Monday, February 18, 2008

Settling for Good Enough

Today was a totally relaxing day off. A long morning reading the Monday and Sunday NYT's then coffee at a coffee shop while Martha worked in the studio, lunch out and wandering State Street, then quiet reading of the recent Atlantic Magazine article entitle "Marry Him" by Lori Gottlieb. It's a fascinating reflection by a picky woman on whether to "settle" for a husband who isn't "Mr. Ideal." 
In all the premarital counseling I do, I run into the conflict between the romantic ideal spouse and the reality of the other person. Older couples have a tougher time compromising on their ideals, especially women who have held out for the perfect spouse. Ms. Gottlieb has had a child on her own as a single person and now reflects on whether she should have "settled" for a life-partner rather than waiting for "Mr. Right."
Facing our 33rd wedding anniversary later this summer, I realize we were both too young, too idealistic, too impulsive to sort through all these fine points of finding the right person. Martha shaped me into the right person for her and I learned what a right person she was for me through the caldron of putting me through school, having children, moving locations, enduring tragedies and challenges and watching her art mature and grow. What Ms. Gottlieb omits in her poignant article is any role of God and faith in a relationship. Those dimensions turned our marriage into an adventure of discovery for the long-haul and not shopping for the perfect fit. It's the living of life together that makes it right.


At 6:52 PM , Blogger Kim said...

Interesting. I just commented on this article on a friend's blog - she's 28, and is being influenced by Ms. Gottlieb's writing. My comment was along the lines of "I pity this poor, misguided woman" for the reason you stated - God is left completely out of the picture. When I married my husband, he was not my idea of the perfect man. He was not what I was looking for. But I don't feel like I settled for him by any means - he was (still is) my perfect mate. We both felt God had destined us to be together. It was a step of faith, and neither of us regret the decision one iota 17 years later.

But how do you encourage a single girlfriend who longs to be married, who longs to find Mr. Right - how do you tell her that she doesn't have to "settle" but that God may bring someone along that will be a complete shock to her? That's a rhetorical question, btw...LOL!

At 10:07 PM , Blogger Beth B said...

The day when Ms. Gottlieb can, without reservation, proclaim herself Ms. Perfect is the day she should begin her search for Mr. Right.

Otherwise, she needs to start seeking the One who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, in Whose righteousness she can hope to begin to be set aright!


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