My (frum) friend in NY advised me to look beyond the step (madrega) that one is on, “you need not be on the same step as your beshert”. It was during a discussion on my challenge to find a frum woman in my geography, although my overall sense of the discussion was that he was definitely not advising me to compromise, nor to constrain my search. The Rebbe appears more firm and tends to agree with other Rabbi’s I’ve spoken to.
His words suggest that one must not assume that someone else will change for them. He explains “It is understandable that when a person promises to commit himself fully to Torah and mitzvos in his daily life at some future date, this promise can be valid only if he knows from experience what such a promise entails. Since such a commitment may entail a radical change in his way of life, coming after years of living according to a fixed pattern, he cannot – however well-meaning he may be – have a realistic idea as to whether or not he would be able to carry it out. Only after he actually puts himself to the test for a substantial period of time will he be qualified to decide whether or not he can accept upon himself such a commitment for the rest of his life. Clearly, when it comes to marriage, this should not be tied in with any expectation to educate, or re-educate, the would-be partner – especially where such education would be required at almost every step.”
I feel sufficiently observant (and educated) to meet the needs of any frum woman, although I have a great deal to learn I would love to learn from my wife.
Either way I recommend the web version of the Rebbes “Eternal Joy – Volume 1, A Guide To Shidduchim & Marriage” – this page in Chapter Twelve: Whom to Decide Upon – Whom Not to Decide Upon