Thursday, February 28, 2008

More About Settling for Mr. Good Enough

Hi Terry,

I picked up a magazine this weekend called The Atlantic. I never heard of it before, but there were a few articles on the front cover that got my attention; namely, an article called "Marry Him -The Case of Settling for Mr. Good Enough" - pg. 76. I would love to hear your feedback/point of view of this article. If I had your writing ability (maybe I do, but not the balls to blog about it maybe?), I would write about it. I have never heard anything like it. Very interesting. If you don't get the magazine where you are try www.theatlantic.com perhaps.

I really do hope you get a chance to read it and blog about it. I love your blogs.

Take care and have a great week!

-Curious


Dear Curious:

Thanks for writing.

I haven't read the article, but I did see its author being interviewed about it on the Today Show. (View the clip here.)

While I don't believe in settling for a guy who doesn't make you happy, let me start by saying nobody --not me, not you, or any man on the planet -- is perfect. So, at some point, we all have to settle on some points. The question is, how much will you settle?

For example:

Some women and men want to start families before they reach a certain age. They meet a person with the same priorities. They may not be passionately in love with this person, but they marry to achieve their primary goal, which is to have children.

Did this couple settle?

Well, not really. Their goal was to buy a house and raise children, not to fall madly in love and walk into the sunset together. They went into the marriage with a certain set of expectations, and they probably aren't going to be disappointed (unless one of them does eventually fall in love -- with someone else -- and leaves the marriage).

When we talk about settling, it helps to consider priorities.

Some people are less concerned about having children. These women and men want to fall in love. They want someone they can take care of, who'll take care of them. They want a Number One. They want to be a Number One.

In this case, it is settling if they marry a person who a) is still in love with someone else, b) mentally undresses individuals of the opposite sex at family weddings, or c) just wants to get married to have kids.

About children: If you do go the "walk into the sunset" route, know that children will change things, if you let them. They can't help but try to take over your life. If you want your marriage to remain exciting, it's important to do what it takes to keep it that way. But you have to marry a man who's also willing to do what it takes to keep it that way. Such men do exist.

Before you marry anybody, find out if the guy a) wants children, and b) how he would react if you learned you couldn't have them (unfortunately, this happens to couples every single day).

Find out how he feels about his responsibilities as a father and yours as a mother. Find out if he'd expect you to undergo procedures if you were to have difficulty getting or staying pregnant. Find out how he feels about adoption.

No need to interrogate the guy under a lightbulb here, but it's important to discuss these things if before you bind yourself legally to him.

If a happy marriage is your top priority (as opposed to a marriage as a means to having children), you settle if you marry a man who doesn't feel as you do. For me, marriage is the foundation of a family. The children are a product of it, not the reason for it.

Other have a right to feel differently, and they do. When it comes to "settling," determine what you want out of a relationship. Aim to marry a man with the same priorities. Proceed accordingly.