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The Right One
Mom with a View

The Right One

What can I do to make myself the best spouse?


During dating it has become popular to encourage singles to stop asking "Is he or she the right one for me?" and to ask instead "Am I best the one for him or her?" And "What can I do to make myself an ideal mate? What kind of work on my character does this involve?"

For people who take this seriously, real transformation can occur. And certainly their prospects for finding a healthy partner and having a successful marriage are much brighter.

Unfortunately even for those who actually heed this advice it usually stops at the chupah. Mission accomplished. Complacency and expectations of eternal bliss settles in.

Yet this is precisely the time when this attitude is even more crucial. Once married, it's even more important to focus on being the right person. The easiest -- and least effective -- course is to deflect responsibility. "If only my wife would read more books on marriage…" "If only my husband would take more classes…"

The wise and ultimately more productive strategy is to resist blaming our spouses and point the finger back at ourselves. "Am I being the best mate I can be?" "What does he need from me now that he is not getting?" "How could I be more supportive of her?"

We tend to assume that we are the relationship expert and our spouses weak students at best. But if we were really experts we would spend less time patting ourselves on the back and more time thinking of ways to help our partners.

I take that back. If we were really experts, we'd spend more time being grateful for our spouses and less time being frustrated with them.

We'd spend more time cataloging our faults and less time listing theirs. We'd spend more time trying to change ourselves and less time in an effort to help them change. And we'd recognize along the way that, what do you know, that's what our marriages needed all along.

It's a constant struggle to "become the right one". And this growth doesn't end at the chupah; that's when it truly begins.

July 26, 2008

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Visitor Comments: 4

(4) C. Siegel, August 1, 2008 5:39 AM

It's a Winning Point of View

Taking responsibility for yourself beats laying the blame on others--especially when it comes to a spouse. Besides which, one can take courses on relationships, read books on marriage, and still remain absolutely clueless. Be vigilant in monitoring your own character, because that's the only one over which you really have control.

(3) ruth housman, July 29, 2008 5:53 PM

drawing battle lines

I do agree. I think it's very important to think about what we each contribute to a marriage and how we do it differently but it makes for a whole. Since we are all of us, different, and diversity is the key to life itself, I often stop when I am critical and ask myself, "Is this battle worth it?" Sometimes it is a good idea to swallow some differences and if there's something truly immense, well save the time for this, and try to amicably come to a solution. The notion of picking one's battles is so vital to all good relationships.

(2) Anonymous, July 29, 2008 2:18 PM

Thank you

Thank you for this article that came at a time of my marriage where i have had way to many complaints for my wonderful loving husband, due to external stress in our life (financial, a new move etc)
Thanks once again

(1) James Christy, July 28, 2008 12:19 PM

I Agree

I have to agree with everything you wrote. My wife and I came to our Jewish roots well into our 20 year marriage. We have practiced your advice for several years. Our marriage has growen because of it.

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