A strange column, but in the end, an eminently reasonable perspective:
I think we should all start out hoping for the best, but keep in mind that hope can be a terrible liar. If the best doesn’t show up, we should “settle”— as St. Paul said, it is better to marry than to burn — and then make the best we can of it. Love, like other kinds of happiness, has a way of showing up when you least expect it, as a by-product of something else you are doing. If that something else is the building of a family and the raising of children with someone you have settled for, take the deal: you won’t find many better ones.
I think it’s a pity that no one has ever done an empirical, scientific study tracking the long-term results of those who insist on pursuing the time-tested romantic ideal of True Love versus those who “settle” for mere compatibility. I strongly suspect that it’s the latter group whose relationships not only have the greater success over time, but are happier as well.
One choice is always the negation of a thousand other possibilities. This is what the economists call opportunity cost and it exists no matter what choice you make. To “choose love” is not the same as “choosing to love”, and most human beings are lovable, in some way or another, should one make the choice to give them a chance.