, say, than they pictured. When I was 25, I spent ten days in Rome doing things I had never done: staying in hotels that cost more than a night, eating pasta that wasn't Stouffer's. He wasn't a father figure—he was a grandfather figure.I also met a man who quoted poetry and knew all about wine and astrology and Roman history and which fork to use when presented with several in a fancy restaurant. At the end of our weeklong romance, we exchanged addresses and phone numbers." He smiled, and they spent that night in their sleeping bags hugging and kissing.Dianne says that now that she's married to Mike, she worries more about her looks than ever before."So when it comes to physical beauty, yeah, you get older, you get wrinkles, you get gray hair, but it's not that big a deal." For many couples with an age difference, the most soul-searching conversations are about children—whether to have them, when to have them, if there's time.Dianne and Mike talked a lot about family around their desert campfires.If she has no money, it seems like she's just hanging on to her lost youth.
On Friday nights after work, they'd drive from their homes in Colorado to remote canyons, sometimes eight or ten hours away. the wedding announcements) as avidly as anyone, and is it just us, or are there more and more couples with more than a few years between them?Women marrying men a quarter of a century older or a dozen years younger. For the past 12 years, I have written about weddings for The New York Times, and learned one lesson: Love can blindside you.Still, there's a big difference between being swept off your feet and staying for the long haul.A generation gap makes both people ask hard questions about love, aging, permanence, sacrifice, and family.