Saturday, February 09, 2008

Settling for Mr./Miss Good Enough

Lori Gottlieb has a fascinating article in The Atlantic about how dreamy romanticism has encouraged many women to delay marriage until they can find the mythical Perfect Man. She writes:

I don’t mean to say that settling is ideal. I’m simply saying that it might have gotten an undeservedly bad rap...They, like me, would rather feel alone in a marriage than actually be alone, because they, like me, realize that marriage ultimately isn’t about cosmic connection—it’s about how having a teammate, even if he’s not the love of your life, is better than not having one at all.

HT: Glenn Reynolds


cometothewaters said...

Wow. That article is a tour inside the mindset of a culture I have never known.

I guess I'm just a hick from Indiana.

My wife and I both knew we were getting less than perfect spouses when we married. That happens when you marry a human being.

What fantasy world would ever lead a person to conclude she cannot marry because the other person does not fit perfectly in her life and values.

I say again, wow. I have to make sure I talk with my daughter.

John said...

The article immediately reminded me of an ex-girlfriend.

What fantasy world would ever lead a person to conclude she cannot marry because the other person does not fit perfectly in her life and values.

It's a staple principle of pop culture: Sex & The City, Ally McBeal, Friends, etc. all strongly push this understanding of love and marriage.

Mark Winter said...

As Bill Hybels once said, marriage is one sinner marrying another. And if you have kids, then you have little "sinnerlings" in the house.

"Unless you meet the man of your dreams (who, by the way, doesn’t exist, precisely because you dreamed him up)," Ms. Gottlieb writes, "there’s going to be a downside to getting married..." Good for you, Lori! You've just taken a bite out of the reality sandwich.

DannyG said...

Maybe (J) and I are just lucky. We married for pure, burning love, but have survived lots of turmoil and stress because we both had the long haul in mind. Having read that article I see such a nieve point of view. Even if all of the stars do align in perfect harmony at one point in time, the whole universe is in motion. They will soon enough move out of alignment. To expect eternal perfection is only to guarantee onself eternal heartache.

I think that our parents and grandparents had a much better view. Love was nice, but practicality was more importent. If a man was honest, hard working, reliable (e.g. didn't drink up the paycheck), and kind he was a keeper. If you wanted to talk, well, that's what the lady's book club or sewing circle was for. Also, when you are in it for the long haul love tends to grow over time. Not the type of love which produces irregular heartbeats, but the type which is like the warm embers of a fire.

When we first married, (J) told me that what women in their 30's look for was different than what women in their teens and 20's find attractive. This seems to be the point of the article. Will younger women listen, in this day and age especially?

benaforn said...

I remember a movie with Jack Nicholson in it. At some point, he gets thrown out of his psychologist's office into the waiting room and he's hurt, angry, bitter, and just not coping. So he turns to the other people waiting in the row of chairs for their turn and asks them all, "What if this is as good as it gets?"

It seems to be the pervading attitude of that article.