Stuck In a Loveless Marriage? Wondering If This Is As Good As It Gets?

Did you “settle” for the one you married? Are you starting to think that wasn’t the best idea?


The following article is Larry Bilotta’s take on Lori Gottlieb’s latest column, “Marry Him!” From the March 2008 issues of Atlantic Monthly

Well, it’s 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 30’s and 40’s all over the country are now waking up to the fact that they simply can’t expect the Hollywood-style romance in marriage.

Who is this woman? Its National Public Radio commentator Lori Gottlieb who decided in her late 30’s 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 hadn’t 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 donor’s 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 I’ve 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 won’t use their real names here) that they’d readily settle now but wouldn’t have 10 years ago. They believe that part of the problem is that 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. 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 don’t check out her article on the Atlantic Monthly’s 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…

“I’m not the only woman who accepts settling as a valid choice—apparently 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 today’s supposedly progressive bachelorettes aren’t 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 make—including, but not limited to, pretending to be or actually becoming an entirely different person—make 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 it’s 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, I’ve 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 I’ve 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.

Don’t kid yourself. This process takes time. For a marriage in deep conflict, a weekend seminar, book or course just won’t 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, I’m talking to women, because as Lori Gottlieb says…

“Settling is mostly a women’s game. Men settle far less often and, when they do, they don’t seem the least bit bothered by the fact that they’re settling.”

If you are a woman reading my commentary about Lori’s article, your response will be totally dependent on where you are in years.

In your 20’s? Not likely you read this far.

In your 30’s? You might start seeing your husband with a new perspective.

In your 40’s? Lori’s 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 Lori’s column with her take on what marriage REALLY is…

“It sounds obvious now, but I didn’t fully appreciate back then that what makes for a good marriage isn’t necessarily what makes for a good romantic relationship.

Once you’re married, it’s not about whom you want to go on vacation with; it’s about whom 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. And I mean this in a good way.”

Lori’s got the right idea, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

Do something TODAY about the current condition and direction of your marriage. If you don’t, and you wait and just ‘hope’ that one day things will be better, you’ll 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. I’ll show you how.

Want to know what a fulfilled couple REALLY looks like? You don’t need to settle. You don’t need Mr. Right.

You just need a plan.