I am a 33 year old man, and after university I have worked overseas, lived in a number of expatriate communities, and worshipped in small ex-pat churches; at university, I was too busy with my life and didn't consider entering a relationship, and since then, until my current place of work, the only single Christian women I have encountered have either been in a relationship themselves, or, for one reason or another, obviously unsuitable. I am also shy and quiet, and have difficulties approaching women. This is therefore my first relationship of any seriousness. The scarcity of potential partners is likely to continue for the foreseeable future, and possibly get worse given that I am getting older.
My partner is 48, and from a very different part of the world to me. She has had one serious relationship in her life; but ultimately the man was involved with didn't want to commit to marriage, and left her, coming here. She left behind everything she had to follow him, but he rejected her again and got involved with another woman. Time has passed, and she is now ready for another relationship. We have known each other in the Church, and been good friends, for several years. We started dating about 6 months ago; and during that period we fell in love. Last month, we decided that we wanted to take the relationship further towards marriage, and then she told me her age; she looks young, and I originally placed her at the same age as me. A few weeks ago, I was offered another position in another country and culture foreign to both of us starting in the Autumn. She is willing to come with me, and doesn't have much here, but because of visa issues and my commitments with my new job, as well as questions of conscience and morality, the only way we can do this is if we get married before I leave, a little under a year from when we started dating. We ideally have to make the decision whether or not to proceed with this in the next few weeks.
I am mature for my years, in both appearance and my character in every respect except my experience with relationships; she is young for hers, and we meet somewhere in the middle. Our Christian beliefs match each other well (we are both very strong Christians, and have been since we were children, with similar denominational backgrounds and beliefs); our needs, expectations and what we can provide for each other in marriage seem to be complementary (we are, of course, still in the process of evaluating this, so I'm not yet certain of this; and obviously won't make any decision until we are certain); our characters seem to fit well; and we have interests in common. Children are (in effect) impossible for her, but I have had certain medical problems in that area, and although not infertile, might have difficulty myself. That we will not have children is therefore something we can both accept; although it's causing problems within my own family. Physically, I am most attracted to women of around 25-35, but, as mentioned, she looks as though she is that age group, although I don't know how much longer that will last. I want to proceed with this relationship, and I have already made a large degree of commitment and promises to her which I do not want to break. I don't want to let her down. However, I am aware that my judgement could be clouded by my emotion, so I want to get some advice elsewhere, which is why I've come here.
My concerns are that the following will happen all at around the same time:
Adapting to a new culture; Adapting to a new job; Adapting to marriage and each other's culture; her menopause. And of course, we will be getting married far faster than is usually recommended. Although I believe that our commitment to each other and strength of character overcome this; I have doubts about whether we should put ourselves into this position; whether the gains from this relationship will be large enough to justify the risk we are taking. I've come for an objective opinion as to what I should do.