Lori Gottlieb’s New York Times bestseller Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough touched off a recent firestorm of reaction from women who believe they shouldn’t be expected to compromise when choosing their perfect mate. Controversy aside, what fascinated me was that neither side mentioned (and maybe did not even know) anything about what I consider to be the most important factor when making the decision about a possible perfect partner: the mind’s ability to remain clear while analyzing facts and making decisions.
When making any critical decision, especially contemplating whether or not to compromise on something as important as a life partner, it is essential for the mind to analyze the relevant information based on fact and not emotionally biased information. How else can you be sure that you are making a good decision and not dooming a potentially loving relationship to fail? Perhaps the compromise you choose to make is minor when you look at the larger picture, and years down the road, you will be thankful it did not stop you from committing. Also, it’s important to be aware that when the mind is swirling with desire and expectation, even if it is pleasurable, you could easily be swayed in the wrong direction.
Choosing a partner is one of the most important decisions in a lifetime, so it’s important to have a clear and issue-free mental state. I would hope that women (and men) recognize the importance of having their equipment (the mind that is) functioning at the highest level before making any long-term decisions. Since pilots never fly unless their radar is functioning and divers always checks their air delivery system before taking the plunge, doesn’t it make sense that choosing the perfect mate requires that our thinking facilities are functioning at an optimal level? Falling in love is a complicated affair that combines thinking, emotions, and information from the old memory banks. Without being aware and centered, any choice could be doomed to failure.
If you are not sure about whether to continue a relationship or end it, there is another point to consider: at what stage of the relationship is this question arising? If you are in the first stage of a relationship, the romantic stage, it is definitely not the right time to decide if compromise is necessary. It’s too easy to ignore wisdom when you are panting in ecstasy; and while romance is such a nice way to start a relationship, its raging hormones and overwhelming desires do not lend itself to rational thinking.
The best time to contemplate compromise is when your wise, intuitive Self is present. My wife and I have some personal experience in this matter, and we both agree that compromise is sometimes the prudent path to take. We both agree that although we did not meet each other’s expectations in a few areas, the past thirty-five years of our marriage proves it can work anyway (as long as you don’t compromise on the essentials). No doubt there are people who are just not compatible and no amount of compromise will alter that. However, if it is not black or white, make sure your mind is clear and your heart is open when facing that delicate decision.