It's not uncommon for people to approach me and ask questions regarding all aspects of family law; as a lawyer you expect it; however, a lot of folks want to know my opinion about what makes a marriage or relationship work. I do not purport to be a relationship expert, but I have been around a lot couples planning marriages, thinking about divorce or searching options such as counseling to help mend a broken relationship; to that end, I have noticed a few commonalities over the years that warrant notice, in the hopes of helping those before the trouble begins. One of the most frequently asked questions is, "How do you know if the person you are with is the right one?" Unfortunately no one ever knows for sure, life gives us no guarantees; but one characteristic of the relationship should be evident, and that is, the person you are with makes you a better person than the person you are alone. Your significant other should always make you a better version of you no questions asked. This does not mean that they proactively take measures to change you in any way, it simply means the mutual love, respect and understanding that the two shares, generates happiness; and it is within that happiness that you become a better person all around. I meet so many that have been unhappy for so long, they are depressed, tired, stressed, and some have even gone to the great lengths of seeking medications such as anti-anxiety or anti-depressants to cope. If your significant makes you question your worth or value; or you find yourself being overcome with sadness, loneliness or hopelessness, it is time to move on. That person is not for you! So before you say "I do", take a long hard look at the relationship, and examine who you have become after your significant other has come into your life, are you a better version of yourself and is your partner a better version of him or herself? If you can honestly answer that in the affirmative, the two of you are off to a great start, and can look forward to many happy years together, with the understanding that marriages are built and maintained over time. It is always a work in progress.