In her new book, Marry Him! single mother Lori Gottlieb looks back at her life’s choices, discovering that maybe she should have settled, rather than remain single. Recently, she received guff for the points she makes:
• “We grew up idealizing marriage — and that if we’d had a more realistic understanding of its cold, hard benefits, we might have done things differently.”
• “It’s not about who you want to go on vacation with, it’s about who you want to run a household with. Marriage isn’t a passion-fest — it’s more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business.”
• “Settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year.”
• “Having a teammate, even if he’s not the love of your life, is better than not having one at all.”
• “Wouldn’t it have been wiser to settle for a higher caliber of ‘good enough’ while my marital value was at its peak? Which is all the more reason to settle before settling is no longer an option.”
The Misleading Ideology of Love
As dismal as these quotes may seem, they contain an important message. True romance and intimacy take communication, mutual respect, compromise, and time. There is no lightning strike that brings couples together, but rather the nitty-gritty of tending to each others’ needs each and every day. We are responsible for our own happiness more than we realize.
Often we put too much of this burden on our partner. This is why so many young couples who marry before their infatuation wears off end in divorce. They have no idea what love is, how to be happy, or what it takes to make a relationship work. By the same token, those who wait too long to marry ‘the perfect person’ are also living in a fantasy world.
Nobody wants to think of settling on somebody simply because their time clock is ticking, but an occasional reality check is necessary good thing. One ‘Mr. Good Enough’ in the hand, is worth two ‘Mr. Rights’ in a dream.