Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Review--Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough

Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough
Lori Gottlieb
Non-Fiction

Assumptions, Basics, Compassion, ...Realism

I never thought I'd be reviewing a romance book, much less a romance book focused on these four words! Actually, I think this book has applications far beyond romance, and as a guy, I must confess I found Marry Him quite refreshing and possibly the most compelling book I've read since The Ayatollah Begs to Differ.

Bestselling author Lori Gottlieb found herself still single at age 40, wanting to marry. The book is the story of her journey of analyzing her predicament. Essentially she found that her feminist ideals, that she could and should have or do anything, backfired when it came to finding love. After coming up empty in the online dating scene, and attending a frightning speed dating event, Lori started turning to professionals for help.

If that doesn't provoke some of you into reading this book, I don't know what will!

Rachel Greenwald, author of Find a Husband After 35: Using What I Learned at Harvard Business School, helped Lori focus on subjective characteristics of her potential mate, not on objective characteristics. Though at first this suggestion sounds counter intuitive, Greenwald and other matchmakers, helped Gottlieb see that physical appearance and where someone went to college, if they did at all, or how much money they earn--the objective characteristics--have very little to do with long term happiness. Focusing on these characteristics can prematurely exclude many potential mates who might otherwise make enjoyable companions. (You might note that all four words I listed at the top come to bear here.)

As usual the real life examples, the stories in non-fiction, are what appeal to me the most. Lori also met with Evan, a 35-year-old dating consultant, for once a week meetings. Evan was the one who pushed her to stop making assumptions about men that she found in her online dating websites, such as assuming that the man she calls Sheldon2, was not her type because he said he worked in real estate and wore a pink, polka-dot bowtie in his photo.

Evan insisted Lori reconsider what a real need is by whittling down her list of 14 needs in a potential mate to only 3! For her 3 must-haves, Lori listed: intellectually curious, kid-friendly, and financially stable. Nothing more.

One more interesting thing, to me, was how Lori's dating advisors and matchmakers consistently downplayed the importance of having similar interests. Unanimously they agree that common interests can be discovered well into the relationship but that what matters most up front are common relationship goals and common values.

I highly recommend this book! I'd give it three thumbs up if I could.

Authors that Gottlieb interviews in the book:
Other related books include:
Afterword: Lori Gottlieb actually devotes a chapter to the advantages of arranged marriages in modern America. Research has shown that American couples who wed by arranged marriage report equal or greater marital satisfaction than couples who choose their own spouses.

I also didn't expect to read that it is only since the 1970's that love became the primary reason given for marrying. Before that such comparatively mundane practicalities, such as, raising a family, being economically secure, and having a nice home and yard beat out marrying for love.

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