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Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough Hardcover – February 4, 2010

287 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gottlieb, 37, made the decision to become a single parent after years of searching for Mr. Right. Four years later, when she still hadn’t found him, she decided to take a good look at her dating habits—and the dating habits of women around her—to see if the problem is not a dearth of good men but rather women’s expectations of them. Gottlieb finds that women want it all—and often aren’t willing to compromise on their list of traits their ideal mate must have. In their twenties, many women leave good relationships based on an elusive feeling that they could find something more with someone else, and they regret it down the road when their choices dwindle. It’s not that women aren’t willing to settle; it’s that many refuse to recognize that their vision of the perfect man doesn’t match reality. With the help of dating coach Evan Marc Katz, Gottlieb reconsidered her own standards in the hope of finding happiness. Gottlieb’s honest, astute analysis will resonate with many women and make them uneasy as they recognize themselves in her experiences and those of the women she interviews. Gottlieb makes a strong case in this groundbreaking work. --Kristine Huntley


"Marry Him is a frank and funny read, weaving real people's stories with Gottlieb's own experiences, and containing sharp examinations of how society and culture-everything from When Harry Met Sally to The Bachelor-come into play when modern women look for love."
-The New York Observer

"A provocative pop culture treatise... she encourages us to think through our own beliefs and unexamined assumptions."
-The Chicago Tribune

"A funny cautionary tale of one woman's journey through the modern landscape of dating."
-Library Journal

"A well-conceived and convincing argument on how to find a more realistic Mr. Right. If you've ever sought your own Prince Charming, your love life will never be the same again. And that's a good thing."
-Christian Science Monitor

"A sensible plea to discard the toxic fantasy of romantic comedies and think realistically about what makes a solid partnership."

"This impeccably researched tome is mandatory reading."
-The Huffington Post

"Funny and relatable... anything but antiromance."
-People magazine

"This is the smartest relationship book I've read in years."

"The buzz surrounding Lori Gottlieb's newest book, Marry Him, is well- deserved... She writes with honesty and hope, and there are many people who will benefit from reading this book."
-The Examiner

"An unexpected delight. Honest and darkly comic... the truth can be liberating."
-The New York Times

"Marry Him is surprisingly, unnervingly convincing."
-O, The Oprah Magazine

"In business, 'good enough' is often 'very good'. So why should we expect-and demand-perfection in dating and marriage?"
-Forbes Woman

"The buzz surrounding Lori Gottlieb's newest book, Marry Him, is well- deserved...She writes with honesty and hope, and there are many people who will benefit from reading this book."
-The Examiner

"I wish I could round up every single woman I know and assign this book for discussion. Gottlieb helps women see how our cultural or private fantasies build up so many expectations that they destroy the possibility of real love and, eventually, marriage. Marry Him is a big fat lesson in how not to get in your own way. Any woman who wants to find true love and hasn't been able to should read this book."
-Pepper Schwartz, Ph.D., relationship expert at

"What Gottlieb is saying isn't subversive--it's smart. A thoroughly entertaining reality check, it will make single women laugh and squirm, and married people appreciate their spouses even more."
-Diablo Cody, Academy Award-winning Screenwriter of Juno

"Finally, here's a cautionary tale for anyone wondering why she hasn't found Mr. Right--with a hopeful message about the Mr. Right Nows, the Mr. Close Enoughs, and even the Mr. What the F*#%s."
-Jill Soloway, writer and executive producer for Six Feet Under

"Engaging, hilarious, brutally honest and eye-opening! Marry Him is an encouraging story about finding love by getting real."
-Rachel Greenwald, New York Times bestselling author of Find a HUsband After 35

"This is a daring and wise book. Gottlieb tells it like it is: In our modern world of excuses, too many of us have unrealistic expectations about men and love, and even more unrealistic views of ourselves. Women (and men) should take Gottlieb's message to heart: 'Look for reasons to say yes.' It could change your life."
-Helen Fisher, Ph.D., Rutgers University and author of Why Him? Why Her?

