At #1101 Her Highness Denise inquired. Can a woman marry a bona fide Mr. GoodEnough who “she doesn’t have particularly strong romantic feelings for without her or his disappointment down the line?” Yes, in theory she can but is she capable of paying the price and adjusting to the consequences? Remember, this is just theory to explain how the male and female natures can be blended into compatibility. Different personalities might produce various outcomes.
Behind Denise’s question is this: Can love and romance be separated? Think of this: Romance starts in and stirs a woman’s imagination, but love abounds in her heart. Further, love and romance separate in every marriage when romantic love fades after about two years. The romance side fades in response to marital energies, pressures, and relationship maturation. Either enduring love replaces it or the unforgiveable irritants and unforgettable negatives in a relationship compound and lead to marital separation.
It turns her question into HOW can she make it work if her romantic feelings aren’t all that strong? She pays a bigger price, that’s all. Can she? Is she willing? Can she analyze herself honestly? If she thinks yes, let her consider the devil in the details of what it takes to succeed.
First Expectation. Is Mr. GoodEnough devoted to her? Not just committed to her or marriage, but devoted to her as person, woman, and potential mate? If not, she should delay or do without marriage until he does fit that mold.
Second Expectation. She needs a makeover so that she believes this: I am more interested in him than in myself and more interested in us than in me.* How does she get that way? Her many micro and macro actions imprint and confirm his importance in her life and tend to suppress her self-centeredness and selfishness to favor him.
First Principle. His actions program his heart. Her actions program her heart. Presume the principle works at 100% although reality makes it work at a slightly lower level, perhaps in the neighborhood of 80-20 in favor of the actions of the heart-owner.
Second Principle. Women quite naturally come to love whomever they take close care of. The same applies with romance. Act more romantic with and about him and she will feel more romantic. Eagerly initiate romance activities (with him of course). Smother love will help her but it may turn him off. If needed, do the best she can to fake romantic notions without going too far. In other words, fake it ‘til you make it. Will it generate greater romantic love? Sure, if her intentions are sincere, if her heart is dedicated to generating a great marriage. Moreover, it will help generate the enduring love that will be needed in a year or two after the altar.
- Developing new habits—not inspired by romantic passion—to show more attention and affection for Mr. GoodEnough may take many months, so a long courtship should be anticipated and utilized.
- Converting and confirming his interest in her as reliable and detectable devotion may also take many months.
- Analyze herself, just how important is romance to her? How important versus all her other priorities? Does she need her own version to show romance to him or will his displays of affection satisfy her? If he’s devoted to her, he probably shows attention and affection willingly and often. If she’s been captured by romance novels and magazines, however, he probably will never provide enough to satisfy her imagined need for romance.
- She makes her marriage work this way. Ignoring or suppressing all negative feelings about him and what she does, she acts totally and completely devoted to him, his efforts, his interest, and especially his job. Not to put him first in all things but to put her actively demonstrating without negative thoughts that she loves him. It’s her actions that program her heart with love. Negative feelings curtail the growth of her love and alert her man to prepare for changes that are a’comin’.
This is a theoretical model that takes advantage of natural sex differences. I suggest at least a two-year courtship to see if romance can be stimulated and enduring love can arise after the usual fade time for romantic love.
*I paraphrase Marian the Librarian as she sings in the movie Music Man, ♫“He is more interested in me than in himself and more interested in us than in me.”♫