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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Should a Woman Settle for the Sake of Marriage?

Afternoon Divas,

So what about Mr. Good-Enough?I stumbled across a fantastic article in the Atlantic monthly written by guest-author, Lori Gottlieb,a thirty-something career woman and mother by anonymous sperm donor. All her life she'd been waiting for a man with whom she'd share an intense passion with and someone that fit all of her fantasized ideals of her perfect suitor. Needless to say, she escorted endless men who could have been "the one" out of her life and Mr. Perfect never came.

In hindsight, she writes that she regrets not being married, despite having total self-sufficiency, the child, and the career. In hindsight, she suggests, that it may have been better to not have been so picky and stubborn in her romantic ideals that she passed over quality men with whom a long term commitment may have worked. Here's an excerpt:

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.

Click here to enjoy the rest of the article. Not only is it worth the read but it's worth being circulated amongst your female friends, single and non-single, and discussed.

Now I've been thinking about this whole issue since I posted the Oprah Clip last week about 70% of Black women being single. First of all, I don't know where that statistic comes from, so I do question it's validity, but even if it is correct I would ignore it. . I believe that the moment we as Black women begin to think that because we are Black women we are doomed to be single forever, have relationship issues, or have to date sub-par men... the moment we embrace this defeatism is the moment we really will endure these issues. If marriage is what you truly want (and it doesn't have to be), then marriage is what you shall get. Seek and you shall find.

However, with an obvious disparity between available Black men and Black women you either need to be open to dating outside of your race or dating Black men who are not necessarily from America, and if not (and it's okay if you don't want to) be willing to not make the dating pit falls that many women do. With odds stacked against you my sisters, you can not afford to make costly, time-consuming mistakes. This of course, is my opinion.

What are these mistakes? Okay, well first of all, women approach every aspect of their life, career, networking, buying a car... with pragmatism. We strategize. We network. We have a game plan to success. We don't make major decisions without first weighing the pros and the cons. We believe that things are possible and we pursue them. When we are in pursuit of something worth while, we are practical creatures.But... for some reason, when many of us are in pursuit of a man with the ultimate intension of finding a husband, we lose all sense of practicality. We become short sided, emotional, and in some cases defeated.

Now some of us will meet "the one" in high school or bump into him by chance while walking our dog in Central Park. For the rest of us, we need practicality. The author of the article, Lori, calls it "settling". No! A fly woman should never settle, she should just be realistic. If marriage is in your heart, God will grant you that blessing. You will attract what you desire by the nature of karma, but you must be able to recognize that blessing when it comes.

I think that the major problem women suffer from is setting fickle ideals about the man they want to be with. We are all, to some extent, waiting for Prince Charming to ride in his Benz CL 500 and give us the life of our dreams. We dream up Mr. Right from a place of superficiality and often from a place of shallowness. Not in the negative sense of the term, but in the fact that we have personal voids (like beautiful paper with wholes punched in it) and we form our desires for a mate out of the need to feel complete. But we have to do the completing. Our joy must come from within. We need for him to be a certain height, a certain biuld, work in a certain industry, come from a certain upbringing, like the same music we like, like the same food we like, and etc. Now while attraction is important, a woman shouldn't be quick to exclude a man because he isn't 'her type' that's a superficial desire.

Furthermore, don't be blinded by the smoke screen of compatibility. I once dated a man with whom I was compatible down to the 't'... but he was a dog!!! Surface level compatibility is not all that serious, it's your inner-most ideals about life that need to match up.

How I see it, what really matters is that you are compatible in terms of your ideas on family values, marriage, relationship, and life. Of course there needs to be an amazing physical and emotional connection and to many women it's important that her partner have a similar educational background and socio-economic status. Nothing wrong with that. But when women discount potential suitors on account for superficial reasons it saddens me. If the odds are stacked against women of color, then she can't afford to be close minded.

In fact, no woman can.Neither can she afford to waist time in dead end relationships with men who disrespect their mind, spirit, or body. Don't get so caught up by what he does, or how good the sex is, that you are oblivious to bright red flags. Everyone has different standards, but me personally, I need to know that my sig-o is honest, has a sense of ethics, believes in God, respects my body, mind and spirituality, has strong family values, and is willing to make sacrifices (small or large) for the sake of our relationship. And if these items are not in order, I move on! My best friend, the Chocolate Diva has a great saying. "Wait... I actually don't have the time. Next!" But really, I could care less if he likes hip hop and I like jazz. Variety is the spice of life.

A final concern of mine is women who 'seek'. While I do believe that we should form networks that help us to meet potential suitors, I don't believe in women who chase. If you catch something, you'll ultimately probably want to throw it back. First of all it's so important that a woman is in touch with herself, loves herself flaws and all. You need to be a complete person to even know what you want in a man.

Furthermore, there's such a thing as a seductive personality. When you're fly, you're doing your thing, and meeting different people, he's going to come to you. And you want that. You want that genuine admiration. You don't want that guy approaching 30, thinking about getting married soon, dating 3 women at once, and trying to make a decision (it happens like that sometimes). You want that man who's smitten. Who tells you that you are beautiful and that you smell nice and he really notices when are wearing a different scent. That man that is trying to know more about you, rather than more about your body. That man who is understanding. That man that can handle you (because some of yall, including me, are crazy). That man who looks into your eyes and gives you the chills because you feel that he is really searching for your soul. You shouldn' t feel like you have to keep up a facade or that dating someone is like a show, where you need to be 'on' in order to keep him impressed. When it's right it feels natural.

So while I agree with Lori about opening our eyes and not passing up on a potential blessing, I disagree that this is settling. I think it's being smart, rational, realistic and honest. I think it's getting to know and love yourself so that you can truly know and love someone else. Hmmm, tell me what you think. I know my ideas will strike a chord with some of you.

Flyness and funk,

1 comment:

shatani said...

i havent read the whole article yet, but it feels to me like there is a stark contrast between what she said and what youre saying (i agree with you, by the way) just going by that little snippet though.