One thing that I've noticed as a relationship writer, is that people often end up giving me a lot of personal experiences the moment they hear what I do. Most of the time, the experiences I hear come from bitter divorcees—and most of those times, they tell me that they regret not doing certain things before they got married.
From what I've seen, there are a bunch of things to do before you get married that tend to be overlooked. When you overlook or cast aside certain things, it can get bad—or even cause resentment.
My advice to anyone looking to marry is to make sure they do the following things before they say "I do."
Get a decent job and be self-sufficient.
It sucks, but it's true. Almost all households today are dual-income homes, and that means that you will need to still be able to put something on the table, financially speaking.
The fact is, getting and keeping a steady job is one of the wisest things to do before you get married. After all, self-reliant people are attractive and being able to stand on your own two feet will dramatically increase your chances of finding a partner.
But, it's not just something that makes you more attractive to your partner, either. Having extra money allows you to afford nicer things together, and also makes sure that you'll stay afloat if your spouse loses his job.
The reason which makes me most adamant about this, though, is that being self-sufficient, even during marriage, allows you to ensure your own safety. If things do not fare well in your marriage, having a job will allow you to leave—and also continue living in a decent way.
By not having a job, you're basically at the mercy of your spouse. That's not a good way to start a marriage, even if you trust they will take care of you.
Sow your wild oats.
This is one of the more controversial things to do before you get married, and I'll be the first to admit that. A lot of people stigmatize sleeping around, and some even consider doing so in the past a dealbreaker.
However, it's absolutely crucial to do this for a number of reasons—regardless of whether you're male, female, or non-binary.
First off, you need to be able to know what you enjoy in bed, before you get married. You don't want to marry a person who's not sexually compatible with you, and by sowing your wild oats, you'll be able to better gauge whether or not you are really compatible for a long-term sex life.
Second, nothing quite plagues people like wondering "What if?" If you don't sleep around, wanting to do so after you're married becomes ten times more tempting. I can't name how many people ended up cheating because they figured out they want sex, and felt like they missed out on their "wild years."
Moreover, it'll also make you realize that cheap sex isn't that great; and that can help you treasure your partner more. Sexual attraction comes and goes with ease; but a healthy relationship is much harder to find.
Have a "Fuck Off Fund."
One of the most important things to do before getting married is saving up money—and not just for the wedding, either. I'm talking, of course, about having a "Fuck Off Fund."
A Fuck Off Fund is a savings account that only you know about, and never touch, even when you are dealing with issues like a car breakdown. This fund is an "emergency escape fund" that allows you to leave a relationship or a job at a moment's notice.
Even if you do not feel like you'd ever need to leave your partner, you still should have this before you get hitched. No one ever goes into marriage thinking they'll divorce, but as stats have shown, around half of all marriages do come to a close.
My personal rule of thumb? Have at least four months' salary in your fund before you get married, and invest it so that it continues to grow. Think of it as an annuity, if you need to.
Clean up your act.
This isn't just one of the best things to do before you get married; this is basically mandatory if you want to attract a good partner. A happy marriage can only happen with two healthy, whole individuals.
So, what does cleaning up your act entail? The following are definitely examples...
- End your Nice Guy Syndrome. Nice Guy Syndrome is not attractive, nor is it healthy. End this before you even try to have a relationship.
- Stop drinking and get healthy. If you have substance abuse issues, this is mandatory. You can't have happy relationship or a happy life when you're in a downward spiral.
- Get your baggage checked. If you've got trauma or have had mental health issues, get them addressed. Get therapy, grab some meds, just get it handled. Otherwise, it can and will leak into your relationship.
Clean up your act, and you'll fare a lot better in marriage.
If you're childfree, get sterilized. If you're not, get on the same page.
Addressing birth control and child-rearing plans are some of the most important things to do before you get married. After all, you don't want to marry someone who doesn't have the same goals as you—and not getting on the same page can mean that your marriage will be doomed before you begin.
Childfree people also need to be particularly careful when it comes to birth control and ensuring your partner realizes kids are not part of the plan. Speaking as someone who lives a childfree lifestyle, getting sterilized as soon as possible is one of the best things you can do, period.
If you want to ensure no kids in your future, get sterilized before you get married. There have been a lot of cases in which childfree people have been "oopsed" by spouses, and this is never acceptable.
Learn to cook and clean.
Adulting is hard, but you can't expect your spouse to do all the housework for you. You don't have to be Martha Stewart, but you should be able to cook for yourself and make a bed.
Travel with friends, or do something similar.
Most people wouldn't count this among mandatory things to do before you get married, but it's still a wise idea. It's a lot harder to do this when you're married, and even harder when all your friends are hitched too.
Traveling is enriching and will always help you create amazing memories. It's also a lot easier to do when you don't have to answer to someone or take someone else's preferences into consideration. So, go for it while you're young and single.
Seriously vet your partner.
Marriage is an investment—a huge one. Just like with any other investment, you should do your due diligence. Due diligence, in this case, tends to be in the form of dating, and looking for hidden red flags.
Remember, when you're married to someone, those tiny problems will become a lot more aggravating. Moreover, getting divorced is a lot harder than getting married, and can have lifelong implications. Ergo, it makes sense to be picky.
A big mistake many people do is marry a partner in hopes that things will improve. Make no mistake about it, if you're not a priority to him now, it won't improve once you have a ring on your finger.
There are many things to do before you get married, but few are as important as making sure you're marrying the right person. Don't skimp on this one.
See your partner angry, or have a legit argument.
You can learn a lot about a person by seeing how they react when they're angry. A wise person told me never to marry someone who you haven't seen angry, and to never marry someone who you haven't seen at their worst.
If you can't have a productive argument with your partner, don't marry them. It'll be a waste of a wedding, and one you'll regret.
Learn who you are.
Last, but not least, on this list of things to do before you get married, you need to learn about yourself. A scary amount of people end up marrying before they even figure themselves out—and that can be incredibly damaging to their personal growth, as well as the marriage that they're in.
By learning who you are as a person, you can learn how to be a better partner. By being a better partner, you're solidifying the relationship you're going to have with your future spouse. And, at the end of the day, isn't that what you should want to do before you tie the knot?