Settling

Currently I’m reading a book as slowly as possible because I don’t want to have to part with it, even tho I’m dying to find out what happens to the characters. Unless it absolutely falls apart at the end, I will undoubtedly declare that I love it and recommend it to others (or force them to have it in their book collection because I buy it for them as a present).

We all have books or songs like that that we love. They speak to us in ways that other books or songs just do not. We invest time and money into these things (and other writings/songs by their creators).

How much more it is with people; there are some that we are just fond of and care about more than others. When this happens on a romantic level, we call it falling in love. The proper end of this scenario is marriage.

However, a lot of people are desperate to have just anyone they are even slightly attracted to be their romantic partner.

Settling is not marrying someone because you love them, care for their well-being, want and are able to share your whole self with them, and desire to build a life with them.

Settling is using people. It is marrying someone because you are lonely, because you don’t want to spend yet another Saturday night alone. Settling is getting married because you’re panicking that you’re 24 or 29 or 34, that your fertility is almost gone and that your sexual market value is about to go into free fall (obvious question: why would you want to marry someone who wants to marry you just because your current hotness levels are high? What’s the likelihood of that marriage ending in divorce one wrinkles show up and skin starts sagging?)

In real life, when people marry someone that they think they are setting for, they have unhappy marriages. If people don’t think that their spouse is all that great, they are going to grow resentful of having to sacrifice their own needs for their spouse’s needs. Eventually, they just won’t, and the marriage will sour. A poor relationship between spouses means sexual and emotional needs are going to go unmet.

If you are embarrassed to introduce your boyfriend to your family, could take or leave an evening with him, you’re probably Just Not That In To Him.

I am not saying that you should marry whomever you fall in love with. Obviously it’s important to take into account values, life goals, and maturity levels. But falling in love with someone is a sign the lack of which does not bode well for the future affection of married couples.

(And before JW jumps in with a comment about arranged marriages: I am not talking about those. We live in the West, we have marriages based on different values and expectations.)

4 Comments

Filed under Books, Marriage, Single

4 responses to “Settling

  1. JW

    Ha, I think you might understand me too well, because had you not pre-empted me that’s probably exactly what I’d’ve brought up.

    This is a tough, tough thing to evaluate re: what decision-rule is optimal to long-term marital success (wow that sounded geeky, sorry), so I’ll just summarize my thoughts with a very speculative guess: If arranged marriages are out, the best bet is to marry someone based neither in rational evaluation (because that’s lame) nor impassioned in-loveness (because -> disappointment), but on a feeling of deep admiration and respect (plus physical attraction).

    • Anna

      I don’t think rationality or emotion need to be thrown out. I like Auntie Seraphic‘s take on the matter:

      “Married love is friendship caught fire. A great blaze at the beginning of your marriage may settle down, but it ignites the logs of married life so that it burns brightly and warmly for decades. Sexual attraction is the tinder, good character, patience and maturity are the logs, but romantic love is the match.” I would also add shared core values (the importance of which she talks a lot about).

  2. I think the whole notion of settling or not settling is coming at the matter from a wrong perspective, frankly.

    Rather, people should look for someone with the same fundamental values and beliefs as oneself, who also is exciting to be with and attractive, in a good way. If you’re just not attracted to a person, no matter how good they look on paper (so to speak), there’s no point pursuing it. However, it’s also a poor idea to have a checklist in hand, and require someone to meet every bullet point; that’s a recipe for disappointment.

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