Thought Catalog

19 Things You Should Do Before You Get Married

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1. Ask yourself why. Why this person, why right now? Don’t get married because there’s a child on the way or because it makes sense financially or because all of your friends are wifed up and you’re the last man standing — it sounds stupid and obvious, but people hastily marry for the wrong reasons ALL. THE. TIME. And even though divorce appears to be really commonplace, it’s not a walk in the park and it’s definitely not free.

2. Love your body. While it’s true that the media would often convince us that we’ll only feel beautiful in the arms of someone who loves and approves of us physically, when we’re alone in front of an unforgiving mirror, the only thoughts we’re left with are our own. Going into any relationship feeling ugly, unlovable, and as though you should be ashamed of the way you look is a recipe for disaster. If you think you’re not worthy or capable of being touched and admired, even if someone disagrees with you, it’s going to be difficult to feel their love through all the layers of self-loathing. Though no one wakes up one day and goes, “Oh hell yeah I don’t know what I was thinking, I’m f-cking gorgeous,” it wouldn’t hurt to work on becoming happy with your body and finding some balance every day.

3. Accomplish something just for you. It could be graduating from school, starting a challenging job, or just facing a fear you need to prove you can overcome. Frankly, the obstacles and goal posts we have scattered throughout our lives come in all shapes and sizes, and only you should be concerned with the parameters you set for success and accomplishment. But if we don’t do things to make ourselves happy and feel as though we accomplished something, we can easily become complacent, or feel that we shouldn’t even try, because we’ll never reach our goals. The longer we go without achieving something because we want to, the harder it will become to start up that hill.

4. Tell everyone you will never get married. There’s nothing like meeting the right person who will transform you from a commitment-phobe into someone who is willing to tether themselves to someone else for an eternity. (Or until you get divorced, whichever comes first.)

5. Talk about the boring details. Debt. Health. Whether or not the two of you have the same ideas about where to live or if kids are on the table. You don’t want to enter into a legal contract with someone without knowing all of the facts.

6. Live with someone you’re in a relationship with. If it’s the one you eventually marry, fine. The point is that living together changes things.

7. Learn from the time you dated someone and treated them like crap. Everyone has that one relationship where they’re not particularly proud of the way they behaved. They took someone for granted, they picked fights, and acted generally like a jerk. While such behavior is certainly not commendable, you learn a lot about yourself through treating someone badly. Mainly, you realize who you don’t want to be and what kind of relationship you don’t want to have, which makes you more prepared for something like marriage. You can’t ever go back to the way you acted because it made you hate yourself. Your future husband/wife will feel relieved that you got this relationship out of your system.

8. Have a one night stand. Sleep with a stranger just to see if you can do it, just to see if you can feel okay afterwards. After you’re married, you won’t get to do anything, besides the one penis/vagina you’ve committed yourself to, so you might as well sow some wild oats beforehand.

9. Meet the people who raised your potential future husband/ wife. Whether you like their family or not, you’ll be able to pick up on red flags that wouldn’t have come to light otherwise. The issues someone has with their family may not make or break a relationship, but you don’t really know someone until you watch them lose it and go apeshit on their parents at Thanksgiving dinner.

10. Live with a member of your preferred gender identity who you’re not dating. This is the best way to adjust your expectations of who is responsible for what in a household.

11. Get your heart broken. Whether from losing a good friend, having a fight you know you were wrong in, or seeing a love you were sure was forever end prematurely — we all need to know what it feels like to be broken. Perhaps the most essential thing about heartbreak is coming out on the other side and realizing that, no matter how badly you are hurting in the moment, it’s going to pass and you are going to be happy again. Few things manage to put future fights, anger, and sadness into perspective than getting over a real heartbreak at least once.

12. Finish college. Because you’re way too young to be married that early.

13. Learn how to cook, regardless of gender. One of the best parts of stability is the fact that you DON’T have to go out as much anymore. One of the best things you can do to prepare for a simpler lifestyle is to figure out how live more simply.

14. Have an adventure with your friends. One thing that’s noticeable about wonderful romantic relationships is that they can often obscure — and even make us forget — the wonderful relationships we have with our friends. Though these friendships should by no means diminish when we’re married, it’s important to take time to appreciate the love you have with your friends, while it’s front-and-center in your life. Life can take us in many directions — and so can marriage and children — so all the more reason to have the adventures with friends you’ll remember all your life. Go on a road trip, take a vacation, get into way too much trouble in your hometown. Do stuff that reminds you that you’re young, and free, and can afford to make a few mistakes.

15. Live alone/ be alone. People can go their entire lives skipping from relationship to relationship because they’re afraid of being alone. Being alone isn’t always a walk on the beach, but it’s important to develop the capacity to rely on yourself for happiness before you pass off so much of that weight to another human being.

