Monday, March 10, 2008

Settle Down, People!

Rex is out of town for a week. With a full schedule ahead of us, I kind of feel like that cover of Home Alone. Cue me, hands around my cheeks, big wide expression, wondering what the hell I'm going to do.

Sometimes I don't feel that way. I'm pretty independent, and have been known to go for up to two weeks without batting an eye. But when your mate goes out of his way to be nice to you - not in the way that he finds is important - but the way that you find important - well... it makes you feel kind of sappy.

Here's the odd thing about marriage: You want to find a man that lets you be you, but if you're too much of you, then you feel like you're missing out on the "we". But if you have too much of the "we" then you're missing out on the part of the "you" that used to radiate and shine that made you, well, you. And so, like with everything, there's... yes, I'll say it again... balance.

I'm kind of scared to write this down, but we've found that recently, and it's been nice. Three weeks ago? Not so much. Funny how life can switch over with a little down time.

On a related note, there's a very interesting article here that talks about settling in marriage. It's called "Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr. Good Enough." I found it through Rachel Sarah's blog - a writing colleague at BabyCenter. While Sarah refuses to settle for the reasons the author, Lori, writes about, I can see where Lori is coming from. In fact, such reasons on my part led to a huge falling out with someone at one point in my life. What I've learned is that this is a very touchy subject - this idea of settling. Because everyone has different reasons for it, and different definitions of it. If settling means not traveling much anymore, and buying a condo instead of a house, or not getting a dog because the dude is allergic to cats, or whatever, then it might not be right for you. If setting means giving that stuff up in return for something else you want more, then that's cool, too.

What gets people into hot water is when two sides of the coin argue for their choice, because it's very difficult to defend one side without incriminating the other.

As for me, I settled for the good things and let go of the others. Sometimes I am frustrated by the constraints of marriage, and other times freer than I've ever been in my life due to a wonderful support system.

As of right this second, I can only be so grateful for the man in my life who has loved me for who I am since the day he met me. He might disagree with my choices on many areas of life, from finances to our views of entertainment, but he never disagrees with who I am as Andrea.

Today he surprised me with a nice note from New York. "I love you and am so happy to be meried to you." A speller he is not, but I love him just the same. And since he is an I.T. manager, not a copy editor, it doesn't really matter. You can bet your sweet ass he can spell every alien on Star Trek though.

What are your views of settling? Is there such a thing?
* Image taken of Rex during our Hawaii trip almost ten years ago. Pre kids, pre marriage, pre his trip to my hairdresser for a unibrow removal - his one job before the wedding. I guess I can't complain he's too anal when he allowed a woman twice his age to pour hot wax on his Italian arches. Ahh, Rex. Miss ya, buddy.

More of my writing can be found on Goodhousekeeping
& Babycenter. I write under the name Andrea Frazer. Drop me a note! I’d love it! Or don’t.


His Girl said...

I think that for me, I 'settled' on my husband in that I didn't get many of the things I had on my 'list' of what I imagined I would want in a husband.

Today, I couldn't be gladder. The list of the things that I love about my husband now (after much effort and prayer) is much longer than the one that would exist if I listed things I had to 'settle' for not having.

I'm glad you are feeling all lovey about your hottie hubby! It's an awesome feeling, isn't it?

freefalling said...

HEY - he's a big SPUNK!
Even with one eyebrow!
(My bloke is an Italian, Star-Trek loving, IT guy, too!).

I think "settling" is a dirty word.
It's kinda like you trade one thing you don't really like for another thing you don't really like - it doesn't make sense. Having said that - no one is perfect and being accepting of another's faults is part of living life. Sometimes our expectations are ridiculous. And I think you are right - balance is the perfect word - yeah he might laugh ridiculously on occasion (you know, like Errol Flynn) but he always lets you perform your interpretive dance style for him (not pretty).
Swings and roundabouts.

Jenster said...

Woo woo, Mama!! As His Girl says, he's a hottie!! But then I guess you knew that.

I never felt I settled, but when I read this post I suppose I did. Obviously I felt like the stuff I gave up wasn't anywhere near as cool as Todd. That was nearly 20 years ago and I still feel the same.

