This week, I was asked to address why men settle on MadameNoire. I’ll admit that there was a lot of positive back and forth between myself and the editor on first clarifying what it means to “settle.” Initially, we didn’t see eye to eye. In all honesty, I’m still not sure we see eye to eye (I re-drafted the original). Such is the nature of writing on subjective subjects. While the editor had hoped I would focus more on why men actually settle, I thought it equally important to address the fact that settling is subjective. In other words, outside observers might believe you “settled,” but if you disagree, then did you really settle? In my opinion, as with beauty, “settling” is in the eye of the beholder.

Further, although I didn’t specifically address this in the post, I believe we often confuse the idealistic purpose of marriage with the reality of marriage. Marriage, in itself, is not a declaration of Love. It can be. It’s possible it should be, but the fact of the matter is it is not. Marriage, in this country, is a legal declaration that entitles one to a number of benefits and protections that have absolutely nothing to do with Love. Contrary to what many would have you believe when arguing about why marriage is the best institution on Earth, Love and marriage are interrelated, but they are not mutually exclusive. Whatever your views on the limits of marriage – whether it is exclusive to men and women or beyond – this is why many seek the legal protections afforded by marriage, which is different than the idea that marriage is the only means of demonstrating your Love for one another.

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Moreover, it seems there is a popular sentiment that there are a number of great women for men to marry – and to choose anything but the best from this vast population of awesome single women may be viewed as settling. I’m not sure I agree or disagree. As I’ve written about before, the same is not true for women’s views on the available population of husband material, which many view as insufficient. I do agree there are a number of great women in the world, but this is not the same as saying there are a number of great potential wives. A good woman does not guarantee she’ll be a good wife, just as a good man doesn’t guarantee he’ll make a good husband. I will expand on that topic another day. For today, below is an excerpt from this week’s post for MadameNoire:

Why Do Men Settle?

At some point in life, in theory, you have to make a choice that you only want to be with your wife in spite of and despite of the fact that there are other women in the world you will be attracted to before you die. To me, commitment is more about honoring vows to one woman and less about constantly reevaluating whether I “settled” to be with her.

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What Qualities Do Men Settle On?

I should clear something up: men don’t search for the same qualities in a potential wife as women search for in a potential husband. In other words, the qualities a woman desires in a potential husband are not the same qualities a man desires in a potential wife. They might even be the exact opposite (e.g. preferring a taller man vs. a shorter woman).

I have my theories on what women look for in a potential husband, but since I’m not a woman and I don’t feel like arguing about how little I know about women (and I assure you it is very little), I’m going to focus on what men look for in a potential wife. I can’t speak for all men, but I can speak for most men, because I am a man, I know men, and unlike when dealing with a woman in which they have an interest, these men have no reason to tell me what they think I want to hear as opposed to simply answering the question.

When I asked around, most men seemed to desire a wife that …read more.

Do you think men settle as often or more often than women? What makes you believe these men settled and why do you think they did so in the first place? Do you feel like you settled in a past or current relationship? What made you feel like you settled or had no choice but to settle?