To Settle or to Stay Single?

I saw an article from The Atlantic being passed along on facebook earlier this month that I only finished this morning, “Marry Him!”, by Lori Gottlieb. It’s an extended editorial by a feminist-leaning mom with a donor-conceived child that basically tells women to stop being so picky by holding out for Mr. Perfect and to settle for Mr. Probably Okay. In true Lindsay fashion, I also sought out a response article on Boundless, a Focus on the Family webzine I used to read regularly in undergrad. Not surprisingly, the Boundless article takes a similar stance to Gottlieb’s, but with the caveat that the only real dealbreakers are a man’s Christian beliefs.

I’m still young, but as I attend my college friends’ weddings and get used to calling women by their married names, I feel some of that itch to get married. I haven’t dated in a very long time, but I still feel that, as religious as I am, I will either be married within the next five years or stay single for the next fifteen. I haven’t had much opportunity to be picky, so I don’t know how picky I am.

Gottlieb seems to suggest that there are no justifiable dealbreakers once a woman starts to head closer to 40, but some of her suggested qualities to overlook (telling inappropriate jokes, emotional instability) still seem significant to me. I agree, though, that you don’t have to be passionately in love with a man who matches every quality you desire in order to marry him. In the long run, I can deal with a 5’6″ man who prays with me and loves me despite my perfectionism and my maddening imperfections. If he thinks Napoleon Dynamite was cinematic genius, that won’t make me overlook his willingness to endure through difficulties in all the relationships in his life, even if that includes his mother. (I believe the way a man treats his mother is the way he’ll treat his wife in ten years.)

It’s okay to settle on some things, even if you are still young, but there’s nothing wrong with a few dealbreakers, either.


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If God wants you to be married He’ll send you the right person. For me the question was, can this man be my friend and companion through thick and thin? I was single for many years and had given up on ever finding anyone. People told me I was too picky. Then I decided to join a video dating service and that’s where I found my husband. It worked out great. God gave me a good man.

I’m 35 and have never been married–and never had a steady girlfriend, for that matter. Though I haven’t 100% abandoned the idea of marriage, I’m leaning toward the religious life or at least dedicating myself, even as a layman, to serving God and forgoing marriage.
You’re right that there still should be some things that would be “dealbreakers” regardless of your age. For instance, no Christian should marry an unbeliever–period. And James Dobson rightly pointed out that getting into a bad marriage is far worse than even the most severe cases of loneliness.

May God grant us both the grace and the wisdom to fulfill His will in this important matter!

I came across your blog on Sunday Snippets. I hope you’ll check mine out:

    I can definitely understand the feeling that you should pursue religious life or committed single life after not being married or dating much for so long. Clearly my experience is far inferior, but I can still understand. I’ve thought both things before, and to some extent, I still do. I am 100% behind Dobson in avoiding bad marriages. I don’t, however, support the slippery slope that follows the fear of a bad marriage and leads to shacking up (“we don’t want to get divorced, so let’s not get married”). I’m not accusing you of that opinion; I’m just stating it for the record.

    Thanks for stopping by! I’ll be sure to check out Evan’s Cove, and I hope you’ll return here.

I can tell you that I “fell in love” several times during my dating years–that FEELING of soaring, that stupid look on my face, those hours of sitting by the phone hoping HE would call. Then one day I met a nice guy. Things didn’t happend quickly, I never “fell in love” with him, but one day I realized I did love him, that I didn’t want to give him up for the jerk who was flirting with me, and that he was a GOOD man. That was over 20 years ago, and I’ve never regretted marrying him.

[…] of my love if he read my list and realized he didn’t measure up to it. He might think I had just settled for him. […]

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