Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Settle for less?

Following a link from LAF, I found this article. The author, a 40-year-old woman who ended up having a child on her own because the clock was ticking and there wasn't a potential husband around, warns us to be realistic in our romantic pursuits and "settle for less".

Yet I disagree with this definition. I believe you can be realistic - and not settle for less, but have the best you deserve. You just need to define what is truly important in the long run. Looking for Mr. Perfect isn't included in "the best", in my humble opinion. None of us is flawless, so why do we expect the perfect man, the perfect romance?

When my husband and I were getting to know each other, and started talking about marriage, he confessed to me how tired he is of women who expect to be swept off their feet on the first date. They want a masculine hero, but also someone gentle and sensitive who would understand them without even having to talk. Someone with just the right background, education, and looks. If "chemistry" doesn't hit like a lightning, they won't give a second chance.

On my first date with my beloved husband, I didn't feel any blinding attraction. It didn't happen on the second date either. Only after a few times of seeing each other I started noticing how special he is, and gradually found myself more and more attracted to him. When I accepted his proposal, I didn't love him the way I do now - but something in my heart told me I'm going to fall in love.

I knew I'm marrying a hard-working man with a heart of gold; I knew our goals were compatible (we both wanted an observant Orthodox Jewish home, a traditional family, and a simple life), and our personalities almost frighteningly alike. Not that my husband isn't handsome and charming and interesting - he is all that and more - only those weren't the crucial factors in our decision to marry.

My point is that you shouldn't settle for less and marry someone who obviously isn't right for you. Never, under any circumstances, I would suggest marrying a man who deceives you, treats you badly, or is totally incompatible with your life goals (for example, he doesn't want children while you do). Only I'm afraid that dreams of a dazzling romance with Mr. Perfect might leave an entire generation of women unmarried for much, much longer than necessary. Let's admit it: if you are realistic when you are young, chances are high that you will marry a good, hard-working, and decent-looking man. The older you get, the narrower the dating pool becomes. When you hit 35 and are still single, you just might marry someone - anyone - simply because the desire for marriage and children becomes so overwhelming.

Not that it's impossible to marry later in life and be very, very happy. For some, that's the Lord's plan, and there have been older singles throughout history - only in our generation, their number has increased dramatically. Generally speaking, I believe it is better to spend our most productive years investing in what will truly matter in years to come - a home, a marriage, a family. It isn't "settling". It's having the best.

17 comments:

andrea said...

I agree, it's not right to 'settle' if the person is not right for you. Neither is it right to be so picky that you can't tolerate simple human mistakes.

Sometimes I tell myself to focus only on his good qualities--the good reasons why I'm marrying him. Sometimes we can make out minor flaws to be huge problems, when it's usually the good things that outweigh the flaws. I wouldn't call that 'settling' though, I'd call it being accepting.

yoshi3329 said...

very true about what your husband said about how women these days want a masculine yet feminine man. How is that even possible? men these days because of hearing that false message don't even know how to act any longer. Sad.

Another I would like to point out is how everyone is looking for that perfect guy with great looks, who cares if you ask me, if he'll make a great provider, and know where's he's going then I'm on board. Your very wise to not marry a man based on his looks.

http://adlynmorrison.blogspot.com/

Kelly said...

Well said Anna, I too didn't feel a blinding attraction to my hubby on the first, second, or honestly third or fourth date for that matter. But from the beginning I liked him as a person. We had very similiar religious, social, and political views. We also had the same goals for a family. Even when we started our courtship it wasn't all loving looks. We had quite a lot of serious discussions that led to almost arguments while we trying to determine if it was God's will for us to marry. It was only after he proposed that we really started to feel love for each other, in the way the world describes it. I think that if more singles would drop this romantic "chemistry" idea and stop expecting another human being to make them happy they would find a suitable, honorable, and very loving spouse so much sooner.
Kelly

Survivalwoman said...

After My First Husband Died , I never thought I would Find a mate and I was okay with it.

My Family Just Told me to settle for something less so my child could have a father.

No Way , I would choose to be alone or have someone who fit me.

He's not perfect.
But He's Just right for me.
He Scares other People , But He's Just What I would want in a best friend.

and Now my best friend is my husband.

Anonymous said...

As a single woman approaching thirty I am probably very different from the majority of your readers. I am single, and have been for most of my adult life. I would like to be married one day, and I am aware that my time is 'running out' as some people kindly put it (!) but I don't want to marry for the sake of marrying. I would like to believe I will meet someone, and I don't believe that it will be diamond starbursts instantly, but I believe that love grows over time. Although on the surface I might seem very different, there are many thoughts that are not so far removed.

May your love continue to grow, and to bring you every happiness.

Sarah K

elena rulli said...

You and your husand are very lucky to have found each other!
I wish you all the happiness in this world and beyond for the rest of your journey together!

Jessica Denise said...

Yes. I am with you, girlfriend! I am. In the past, it's been easy for me to look for the 'knight in shining armour' because my parents relationship wasn't great growing up. So my dreams were always for a man who was like prince charming, someone to sweep me off of my feet. It's hard to let those dreams go as you get older. BUT, I have come to see that if I'm not perfect, there's no way he can be. But with the right person it's definitely worth it to work through.

