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In comments on another blog, frequent commentor and fellow blogger Stephanie shared the story of a friend’s struggling marriage:

I had a friend for over 2 decades… literally, we were friends in pre-school and have pictures together from our Kinder graduation **tear**. But she married someone she was NOT attracted to – who she dated for FIVE YEARS in our 20’s and kept complaining to me about how unattractive he was and how she wanted him to improve himself.

No matter how many times I told her to leave him alone and move on – find someone she was attracted to who she could accept as the man he is, she didn’t listen. She married him right at 29 yrs old (really hit home that manosphere cliche for me personally to see that), and has a very rocky marriage now.

Maybe… is it possible that [she] married her husband even though he wasn’t good at being a man? To me, these women (and virgins can do it, too) they pick these kinds of men on purpose. It’s not an accident that they stay with them through sometimes YEARS of dating and then it’s not an accident that they walk down that aisle to marry someone THEY KNOW they are not attracted to that much.

It’s very much on purpose. And while I’m sure they believe the lies they tell themselves… it’s bound to end up in heartache.

**Bonus brain memory stuff** She even told me (much to my horror) that while they were just dating she was very tempted to cheat on him with various coworkers!!!!!!! So how is that going to play out in a marriage of decades? Seems much more likely she will eventually stray.”

I inquired:

“@ Stephanie did she ever say what was working for her in the relationship? How attractive is she? Did she date others or ?”

She replied:

“Mostly just security, and getting married before it was too late to have kids. Her plans were always to find someone in college and marry them.

She did date other guys, even in high school… a couple she really was attracted to, but chose not to be “serious” with them even though I would urge her that they were a great catch for marriage.

I don’t get it 😦 Except that he makes good money and is stable. But she is very very good at her job and makes a lot of money, too, so I guess she just wanted stability relationship-wise.”

I too have seen women marry to a man they are not so attracted to physically (but are attracted to for other reasons like stability, status, resources, etc.) who end up unhappily married. And likewise I have seen women marry men they are wildly physically attracted to (but who lacked the stability/comfort component) who end up unhappily married. So is the physical attraction, or making the “wrong” pick in a mate, really the factor?

I know some may disagree, but I would argue it is not the level of attraction or choosing the wrong mate that is the problem, it is the woman’s attitude. Rather than focusing on what her mate doesn’t have, she would be far better off focusing on the qualities and traits that she does appreciate. It’s similar to the glass half full or half empty argument.

Women who look for what’s “missing” will always be less happy (content) than women who look for “what’s there.” Because it is far too easy to idealize some imaginary path not taken, and far too easy to also criticize the path chosen.

But guess what? All we have is the path we are on. And if she choose to marry this man, choosing to honor that commitment despite his not being perfect in every possible way is actually the secret to a successful marriage. Being happy (content) isn’t something that, “just happens,” it means she literally chooses to be happy (content) with her choice, see the positives within it, and to honor the commitment she made.

It’s foolishly disastrous to continue after marriage to ponder “what if’s” and “if only’s” and such alternate realities as if they were some magically perfect path versus the path one is on. Because you know what? Those options would be just as imperfect in different ways. Because no marriage is without a balance of give and take.

To see how damaging such thinking is, let’s put the shoe on the other foot. Imagine if her husband was constantly questioning his choice in a wife? Wondering if he could have “done better?” Entertaining attractions to others at work and social circles. Confessing to others on a regular basis how his wife is “lacking” in this way or that. Not cool, right? And not very loving, either.

So in reality I would say this woman and others like her are not unhappy (discontent) because they have chosen poorly or wrong so much as they are choosing to be unhappy (discontent) with the choice they freely made. As in past tense. The time to question the choice was before the wedding, not forever after.

Of course doing so takes maturity, self-discipline, wisdom, and a long-view — qualities not as popular in today’s “instant gratification, I want it all and I want it now,” society. It would also require self-awareness of the role she is choosing to play in her own and her husband’s unhappiness (discontent), plus a sincere desire to change that. It’s possible, but only she can take these steps.

This woman may think the solution to her unhappiness (discontent) is changing her partner (either changing her partner’s appearance or literally changing partners) — but in reality the solution is changing her own dysfunctional, non-constructive, and marriage-killing mindset. Stop reconsidering the choice and get on with making what you chose work, would be my red pill advice.

What do you think? Please share in the comments.