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The 'Good Enough' Marriage

Experts and couples discuss whether settling for 'Mr. Good Enough' is better than waiting for the perfect soul mate.

Recognizing Mr. or Ms. 'Good Enough' continued...

Cynthia Rice underwent a similar change. "Earlier in my life, I had certain criteria in my mind, like 'I'm not going to choose someone without a certain stature in life or money," she says. "I consider [settling] reprioritizing. We all have a little more baggage. I realized David was really smart. We can have a conversation and connect even while we are grinding out the day."

"I made a practical choice in a mate," she tells WebMD. "It's not what we look like to our neighbors or to society. It's what we have here in our home."

Although everyone has different requirements of a potential spouse, experts offer five guidelines to help you determine the qualities needed for sharing "good enough" lifetime together.

Compatibility. "Similar styles in living, similar ways of operating, whether more rational or emotional, will help you avoid chronic disappointment," Weston says. Gottlieb speaks of lifestyles that can "meld."

Sexual Attraction. "You need adequate sexual attraction, some chemistry, but you each don't have to like 17 body parts," Weston says.

Similar Goals. You may have a laundry list of ideal qualities in a mate, but narrow down your list to three must-have traits, Schwartz suggests. "You only have so many "slots" someone can fulfill, whether it's a shared love of travel, a similar outlook on money, or raising children." Schwartz cautions about seeking what she calls "incongruent characteristics" from a partner. "Some women marry industry lions and then are surprised when they bite," she says.

Respect. "If you admire someone, you are way ahead," says Schwartz.

Gut Check. Finally, Weston suggests trusting your gut for clues on whether someone is good enough for you. "Nine years before I married my husband, I was engaged to another man," she says. "I had funny little shooting pains and a twitch in that hand; I wasn't sleeping well. My body was giving me clues."

Reviewed on March 02, 2009

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