16. Fall in love with a friend. What is this strange idea that only the people you have sex with/ marry are the people you are supposed to fall head-over-heels in love with? What a sad life we would all be living if we were incapable of loving someone just for long car rides, laughing at stupid TV shows, and staying up late eating junk food and drinking straight from the bottle. Take the time to experience love in all the forms that you routinely mistake for being “boring old friendship.”

17. Be good to your parents. Few things in life will be more exciting for your parents than seeing you find someone and get married, likely starting a family of your own, and certainly bringing a new family into theirs. Why would we ever want to taint that with a relationship that’s strained, disrespectful, and full of alternating miscommunication and silence? Our parents deserve to be loved, to be enjoyed for the people they are (not just some abstract idea of being punished for things), and most of all, included in our lives. The beauty of bringing two families together is very much in the love for your own being grown and shared into the love of the whole new family unit. Shouldn’t we be sharing as much of that as possible?

18. Move out of your parents’ house. Learn how to pay bills, manage your money, and live responsibly. The least you can do before moving in with someone FOR ETERNITY is get some exposure about what it’s actually like to take care of yourself.

19. Figure yourself out. Too often people rush into committed monogamy for all the wrong reasons. “Figuring yourself out” is cliche, but that doesn’t mean you can’t work on yourself and prune your crutches, delusions, and self-destructive tendencies. It’s a life-long process, but at least, before you marry, try and have a firm grip on who you are and what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, rather than rushing headlong and blind into an unknown situation. TC mark

image – Patrick Hoesly

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    • http://twitter.com/alisonwisneski alisonwisneski (@alisonwisneski)

      I love this. As a woman who almost married a man before realizing I was a lesbian, I appreciate this. Had I not felt something was wrong and gotten out of it, I may not have come to the right conclusions for myself. Doing it on my own time was the smartest decision ever.

    • mm

      happy to say i’ve done all these and am so looking forward to marrying my best friend next year.

    • will hc

      IIIIIII Will get married when I want. I love my wittle baby. She’s my wittle wuvvy. Age is nothing but a silly little number…but i guesss numbers can be cute so if my wuvvy was a silly little number she’d be….3! because thats the silliest! oohhh boy, silly little 3! evens cant be silly, and 5 and 7 and 9 look so angry ahhhh!! and 1, well 1 is too cool….but 3… :)…silly and cute just like my wuvvy. Marriage can’t come soon enough!

      <3

      • taylor

        Um… what?

      • Kate

        Are you mentally well?

    • Jordan

      Why should I have a one night stand before marriage? Is the best reason is ‘why not’? Because that sounds like a recipe for disaster to me.

      • Syd

        ^seconded!

      • http://twitter.com/rockyvy Rocky Vy (Khamken) (@rockyvy)

        To see if you actually enjoy the thrill of a one-night stand. If you really do, then maybe marriage isn’t the right thing for you, because GUESS WHAT, you can’t do that anymore!

        • Allie

          Even if you do love the thrill of a one-night-stand, it’s not a great idea to make a lifestyle out of them. There are many reasons to know who you’re sleeping with before you sleep with them, but the obvious ones are pregnancy, disease, and the possibility that your new fling is crazy or surrounded by craziness.

      • larooolie

        This made me think some of these are for singles and some for ppl in relationships..I think its have a one night stand if your single or in an open relationship.. lol

        • larooolie

          ..For example 15. Live alone/ be alone. ..That doesnt mean break up with someone and go be alone it just means that ideally at one point before you meet the right person for marrige you should have had some time just for yourself..yea..this blogg is a little annoying like that lol

      • D L

        To understand first hand that sex =/= love, love =/= sex. To differentiate the physical and the emotional and to understand and realise just how beautiful sex with someone you love as compared to someone you’re simply attracted to is.

      • Jan

        A one night stand could open a can of worms you don’t really want to have for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!! ie. a baby, sexually transmitted diseases especially incurable and deadly ones! Think about it!!

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    • http://www.facebook.com/angel.m.le Angel Le

      Having a one night stand would ruin all your chances of getting married. Most people don’t like being cheated on. Stupid advice.

      • Brandon Scott Gorrell

        having a one night stand ≠ cheating on someone. if it does, you’re doing it wrong.

      • http://twitter.com/rockyvy Rocky Vy (Khamken) (@rockyvy)

        all of these things are things you should do before getting married, not necessarily while in a relationship before getting married.

        • Jackie

          Agreed

    • Alli

      I agree with a lot of it but the having a one night stand thing was stupid in my opinion. Maybe I don’t want to have random sex with a total stranger. Maybe to me, the best type of sex is meaningful with someone I love and it doesn’t matter if it’s that one penis my entire life.

