Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I am newly engaged to a wonderful guy that I am so excited to marry. When we were dating, I noticed some things about him that bothered me, but they were small habits (and had no bearing on his character) and so I chose to ignore them. Recently, some family members have pointed out some of those things about him and suddenly they seem even more noticeable and bother me more. Logically, I know that they really don’t matter, but now I think about them whenever we are with other people and wonder if they are noticing them as well. I want to marry him, and I feel petty and silly being so hyper-focused on a few unusual quirks. How do I make myself stop?


Significant Insignificancies


Dear Significant,

Baking to me always feels like an accomplishment. You need to focus on the details, follow a recipe with precision, and keep a sharp eye on baking time. So, while I love having a cake cooling on the counter, the actual baking process can leave me feeling like Martha UnStewart. Last week, marble cake was on the menu (big hit, Martha would be semi-impressed) and while I got the recipe right, I didn’t properly grease my bundt pan. (I see all you bakers rolling your eyes – I know, rookie mistake.) Unaware, I took my gorgeous masterpiece out of the oven astounded by my blue-ribbon baking prowess. I let it cool for a bit and then turned it over onto a perfect cake platter – and nada. The cake was stuck. I used my superior knife skills (ok basic) to ease the cake out and still no dice. So, I tapped the pan, I talked to the pan, and I begged the pan, and finally the cake landed on its platter. The cake was 99% intact (80%) and relieved, I covered one crack with some icing, one crack faced the wall, and one crack showed a bit, leaving me satisfied overall. The cake got a few raised eyebrows, but no one refused a slice and most significantly – it was delicious.


Stressed Backwards…

Congratulations on your engagement! Being engaged can be an incredibly exciting time, with hints of stress and worry as well. You want to make sure that you made the right decision, and it is only natural to crave the approval of our family and friends. When people we care about make even a small comment about a silly habit that we have noticed as well, it can swell from insignificant quirk to something that is suddenly a source of embarrassment. These are small things – an eating habit, a repeated use of a word, a funny laugh, or style choice. While we know that they have no bearing on someone’s character, they can cause friction and uncertainty as you prepare to walk down the aisle.


Is Spelled Desserts…

Small habits, quirks, and insignificant practices should have no bearing on your decision now that you know that you match so perfectly in character, hashkafa, chemistry, and personality. This doesn’t mean that they won’t bother you. We all do things that are unique to our own makeup and disposition, making us all perfectly imperfect. Therefore, I believe that the way to peace of mind will always be a mixture of determination and resolve. Remember, that you will be very happy with one another because you made this decision with clarity and you CAN continue to do so.


C.A.N – Correct, Appreciate, Navigate

Something easily changed for your significant other’s benefit can be corrected. Perhaps this is as simple as an eating habit, or a clothing choice that can be corrected with a smile and care. Something that is simply a part of their nature should be appreciated. Appreciating a quirk as a part of our spouse’s makeup removes its significance and offers acceptance. Finally, you can navigate a habit that bothers you but cannot be easily remedied. Dealing with just a tiny something in order to marry your precious zivug will allow you to always navigate back to what is most important – perfectly imperfect people who together offer the perfect recipe for life and love. Take that Martha.


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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at [email protected] to schedule a phone session.