Wait for Mr./Mrs. Right…or Settle?

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 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.

6 Comments

  • Lisa

    Reply Reply March 27, 2008

    I read Lori Gottleib’s article and it did hit home, however, I still have regrets for just settling. I had everything going for me (great job, owned my own home) and then I found myself unexpectadly pregnant at the age of 27. I dumped the father because he had drug and alcohol problems and I didn’t want that kind of a father for my child or in my house for that matter. I now had to find my son a decent father. I put my profile on-line (back in the days where dating profiles were free so there were tons of people out there) and I was inundated with e-mails from men. I now got to pick and choose. I chose exactly what I was looking for…a single guy in his late 30’s, never been married, no kids, wanted kids, stable job, intelligent, owned his own home as well. He loved my son and seemed in all aspects like a doting father and great family guy. After we were married 3 years later, he even legally adopted my son. I went on to have another son for him as well. I felt that I was settling in order to find a decent father for my son and I needed a partner in that. I needed a partner to help me raise these children…I always really wanted a family after all. At this time, his own business has distracted him from his family. He spends 0 time with the kids at all. None. He won’t go out or do anything together. We have no common interests. Hell, we haven’t even slept in the same bed together for 5 years now (he says I’m too warm and he can’t sleep). I settled for somebody who I thought would be a great partner (even though I was never in love) and now not only do I not have a partner, I don’t have a lover either. I called him to the table on it…threatened to leave and I get promises to change and nothing ever does. If I had one or the other, I feel I could work through things but no love and no partner = I’m on the way out. I’ll stick around until the kids are little bit older but I will leave eventually. I would rather be alone than have to continue to deal with my life the way it is now. I would not recommend just settling for somebody unless you know for sure that you truly do have a partner in bringing up a home and raising children. If you don’t have that, you better be in love.

  • Kristine

    Reply Reply March 27, 2008

    Hi, my husband has been getting these e-mails for some time now. Don’t know why he subscribed, because he never opens them or reads them. Go figure? I am puzzled! I end up the one who reads them because I feel that our marriage is important and deserving enough to be a top priority. I too, after only 3 years of marriage am not ‘feeling it’. So i have literally taken this to mean that this isn’t my one true love. However, I don’t believe that there is ‘one true love for everyone’. I believe that marriage and relationships are all about how far each is willing to contribute and compromise on. If you have one or both in the relationship that aren’t willing to do wither, then you have a problem. It is funny though that I read the blog from today as just this morning I was thinking that love is not a feeling, but actions. In the beginning, we made time for each other and did things to make the other feel loved and special to each other. After 3 years of dating and 3 years of marriage, things are hitting the point of no return, sadly to say and while I feel we should do more to make a marriage work. Nothing happens and so you have one person not wanting to do anything to make it work, resulting in a failed marriage!

  • Jerry

    Reply Reply March 28, 2008

    Waiting for the right person. I waited and it was one of the stupidest things I ever did.
    A word to the wise, Don’t marry someone who has been divorced if you haven’t. There are reasons why. Also stay away from anyone who’s family has a lot of broken marriages, It’s hereditary.

  • a husband

    Reply Reply March 29, 2008

    “Do something today about your marriage” — such important advice. This was an interesting article. Thanks!

  • Larry Bilotta

    Reply Reply April 22, 2008

    Hi Kristine,

    You caught my attention when you said that your husband subscribed to my newsletter but he never opened them. Since your marriage isn’t doing well you decided to read them and even write to me.

    Even though you said your marriage is a top priority, regarding love, “you’re not feeling it”. I like that you then commented about how you believe that love is not a feeling but an action and that in the beginning you made time for each other.

    That got me thinking that I should make my Couple’s One Week Calendar available to my blog readers. I developed the one week calendar because I kept on hearing couples say “We don’t spend time together anymore.” It became this constant theme in almost every email I received.

    HOW THE COUPLES CALENDAR WORKS

    The two of you fill out the calendar on Sunday night. Since the calendar has a planned side and an actual side for each hour of the week, you are working on the planned side from 8am to 10pm. This way, you can plan out every hour of the week and decide where your four kinds of time will go.

