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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.
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A Pragmatic View of Marriage continued...

Terri, an artist based in Roswell, Ga., who has been married for eight and a half years, says the good-enough concept resonates with her. 

"I did have a fantasy idea of what marriage was going to be. By the time I got married in my mid- 30s, I had a lot of dating experience and the bubble burst.  We had a child within the first year of marriage, and it got pretty practical pretty quickly," says Terri, who asked that her last name not be used. "The ever-shifting process of coming together, compromising, and the day-to-day of housekeeping and child rearing have taught me to accept Thomas for who he is. When that happened, I truly felt a sense of relief, a comfortable feeling of where I have landed. I'm much more relaxed."

Recognizing Mr. or Ms. 'Good Enough'

In Tyler Perry's films, the girl often gets the guy -- but there's a caveat: He's not usually the guy she pictured herself with. In fact, it's usually a regular guy -- the proverbial "diamond in the rough" -- that she's overlooked.

As we mature and learn more about who we are, recognize our inadequacies and learn to accept those of our mate, we are better equipped to "screen in" candidates who are good enough, experts say.

Gottlieb believes many of us -- herself included -- have dismissed potential mates based on looks, habits, or other superficial "deal breakers." In her article, she writes about her own change of heart in terms of what romance and marriage is or isn't supposed to be. 

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."

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