‘I’m older than my wife’s mother, but our age gap won’t stop us sailing the world’

A married couple who live on a boat and journey around the world have said they feel age is just a number despite one being older than the other’s mother.

Marjorie and Mark Jensen, 33 and 64 respectively, live on a 40-foot sailing boat travelling the world together.

Mark, who is Australian and from Sydney, retired when he was 48 and purchased the boat following a career in the media where he was a writer, producer and director.

Marjorie, who is French, used to work for the French government before she took a sabbatical and joined her now-husband after the pair met in 2019.

The couple had some “problems” when presenting their relationship to Marjorie’s family, however, with Mark saying he is one year older than Marjorie’s mother.

Mark and Marjorie were also on the receiving end of some “shocked” faces when they kissed in public at the time they started dating, when Marjorie was 28 and Mark 59.

Marjorie and Mark got married in 2022
Marjorie and Mark got married in 2022 (PA)

Now the pair, who spoke from Fort Lauderdale in Florida after sailing from the Caribbean, have set their sights on journeying across the Atlantic next year in their boat, before spending time in France and London.

“I think we’re in total harmony, Mark and me, we’re in the same place, everything works together, we don’t notice the age gap because we like the same things in the same way,” Marjorie said.

The couple first met in 2019 in the north of France after they were introduced through a mutual friend.

Mark said that while spending some time in Cherbourg, where Marjorie was working at the time, he was part of a group where English-speaking French people would get together.

“I met everybody in Cherbourg who could speak English, except Marjorie because she never came along to those meetings,” Mark said.

“I got to meet (Marjorie’s) co-worker and we would often have a beer together and one day he said he has a friend coming along to join us.

“We were at this bar which had a mezzanine level, we were sitting on the top level and we could look down.

“A very pretty lady walked across the floor, turned around and looked up towards where we were and waved.

“I thought she must have been waving at someone behind us but she was waving at my friend.”

Mark said he sent his friend to the bar to fetch some drinks while the pair sat together alone.

“I just thought, ‘what happens now?’ because she can’t speak English and I can’t speak French so we were just looking at each other,” Mark said.

Mark and Marjorie live together on their 40-foot long sailing boat
Mark and Marjorie live together on their 40-foot long sailing boat (PA)

When asked if they were attracted to each other after they first met, Marjorie said that by the end of the evening, she was in love.

“I actually forgot that my co-worker was in front of us and I just saw Mark, and only Mark, and by the end of the evening I was totally in true love” she said.

Mark, however, had previously resigned himself to the life of a single man.

“I was obviously (attracted to Marjorie) but I had previously made a decision not to look for women and to live my life without the necessity of having a woman, a partner, because that’s just where life was going,” he said.

“I just wanted to be comfortable within myself.

“When I met Marjorie, it was lovely because I wasn’t expecting it and I didn’t know where things were going to go.”

Mark told Marjorie that he “wasn’t looking for a girlfriend”, saying that if she wanted to start a relationship with him she would be living with him on his boat and “sailing around the world”.

Marjorie said she was not initially keen on the idea and wanted the pair to date first before she would decide whether she wanted to go with him.

“The first day I started to be interested in him I was like ‘he’s older, what are you doing?’” she said.

“But then it just goes away because physically and mentally, he doesn’t feel like an old man, sometimes I feel like I’m dating a guy who is 40 years old.”

Marjorie and Mark met through a mutual friend in the north of France in 2019
Marjorie and Mark met through a mutual friend in the north of France in 2019 (PA)

When the pair presented their relationship to their family, they faced a few hurdles, especially when Mark met Marjorie’s parents.

“I’ve been out of Australia for a while, my mother and father already passed away, so it was just my two sisters and it wasn’t a problem for me,” Mark said.

“The problem for me was meeting Marjorie’s mother and father.”

Mark explained that he is one year older than Marjorie’s mother, who is 63, while her father is 74.

“Marjorie’s father looks very stern and when I met him, I’m thinking he’s not all right with the age difference.

“We’re sitting there at the table and he brings out his hunting dagger and knife collection.

“Right behind him was a furniture sideboard and right behind that was something that looked just like the butt of a pistol.

“I just thought if I wasn’t on my good behaviour, he’s going to pick it up and blow my head off, but it wasn’t a gun, it just looked like it.”

Marjorie added that the moment was treated in a light-hearted manner, saying: “Everyone was scared how my dad was going to react but throughout the first day, they started getting on. Everyone was tense until he pulled out the knives, then we all started to relax a bit.”

The couple were also on the receiving end of some “shocked” looks when they first started dating.

Marjorie said: “Nobody says anything (in public) but when I met Mark, I was 28 and at that time, I tended to look younger than my age.

“I remember in Belgium, I kissed Mark in a restaurant and there were people next to us who looked shocked – so he said ‘kiss me again’.

“When we started to date, people were looking but now I look more my age.”

Mark and Marjorie Jensen standing together in Australia
Mark and Marjorie Jensen standing together in Australia (PA)

Despite the age gap between the pair, they feel it is “pivotal” to their relationship.

“When Marjorie is watching her shows, an anime, a horror movie, something like that, I love her imagination because it’s a young person’s imagination,” Mark said.

“Most people have lost their imagination by the time they’re 23 or 25 but Marjorie’s still got it and she’s going to have it when she’s 50 or 60 or 70.

“There’s no people I know in their 50s, 60s or 70s that have the imagination Marjorie has or the imagination that I have.

“The use of imagination is pivotal to our relationship because Marjorie has a young attitude and so do I.”

Mark and Marjorie will now be spending the rest of the year exploring the United States, saying they are on their “own adventure” together which could take them to any part of the world.

“I believe that it’s more important for me to dream up and achieve my own adventures,” Mark said.

“I have taken this boat right around the world with Marjorie, we’re doing our own adventures and that is what’s important.

“On the boat, we’re right there with each other all day, every day, and we absolutely rely on each other when we’re in the middle of the ocean.”

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