Did you “settle” for the one you married? Are you starting to think that wasn’t the best idea?
The following article is Larry Bilottas take on Lori Gottliebs latest column, Marry Him! From the March 2008 issues of Atlantic Monthly
Well, its finally happened.
In a national Magazine, (Atlantic Monthly for March 2008) a woman wrote her tell-all story about the fact that the dreamy, no-work, no effort, love-ethic in America (now increasingly spreading across the world) is a farce, a scam, a sham, a mockery.
This woman described the fact that women in their 30s and 40s all over the country are now waking up to the fact that they simply cant expect the Hollywood-style romance in marriage.
Who is this woman? Its National Public Radio commentator Lori Gottlieb who decided in her late 30s that waiting for the perfect man was not working. She decided, as she put it, in a fit of self-empowerment, to conceive her baby with donor sperm because she hadnt met Mr. Right yet.
Rather than making her free and independent, this left her feeling empty, stressed out and not very attractive to suitors who were a bit put off about the idea that she has a sperm donors baby.
Her conclusion and urgent advice to women? In a word SETTLE.
Settle for a basic good man and stop searching for love, connection, soul-mate or just passionate feelings.
Lori has written exactly what Ive been trying to tell women for years and I just want to take a moment right now to share it with the whole country
A number of my single women friends admit (in hushed voices and after I swear I wont use their real names here) that theyd readily settle now but wouldnt have 10 years ago. They believe that part of the problem is that we grew up idealizing marriageand that if wed had a more realistic understanding of its cold, hard benefits, we might have done things differently. Instead, we grew up thinking that marriage meant feeling some kind of divine spark, and so we walked away from uninspiring relationships that might have made us happy in the context of a family.
In the event that you dont check out her article on the Atlantic Monthlys web site for yourself, let me quote Lori as she drives home the point that this is not just her talking from her own experience.
She states that women blindly buy into the love-ethic (i.e. you do nothing and get love in return). Lori points out that there are many best selling relationship books being written right now for women to wake up and realize that marriage is MORE IMPORTANT than love.
Take a gander
Im not the only woman who accepts settling as a valid choiceapparently so do the millions who buy bestselling relationship books that advocate settling but that, so as not to offend, simply spin the concept as a form of female empowerment. Take, for instance, books like Men Are Like Fish: What Every Woman Needs to Know About Catching a Man or Find a Husband After 35 Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School, whose titles alone make it clear that todays supposedly progressive bachelorettes arent waiting for old-fashioned true love to strike before they can get married.
The approaches in these books may differ, but the message is the same: more important than love is marriage.
To achieve that goal, women across the country are poring over guidebooks that all boil down to determining, Does he like me?, while completely overlooking the equally essential question, Do I like him? In other words, whatever compromises you have to makeincluding, but not limited to, pretending to be or actually becoming an entirely different personmake sure that you get some schmo to propose to you before you turn into a spinster.
Now that this idealistic viewpoint of do nothing and get love in return has been exposed, let me explain my reason for making a big deal out of this. Now I want to warn, this may come off to some as a shameless plug for my Fulfilled Couple Club marriage school, but I think its important you understand where I am coming from in my take on the complete sham known as love ethic.
After literally 27 years of development, Ive found a way to teach couples who are miserable and frustrated in their marriage how to actually be married AND happy.
Yes, I said married AND happy.
It IS possible and Ive proven it again and again with couples in all walks of life. A happy marriage consists of two people who are getting what they need, enjoying their lives and feeling like fulfilled individuals every day.
The way I do this is simple. I teach the husband how to understand and then accept his wife as a woman (not trying to turn her into a man). I then show the man what he needs to do in order to keep his wife happy and loving him the way he wants to be loved.
Next, I teach the wife how to understand and then accept her husband as a man (not trying to turn him into a woman). Then I shown her what she needs to do in order to keep her husband happy and loving her the way she wants to be loved. To ensure this all works, I show them both how to eliminate their negative feelings in 60 seconds.
Simple? Yes. Easy? No.
Dont kid yourself. This process takes time. For a marriage in deep conflict, a weekend seminar, book or course just wont cut it. You need a teacher in your life who knows how to accomplish this. Someone who lives what they teach, rather than someone going on their 3rd marriage.
As you might guess, Im talking to women, because as Lori Gottlieb says
Settling is mostly a womens game. Men settle far less often and, when they do, they dont seem the least bit bothered by the fact that theyre settling.
If you are a woman reading my commentary about Loris article, your response will be totally dependent on where you are in years.
In your 20s? Not likely you read this far.
In your 30s? You might start seeing your husband with a new perspective.
In your 40s? Loris article in Atlantic Monthly is real food for thought.
If you walk away with anything from this article, it should be the rude awakening that marriage is NOT about love.
I will leave you with one last passage from Loris column with her take on what marriage REALLY is
It sounds obvious now, but I didnt fully appreciate back then that what makes for a good marriage isnt necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship.
Once youre married, its not about whom you want to go on vacation with; its about whom you want to run a household with. Marriage isnt a passion-fest; its more like a partnership formed to run a very small, mundane, and often boring nonprofit business. And I mean this in a good way.
Loris got the right idea, but it doesnt have to be that way.
Do something TODAY about the current condition and direction of your marriage. If you dont, and you wait and just hope that one day things will be better, youll end up facing the cold hard truth and find out for yourself that frustration leads to resentment and resentment will eventually lead you to DIVORCE.
Stop the vicious cycle NOW before it becomes too late. Ill show you how.
Want to know what a fulfilled couple REALLY looks like? You dont need to settle. You dont need Mr. Right.
You just need a plan.