Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I Believe in Settling

Barricade by James Goodman via Flickr
 A few years ago I heard a This I Believe segment on NPR called, I think, A Marriage That's Good Enough. I remember being somewhat horrified at the time that the author of the essay so freely admitted that she had settled for her husband.

And yet. And yet.

Now I fully embrace that sentiment. Of course we settle. It's nothing so dramatic as settling for someone you don't love just because you don't want to be single anymore (which I certainly don't recommend because any "joy" in being paired up lessens dramatically when you're picking that partner's horrifyingly smelly sweaty clothes off of the floor or watching him clip his toenails near your pillow*).

Settling happens when you love a person who can't sit through a movie in the theater though you love going to movies. When you fully realize that there are quite a few guys out there who like hugging for more than 2 minutes before they go limp waiting for you to set them free from your embrace. Settling happens when he would like you run a marathon with him one day, and you guffaw in his face and say, "Not a chance in this lifetime, sucker!"

Sure, you could throw in the towel on your relationship and possibly find that guy or girl out there who matches your interests, personality, and all the rest so completely that he or she is your soulmate, but there's nothing to ensure that that person even exists. To be unwilling to settle for less than a perfect match means that you are also expecting that other person to be equally unwilling to settle, and, heads up, that may result in their being unwilling to settle for you.

So settling actually translates to being gentle to yourself. Realizing that you'll probably never again look like you did just out of college, figure out what career fulfills you, or run that marathon that you feel just a little guilty about not wanting anything to do with is okay when you embrace settling. You can settle for the imperfect and still be very very happy. And then you can grow to see those imperfections as reasons to love that person even more.

But not the toenail clippings. The toenail clippings will never ever ever ever be lovable. Ever.

*My own husband has not done this. To my knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. There is definitely a difference between settling for love and settling in to be comfortable. Your post reminds me that while my husband has flaws that I must accept and settle for, I have flaws too that he has to live with as well.