    FOUR KINDS OF TIME

    Your time breaks down into four basic types:

    “Work Time”, “Kids Time”, “Them Time” and “Us Time”.

    Work Time is hours used to make money. That means going to the job, working at the job or even going to school for the job.

    Kids time is anything related directly to taking care of your children such as soccer, swimming, parties, play time, etc.

    Them Time is all those hours you spend with family, friends, coworkers or your own hobbies, clubs etc. Finally there’s US Time.

    US Time are those hours where you’re working in the yard together, on a date, laying in bed talking, on vacation, riding in the car.

    The key to this time is that you’re connected and communicating in some way. Of course that means you can’t be watching TV if your style of watching is total silence in separate chairs. If you talk during TV or touch, hold hands, then it’s US time.

    PROTECT US TIME

    Here are the codes to use on your One Week Couples Calendar: W, K, T and U.

    As you plan your week together, write in pencil and place Work, Kids and Them time into the calendar’s Planned side for each hour for all seven days. But for US time, you use Red pen for wife and Blue pen for husband as you record US Time. Permanent ink says you are not changing US Time to give in to someone’s request, no matter who they are.

    There are 98 waking hours to plan for each week. Decide what percent you want to be US Time. Do you want it to be 2%, or about 2 hours a week? Do you want it to be 8% or about 8 hours per week? Talk this over and come to an agreement and plan the week. Complete this page every Sunday, in fact, you should have a certain time on Sunday when the two of you know it’s Calendar Plan Time. That way, you’ll always get it done.

    ELEPHANT IN THE ROOM

    Let’s address the obvious problem. You don’t feel safe enough to WANT to spend time together. I have worked with a lot of couples over the years. I know the couples who succeed and start enjoying each other and I know the couples who fail. Before I explain who succeeds, let me explain who fails to repair their marriages. It’s not that complicated.

    WHO FAILS AT MARRIAGE?

    There are just 2 big sources to what ends a marriage.

    SOURCE 1)-One of you was raised in a chaos home in your first 10 years on earth (see my Chaos To Purpose Scale on this blog for an explanation of this idea. Click in the Pages box on the left)

    SOURCE 2) One or both of you are not willing to learn how to eliminate your negative feelings in 60 seconds. ( Get my free at http://www.selfesteemsecrets4women.com/self.html )

    When you come from a troubled home where there was abuse, neglect or both, you have been dealt with a bad hand of cards. As such was my childhood. But will you do now with this marriage killer within you? I call the people who do good things with bad problems “Good Students”. I call people who continue to do what they were programmed to do “Non-Students”.

    A Good Student is willing to do anything and everything necessary to learn how to heal themselves and their marriage. A Non-Student has no idea why, but they just don’t’ want to learn. They simply have no desire to become part of the solution. That doesn’t make them bad people. It’s just where they are in life.

    Marriages that fail completely (and I have 12% of them that do), have one thing in common. These marriages have TWO Non-Students in them. If your marriage has two Non-Students and you have children, I feel bad for them. If you are both Non-Students, the chances are VERY high that your children will be as well and the family will continue to produce divorce after divorce.

    Marriages that succeed, have one or two Good Students in them. I continue to show couples that it only takes one to heal a marriage. All I need is one Good Student and that marriage will more than likely turn around and fill with love again.

    For those of you reading along, Kristine ended her message to me with this statement:

    “After 3 years of dating and 3 years of marriage, things are hitting the point of no return. Sad to say, one person not wanting to do anything to make it work results in a failed marriage!”

    I’ve proven it only takes one to heal a marriage. It takes what I call an Environment Changer. I have many good students of this skill who at first were not sure they had what it takes to save their marriage on their own.

    While the Fulfilled Couple Blog is primarily focused on saving a marriage with both husband and wife involved, it is possible to do it on your own through my Marriage Lifeline program. If you’re interested, more information is available on this program here: http://www.stopyourdivorcein4weeks.com

  • Larry Bilotta

    Reply Reply April 22, 2008

    Oops, I almost forgot to include a link where you can download the calendar. You can do so here:

    http://www.fulfilledcouple.com/Fulfilled_Couple_Calendar.pdf

    Let me know if you have any questions.

    Thanks,

    Larry

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