    • niktheobserver

      Reblogged this on What camera?.

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    • Jessica

      Im not taking advice from a column that advises woman to have a one night stand just to see if you can? I think you should only have sex with someone you love. This article is bullsh*t.

    • http://www.shouldigetmarried.net Karyn Wisniewski

      Definitely some great points here. The divorce rate is so high, because SO many people rush into marriage for the wrong reasons. (Friends are all getting married, I’m getting too old, we already have a kid, etc) and it can’t last if you’ve not at least addressed the majority of these points.

    • orsidigital

      sigh… as always good points mixed in with very bad. Use basic morality to eliminate the narcissistic items, like 2,4,6, and 8. 10 gets the “most PC verbage on the net” Award. How about praying about marriage? How about volunteering to help the poor for even 4 hours a week? Those 2 things will help round out one’s vision; maturity level will rise and better questions and answers will become apparent.

    • kassilea

      This article is awful. I am happily married, to the only penis I will ever encounter. No thank you, one night stand, i’ll pass the chance of an STD or pregnancy with someone I don’t even care about. Marriage is about being together, every step of the way. Guess what? I’m finishing college..WHILE BEING MARRIED. And love every minute of the support. Living together before marriage does not change anything, it just gives the idea of “Oh, let’s have sex, pay bills, and see if it’s worth it for a few years, then…we might get married.” Heaven forbid if I would like to get married before the age of 35.

      • JK

        You literally just referred to your husband as a penis.

      • http://twitter.com/Tonks07 Mandy (@Tonks07)

        “Heaven forbid if I would like to get married before the age of 35.” Why the rush? Or really, why the random cut off date? Not like you suddenly become unmarriable the day you turn 35. Women no longer become crazy old maids that relatives lock in the attic because you couldn’t find a husband. :/

        Also, I would definitely argue you that Living together DOES change things. What if that person you are marrying has strange home life habits that bother you? What if you are a neat freak and they are a slob? I think living together is a great way to make sure you can tolerate each other for long periods and make sure you can work out any issues. Marriage is suppose to be forever yes? Why rush into marriage then? Get engaged, live together. Make sure you can last and deal with each other’s quirks.

    • hariman

      Some of this advice is HORRIBLE.

      #8 What happened to only sleeping with the person you love? Sex is the single most intimate act two people can engage in, and you’re treating it like something to be done for sport “Just to see if you can.”

      #6 Couples who live together before they marry are more likely to break up than couples who move in together after they marry. If you’re living together without the commitment of marriage, you’re more likely to choose to leave because there is no marital commitment to stay together.

      #12 You. Are. A. Hack. “Too young to marry” is a load of BS. If you’re in love with someone and willing to make a lifelong commitment to each other, it doesn’t matter if you’re 17 or 79. The key is that you have to be sure of the marriage and not run into it like children. Plus, lots of parents finished college after marriage and either then had children, or went through college while their child was still young.

      #4 Seriously? “If I meet the right person.” isn’t a good enough answer to “Will you ever get married?” I have to deny that I’m even considering the option of marriage and wait for someone to change my mind?

      #14 This shouldn’t be a prerequisite to marriage. Having some fun in life should be something that everyone seeks out, AND THAT INCLUDES FUN WITH YOUR SPOUSE AND KIDS. Adventures and fun don’t stop with marriage, you just get new and different adventures!

      • K

        Sex is the most intimate act two people can engage in, in your opinion. Everyone’s different dude!

      • K

        The fact you stated for #6 is very misleading. The reason not as many get married is because people co-habit. Some people are too poor to get married, so they just live together and act like a married couple. Another reason is the large percentage of religious people who are not allowed to live together before marriage. A large chunk of those religious people also do not believe in divorce, and hence stay together instead of breaking up.

        Living together before being married is an extremely wise idea. There is really not much difference between living together and being married besides the title. It’s much better to break up before you get married because you decide you can’t live with them, then get divorced later with the potential to destroy your children’s concept of family.

        • K

          p.s. I’m a different K, and this information comes from a sociology course on marriage and family.

    • ralph

      Think adultry is ok? Then be prepared to explain that to our father in heaven when you pass away. You will have that great moment to try and justify what you have done and hope for forgiveness.

    • Sarah

      The comments were so good until the Christians showed up

    • Jamie Dora

      I’ve done these things by 28. Must admit I get a bit sad and jealous seeing my friends get married when I’m not but it’s worth it to wait for the right one. I’m proud of what I accomplished and worked hard doing so. Guess I’m a late bloomer in life. Next up is marriage and kids! Bring it on!

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