"I have been very happily married for many years, and if my daughters ever ask me for advice about potential spouses, I plan to pass off a lot of what's in this book as my own sage wisdom."
-Kurt Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of Heyday and host of public radio's Studio 360

"Marry Him shows women how to find true happiness when seeking love--by giving them a new way to look at the world. Gottlieb manages to be hilarious yet thought-provoking, light-hearted yet profound on the questions of: Why do we fall in love? What qualities really matter in a marriage? For what reasons do we make the decisions that affect our whole lives? Like provocative realationship classics such as The Rules and He's Just Not That Into You, Marry Him will set people talking for years."
-Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project

"Lori Gottlieb's smart, insightful, witty observations gleaned on her own unusual romantic path signal and important new voice in single-girl lit. The Rules turned single women needy, He's Just Not That Into You made them depresed, and Marry Him finally sets them free, preaching that in the long run, 'good enough' might be better than great."
-Amy Sohn, author of Prospect Park West

"Marry Him is a treasure. A must-read on getting the male and female brain together in almost perfect harmony.'
-Louann Brizendine, New York Times bestselling author of The Female Brain and the upcoming The Male Brain

"By telling you to read Lori Gottlieb's incisive and insightful book, I hope I can make up for all the unrealistic romantic propaganda I had a hand in spreading as a former editor at a glossy women's magazine. For anyone who is single but looking, the surprising truths in Marry Him go against just about everything we've been brought up to believe about dating and marriage."
-Megan McCafferty, New York Times bestselling author of the Jessica Darling series

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Dutton; English Language edition (February 4, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0525951512
  • ISBN-13: 978-0525951513
  • Product Dimensions: 10 x 6.5 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (287 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #617,963 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Lori Gottlieb is a psychotherapist and New York Times bestselling author of four books, most recently Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, a surprising look at what really matters for romantic happiness. A contributing editor for The Atlantic, Lori has also written for The New York Times, Time, People, Elle and Slate and has appeared on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The Early Show, CNN, Entertainment Tonight, MSNBC, Oprah Radio, and NPR's "Talk of the Nation." Her writing explores the intersection of psychology and culture, ranging from her Atlantic cover, "How to Land Your Kid in Therapy: Why the Obsession with our Kids' Happiness May be Dooming Them to Unhappy Adulthoods" to her New York Times Magazine cover, "Does a More Equal Marriage Mean Less Sex?" She also provides relationship and parenting consultations nationwide. Visit and

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

242 of 254 people found the following review helpful By Mollycoddle252 on February 7, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After reading several singles books that encouraged me to work on myself, ask friends why things weren't working out for me, and to keep my standards high, I decided to give this one a chance. Thank god I did. It turns out just one thing is separating me from finding a supportive, loving partner -- my unrealistic sense of entitlement. I was raised with a mother who told me I was beautiful and only deserved the most textbook Mr. Right. So for most of my dating life, I've discarded dozens of guys for not immediately making me go all starry eyed.

Gottlieb doesn't encourage us to discount the importance of attraction or connection. Her book just teaches us to remember in our fast-paced world that sometimes both of those things can grow or cultivate over time rather than a half hour cup of coffee. Many of us settle for the instant pleasure of a Hostess cupcake rather than waiting for a seven-course meal. In a society that touts instant gratification, she reminds us to let things marinate and bloom into something we would have otherwise missed. Ultimately, it's not a book that argues for settling as much as accepting men's humanity and flaws. And really, don't we hope they'd do the same for us? And doesn't that sort of acceptance lead to a deeper, longer lasting love?

Through extensive research and insight (and yes, her own mistakes), Gottlieb takes the reader through a cognitive retraining of sorts. She debunks the double standard women hold toward men when it comes to expectations and forces us to confront, again, our sense of entitlement. The exercise is both confidence building and reassuring. It's not too late for me. It's not too late for any of us.

