Over the past week, two different people sent me the same article from the the latest issue of The Atlantic. It's a gut-wrenching piece by Lori Gottlieb, who makes the provocative assertion that at a certain point, it's better for women to settle for a man who isn't quite right than to end up alone forever waiting for true love.
Have you seen it? It's a stunner of an essay, most notably because of the author's unquestionable credibility: she's a forty-something single mom (she had IVF a year or so back), staring down the barrel of a long life without a husband to help out with, well, anything. Suddenly, the guy she ditched because he wasn't much of a reader seems like a gem (she has no time to read now, anyway) and all the little things that made her dismiss various Mr. Maybe's over the years seem foolish and inconsequential as she faces the enormity of a life spent alone. She's amazingly candid about her realization that she's no longer in a decision making place, even in terms of settling. Instead, she's someone who (hopefully) some nice guy might someday settle for. Her words dented my heart in more ways than I can describe.
Then I heard Sheryl Crow's new CD, Detours, which was like deja vu all over again. It made me wonder if these two women synchronized their release dates, because as I hear Sheryl sing, "I could wait my whole life for this moment to come/With a long list of beautiful chances I’ve blown," it feels like the anthem to Gottlieb's essay (and, to be honest, my life up until a few years ago). Pain like this obviously makes for great writing and music, but it seems like a kind of awful thing to live with day-to-day.
I talked about this with my friend Grace, who offered an interesting perspective. She's been married for fifteen years now, but freely admits that God gets the credit for getting her through the dating maze. She described how God nudged her to end a relationship with a guy who wasn't right for her (saying something to the effect of, He's not headed to where you want to end up in life), and later urged her to stay in a relationship with Dave, the man who ultimately became her husband. She often tells the story of their tumultuous first year of dating: how Dave triggered every one of Grace's issues, how they fought, how she told him one afternoon, "If you think I'm going to fall in love with you, you've got another thing coming!" But as each of them talked to God about their tumult, they heard similar things: Hang in there. Give it a little more time. Don't give up on this. So that's what they did. Now, all these years later, they're one of the couples that inspire me to believe that marriage can still be sexy and fun as the years go by. They defy the odds.
Thinking about all of this (and my own recent experiment with trusting God with my love life, and George Michael singing cause you've got to have faith in the pilot episode of Eli Stone) gave me an idea. You can read about it here, at a new blog I set up yesterday. If it sounds like something you'd be interested in trying, drop me a line and I'll let you know when we start.
If you're curious (and brave!) you can find the Lori Gottlieb's article here.
Here's to no more kissing frogs, no more detours, and no more settling :)