The ability of both members of a couple to sing a favourite childhood television theme tune could bond them together, at the risk of irritating those nearby.
And sharing the joy of getting a free bus pass at a similar time, or saving money from combining big birthday parties, is clearly attractive.
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The older their spouse, the worse their survival chances, even after controlling for things like education and wealth.Again, the link might not be causal: healthy men might be particularly able both to attract younger mates and live to a ripe old age.That said, a study that compared Danish twin sisters found that the earnings of women who married older men were no different, on average, than those who married men closer to them in age.Could a smaller age gap also make couples more likely to stay together?To Stanton's dismay, her husband seemed threatened by her intelligence and high spirits, as well as her singing career.
"He would denigrate me by saying I might have had brain smarts but didn't have a lick of common sense," says Stanton.Some economists have wondered whether smaller age gaps between partners could have wider, societal benefits, as they might help to narrow the gender earnings gap.Because earnings rise with age, and women tend to couple with older men, relative earnings around the time of childbirth could put subtle pressure on women to drop out of work.The rule, whose origins remain mysterious, has been passed down through generations as a way of justifying or, more commonly, pouring scorn on other people’s couplings.It’s fine for a 22-year-old to go out with an 18-year-old.Common sense does suggest that a large age gap would have implications for old age.