Celestial Freak said...

What bothers me is when someone is so wrapped up in this picture in their head of the person they're looking for. Not keeping their minds open to learning a new type of person they want all these specific traits from all the people they've known in the passed, making each next person more likely to fail the rigid standards they are building.

Yes, you want to be able to get along, love, and have things in common, but does that person have to have the exact body you imagine? Or does that person have to have the job you imagine? There is so much out there, that can form a person. More people need to look forward and think about how someone can help them grow rather then a laundry list of what is expected. But I suppose that if someone is hung up with having certain characteristics and not compatibility and love first, then maybe they aren't mature enough to make a real loving married relationship work anyway.

Kaeus said...

i agree with what youve said, but just want to chime in and say that sometimes, lightning does strike. the first time my now husband held my hand, i thought my heart was going to explode. and i had known him about 2 weeks.

but i think a certain amount of it depends on Gods plan for us, and how we are approaching things. my husband is a wonderful man, sweet and kind, and a good provider, he protects me from the nastiness in my family, and i think hes goodlooking, even if not all my friends do. weve been married for nearly 4 years now, and have a beautiful son. but if lightning hadnt struck so soon or so hard, we most likely wouldnt be married yet. together, 'dating', but not married. and if we werent married, i wouldnt be trying to change my life to better glorify God.

lightning doesnt always strike straight away, although it did for me. sometimes it doesnt 'strike', but slowly builds. and sometimes, it DOES strike, and the 'perfect' person is met, but is still passed over in hopes of finding better. and THAT is the true tragedy.

Mrs. Parunak said...

Wonderful post! A solid marriage is not and cannot be built solely on the basis of chemistry. What so many single romantics fail to realize is that the delicious, soring feelings of being in love must continually be cultivated within marriage. How much better to commit to working on those feelings with someone steady and hardworking, who's values you share, than to sit, alone, waiting for Prince Charming to come hit you over the head with them.

Buffy said...

Just wanted to add that what makes it hard for women is that most men do not want to get married, let alone take on the responsiblity of having children, until they are well out of their twenties, some even not until they are nearly forty. This is obviously a cultural problem.

USAincognito said...

I am like Sarah K who is single. I am 30 yrs old this year and still very much single. Was engaged once. He cheated on me and got the girl pregnant right before our wedding. Ever since then (about 10 years ago!) I have been cautious in my dating. (although sometimes not so much! heh...we all makes judgment errors!)
I agree with you....we should not be settling for less yet we should not have some Disney fairtaled concept of what we want a man to be either. There is a balance and I believe you hit on it very well in this post.

Terry said...

When my husband and I met, it was like lightning struck-instant chemistry. And that brought with it a unique set of problems developing a meaningful relationship. We had a lot of growing up to do once the realities of married life set in. God has been gracious and we are so thankful.

Building chemistry over time is a wonderful way to fall in love and build a marriage. I agree.

Shannon said...

Hi Anna,

I once had a very unrealistic idea of who the "perfect" man should be. I think that many of us women have been deceived by societal influences such as the media, etc. telling us that the perfect man is rich, handsome, sensitive, etc. with little regard for one who has strong faith, a hard work ethic etc. I believe that women can have a perfect man, in the sense of one who is right for them, not one which their culture dictates to them.

MarkyMark said...

Anna,

Though I could say PLENTY about this, I don't have the time or energy for a lengthy comment. That said, I can TOTALLY UNDERSTAND your husband's frustrations! I've seen and experienced the same thing all too often myself.

MarkyMark

Kate said...

I just wanted to share some encouraging news in the form of the most recent blog post of an acquaintance of mine, a 30-ish religious Jewish woman who's about to be married after many years of looking: www.draydel.blogspot.com

MarkyMark said...

Anna,

You don't have to publish this comment. One, it's not really on point; it doesn't deal with the topic, per se. Two, this deserves its own post; this needs to BE READ! I just did a post on my blog about this essay, and I hope you'll do one too. After all, our 'target demographics' are very different-ha!

In all seriousness, this is as DEVASTATING a piece as I've ever read on feminism; the authoress just NUKES it! She also lays bare the true, human cost of this harmful ideology; I found it quite poignant myself. I know that I'm often hard on feminism & modern women, but this essay has prompted me to be a little more compassionate in the future. You can go to this URL to read the article at its source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1021293/Alice-Walker-feminist-icon-wrote-The-Color-Purple-Here-daughter-reveals-fanatical-views-motherhood-tore-apart-.html

What you can do is select the URL (drag your mouse pointer across it, thus highlighting the web address); then you can paste it in the address window at the top of your browser, and hit 'Enter'. In my post, I removed the pics & captions; with rare exceptions, I'm not big on them, as they clutter up my post. However, I retained all of the written content in all of its hard-hitting fury. If you visit my blog, you'll find the post at the top as I write this; I just posted it minutes ago.

Thank you, and have a good day. I hope you post this; this NEEDS to be read! If you can get Ladies Against Feminism to post it too, that would be a bonus.

MarkyMark