I'm happy with my life and the less than stellar choices I've made were of my own doing - not because I was married or anything. Does that make sense? Because it's barely 7:00 and I haven't had coffee. I'm not really sure if I'm awake yet. This could all be a dream which would be great because that means I'm still in bed, slumbering peacefully.

Evenspor said...

Well said. :)

forgetfulone said...

I feel like I settled, too, but I think it's either that, or wait till I'm dead to find the so-called mr. right. Sometimes I feel trapped, too, because I had five years of independent motherhood after my divorce, before this marriage, and I became set in my ways. Oh well. By the way, hubby is a cutie. AND... you write for TV? (your profile mentions it)

Monnik said...

Holy moly! Rex is a hottie!

I think sometimes that I would have chosen much differently if things hadn't happened the way they did. (DH and I had our oldest DD when we were still in college and very unmarried). But my take is that you make the best of what you're given in life, and that applies to my marriage. That sounds horribly negative - as if he's my cross to bear, but it's not how I mean it at all. I mean that this is the way my life unfolded, and I aim to make it the best I can. And I'm (usually) quite happy with that choice.

Single Mom Seeking said...

Andrea, you made me a little weepy with this one, and it's barely daylight. You're good.

I love hearing "your" side of things. That little note that Rex sent to you says it, after two kids and all. Wow.

Thanks for this.

Terri said...

I disagree with the writer who thought it was o.k. to "settle".
I did SO many goofyy and/or just plain stupid things when I was younger, but the one thing I didn't want to do was "settle". I waited a long time. I wondered if he would ever come along and OH! I am so glad I didn't give in to temptation and settle! Because I cannot imagine being this happy with anyone else.
Hope your honey comes home soon! God bless!

Gretchen said...

I think if your husband has one more pro than con on the list, he's the one. Face it--we are broken, sorely imperfect people. Even on our good days. The most important thing in a marriage for me is the commitment to love each other despite the warts--or even because of them. Of course I'm not talking deviant/unhealthy relationship behavior, but more the "I can't stand it when he does this..." stuff.

I don't think it's settling to love someone who isn't perfect; I think it's reality.

Keep lovin on that Rex--obviously he's practically perfekt for you. :)

ms chica said...

Great post.

When I tied the knot, I didn't settle. I was never looking for perfect only complementary, meaning someone who could bring out the best in me.

I avoid giving advice in the relationship department, because whether or not it is a good idea, depends upon the people involved.

liv said...

Well, I don't know what to say. I'm glad you have what you have. I can't even begin to tell you what I'm looking for. Most probably someone who can handle me--little, old, idiosyncratic me.

meno said...

You have captured well the dichotomy that is marriage.

I don't know if it can be any other way. I guess for me, it isn't.

Ashley said...

is my comment stuck somehow, or did it never go through in the first place?

Ashley said...

I know what you mean about him being nice to you in the way you find important. I just realized yesterday that Michael re-folds our hand towels really nicely now instead of sort of wadding them back on the towel ring like he did when we were first married. It was a nice surprise because I knew that he would only remember to do that consistently if it had actually become important to him, and the only reason such a detail would be important to him is that it's important to me.

As for the settling - my pastor has said before that so many people search long and hard for that "right person" to marry, when instead they should put their energy into being the right person. We are imperfect beings and aren't meant to provide completion or fulfillment for each other. It helps me still if I'm annoyed with my husband to take a step back and try and focus on how I can be a better, more patient woman instead of wishing he would improve.

Ashley said...

btw - way to go scoring such a smoking guy!

Liza's Eyeview said...

You two are such love birds! Enjoyed reading this post. (I bet this will be one of Rex's favorite post of yours, don't you think so?)

I think it's time for another Hawaii trip for you guys, what d'ya think?