I discussed the book with a friend who's getting married in May.
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168 of 181 people found the following review helpful By M.D. Holley on March 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Aside from being such an entertaining read, this book just killed any lingering doubts I had about marrying my fiance. I'm 30, and I'm engaged to a wonderful 38-year-old accountant who happens to be quite boring. He also comes with a bit of baggage -- a 4-year-old son from a previous relationship (not marriage). However he and his ex have joint custody, so we do get decent couple time and he doesn't pay child support, plus I have a great relationship with his son.

Anyway, this book made me realize how close I was to making a huge mistake. My guy meets all of my needs (we share similar values, he's financially responsible, he's a good father, and he doesn't have a problem with me engaging in activities I enjoy even if he's not necessarily interested in doing them with me) and many of my wants (he's tall and athletic, we have amazing physical chemistry, he's affectionate, he never stonewalls during an argument, he's a good cook, and he's way better than me when it comes to cleaning the house !)

But for the longest time I doubted whether it would work out because I didn't feel like he's intellectually curious enough. I'm a writer, and I read everything I can get my hands on just for the sake of learning new things. My fiance is rarely interested in learning about anything that doesn't have a practical application. He's also a homebody, while I prefer to be out there doing things. He's just a quiet guy with simple needs. But whenever we're together, I always feel a sense of calm, peace, and comfort, even if it's just sitting side-by-side on on the couch while he's watching a basketball game and I'm reading a book.
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38 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Mona on November 3, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am convinced that this book was written JUST FOR ME. Seriously. What a wake up call!

At the ripe old age of 32 and after ending a 7 year relationship with a guy who just didn't ever want to get married and have kids, I met my dream guy. The new guy was just too good to be true. He was successful, responsible, handsome, spoke 4 languages fluently, world traveled, brilliant, kind hearted, affectionate, classy, generous, gave me back massages after sex, always called when he said he would, was punctual to every date, and was FANTASTIC between the sheets. His hobbies were rock climbing, photography, motorcycle riding, and hiking. He'd never been married and didn't have any kids. My parents LOVED him. Most importantly, he wanted to marry me and have kids with me. He was even willing to relocate to live in whatever city I wanted to settle in. What a catch, right?

And do you know what? I almost blew it. Why? Because he had a dorky sounding laugh and he told me he loved me too often. That's right. I almost dumped him because he had a dorky sounding laugh and for loving me.

Thank God for this book. It was the refreshing slap in the face I desperately needed.

The good news is, I didn't dump him and I couldn't be happier.
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173 of 201 people found the following review helpful By Sheryl on April 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the first book review I have ever written. But I felt compelled to offer my appraisal of this book, as I am certain that there will be many women out there, like myself, with whom its message will not resonate. I will preface by stating that I am 35 years old, never married, and have no children. I know from experience that there is contentment to be found in single life. That being said, I would still rather share my life with a partner, in a happy marriage. So I am not here to rail either single life or marriage because either may be filled with joy or discontentment. However, I will caution readers that the author makes a lot of generalizations as to why single women are single. She also paints marriage with one broad stroke of the brush, without much reference to the high divorce rate or unhappy marital situations, due to rushing into matrimony with the wrong guys, for the wrong reasons.

If you look back on your past relationships and see a pattern, where you have passed up one great guy after another, whilst continuously looking for somebody "better", then perhaps you can garner some wisdom from this book. If you have a history of dumping guys for petty, superficial reasons, then perhaps this is the book for you. The implication is that women are too picky, whereas men are more accepting. This has not been my experience. I have never liked playing the field and have always wanted to settle down. But sometimes there are good reasons to end relationships. And sometimes it's the guy who's being petty and superficial. I've been dumped because I didn't like a video game or laugh at a guy's favorite comedian. So it is unfair to assume that it is always the woman who is being too picky or unreasonable. It is oftentimes the man.
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