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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Should a Woman "Settle" When It Comes to Marriage?

Here is a fascinating article in the Atlantic, written by a 40-something year-old, self-described feminist and single mother, who makes the case to women for "settling" when it comes to finding a husband. The author argues that women should give up on the notion of finding the "man of her dreams" and should settle for someone below her heightened standards, because being married is better than being alone. Some excerpts:
My advice is this: Settle! That's right. Don't worry about passion or intense connection. Don't nix a guy based on his annoying habit of yelling "Bravo!" in movie theaters. Overlook his halitosis or abysmal sense of aesthetics. Because if you want to have the infrastructure in place to have a family, settling is the way to go. Based on my observations, in fact, settling will probably make you happier in the long run, since many of those who marry with great expectations become more disillusioned with each passing year. (It's hard to maintain that level of zing when the conversation morphs into discussions about who's changing the diapers or balancing the checkbook.)
........

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.

I don't mean to say that settling is ideal. I'm simply saying that it might have gotten an undeservedly bad rap. As the only single woman in my son's mommy-and-me group, I used to listen each week to a litany of unrelenting complaints about people's husbands and feel pretty good about my decision to hold out for the right guy, only to realize that these women wouldn't trade places with me for a second, no matter how dull their marriages might be or how desperately they might long for a different husband. 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.
Read the whole thing. Though the author clearly holds a secular viewpoint, it is fascinating to see the longings for children and family so deeply imbedded in a "modern" woman. The author even admits that her position is one contrary to the feminist ideals which she herself subscribed to for so long.

What do our female readers think of the article? Should women "settle" for a husband or wait for "Mr. Right"?

HT: Volokh

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