A sock on the floor. Stubble in the sink. Sometimes, the tiniest thing can put a bride in a tailspin. Because during your engagement, they're not just socks and stubble; they're socks and stubble "for the rest of my life." During your engagement, you're uncovering subtle (and not-so-subtle) differences between you and your future husband, and envisioning living with them, well, forever.
Your fiancé, for example, likes to jam-pack his weekends with events and friends; you like puttering around the apartment. He'd love sex daily; you, perhaps not so much. He needs major decompression time after work; you need to debrief your day before removing your coat. He likes crunchy peanut butter; you like creamy.
To calm their worries about the differences, brides often try to change their fiancés by nitpicking, criticizing, and wearing him down. In the end, he'll feel disrespected, and eventually, his true self will triumph. (Think about it: How would you respond if he tried to mold you?)
Instead of freaking out about your differences, celebrate them. If he plays video games right after work, use that as your "me" time. Then, when you reconvene with your fiancé, you'll both be genuinely ready to be together and in a happier state.
If he's a homebody and you're a social butterfly, become aware of the ways your quiet home life makes you feel calmer and more grounded. If he leaves socks on the floor, don't just resentfully pick them up and wait for him to thank you. Speak up about your feelings and start the dialogue to create ground rules about how you both want to live together.
These differences between you aren't going away; figuring out how your day-to-day is enhanced by them will make them not just annoying, but meaningful. Ask yourself: What newness do we bring into each other's lives? Who knows? In time, you may even enjoy the texture of crunchy peanut butter once in a while.
Allison Moir-Smith, MA, is the author of Emotionally Engaged: A Bride's Guide to Surviving the '"Happiest'" Time of Her Life* and has been helping brides feel happier, calmer and better prepared for marriage since 2002. She is a bridal counselor, an expert in engagement anxiety and cold feet, and the founder of *Emotionally Engaged Counseling for Brides.