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.