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in this discussion with the author you mentioned:
Thursday March 27
Rabbi Wolpe interviews Lori Gottlieb, the author of the article “Marry Him!” that is garnering media coverage in major newspapers, NPR and Dr. Phil. Wine & Cold Appetizers to be served.
For young professionals - AGES 21-39, Couples & Singles
$10 with pre-registration, $15 at the door
(Free for Sinai Temple Members)
Register at:

My personal belief is we all make choices based on what fits our needs, what best suits our life-goals and what has the greatest possibility of offering fulfilment and joy in the longterm. Sometimes we choose not to choose (I hate the word settling as well) someone because we can see further down the road, that it just won't work out. And what that means from person to person is different. One person's choice might not be the other person's choice, but that doesn't mean that one has settled and the other hasn't. It just means that one has chosen something different because each one of us is different, has different goals and different desire and different timelines. To those married people, you need to accept that your single friends didn't make the same choice at the same time you did and that's ok. And to those single people out there; you have to understand that the married people didn't make the same choice, and that too is ok. It's when you try to force others into your box to feel better about your choices, that's when you run into problems. I came across a most beautiful blended family the other weekend, where both partners (in their 50s) had been married before, but this time around, they chose better. The kids are in high-school to grad school, the couple relates to each other and to the kids in the most profound, beautiful way, and if I didn't know which kids belonged to whom, I wouldn't have guessed, b/c they were so integrated in each other's lives. The minute you walked into that room, you sensed an abundance of love. What I am saying is sometimes you find the right person at a different time, and sometimes it's ok to wait for that. Not everyone finds that person by the age of 30 or 35. Some even might choose to adopt kids or be a foster parent if they don't find someone to share their life with. That's where I'm at right now. But this idea of choosing someone just b/c you happen to be 35 and single (as the article suggests) so as not to be alone, is not only closing off other options, but is also closing yourself off to your own personal growth. And who says being alone is so bad? Who says you can't be just as fulfilled by nieces and nephews and friend's families and intimate friendships where you share and care for each other. Who says you can't be fulfilled by an enriching career where you are constantly giving to others and making the world a better place? Who says you can't be fulfilled by traveling, and learning about other places and cultures on your own? Sometimes what you get when you're not choosing to settle for something that doesn't work for you can be even more rewarding.

sari said...

Your husband is cute!

Susie Q said...

This was a love letter to Rex..pure and simple. He is loved. you are loved.
I am as imperfect as they come and Bill loves me. I love him even though he drives me crazy.
There are days I wish he would talk more and be more spontaneous and less messy. Then he does something like plan a trip to surprise me or does a load of laundry without being asked.

If I said I was happy 100% of the time, you would know I was lying.
But that is MY problem. I did not settle. I fell in love...he is not perfect but neither am I. He filled the BIG picture.

I have seen a few who did settle.
Or those who thought they should just BE married by a certain age.
It was sad...such bitter people. I have seen those who LOVED it when the partner is away. Dreaded their sad is that?
All when they could have been fulfilled just to be with friends and in their careers and traveling and whatever. Now they have gotten into a mess. Two hood people will be hurt and for what?

Bill is not perfect but I fell in have to have that. I am still in love...even in those days I hate him! : )

And Rex is a are hot. Together you are a nuclear blast!

Love ya,

capacious said...

I am going to respond to this without reading the other comments because I don't want to lose what I want to say.

I spent a lot of time dating very wrong and very bad and very funny people who were SO not those with whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life. I think that's really an important thing to do, so when you meet the person who is so obviously perfect, you SEE him. I will encourage my boys not to settle down until they've really played the field (and worn a condom, and been kind, and sweet, etc., etc.) I am a true believer in finding out what one wants.

I met my husband and a little time went by while I got rid of the guy with whom I was living, but that was it. My husband-to-be had dated every wig-wearing, cosmetic-counter-perfume-spraying, club-going, drug-taking lunatic and I had dated every job-maker-upper poseur drunk and/or geek/bouncer/artist in NYC, and it was obvious that we were meant for each other. We were lucky. I thank my lucky stars all the time.

We do not have a lot of money. We settled for not having a lot of money, as neither of us is a huge go-getter, money-maker. But we have a house that is happy and full of joy and love, and that's what we were both after. That's why we are happy together. God, I love him. And I am secure in the fact that he loves me. It's nice.