14 Things Every Couple Should Do Before Getting Married

You think you’ve found “The One” and you’re ready to spend the rest of your life with him. Before you say “I do,” make sure you do these 14 things to give your marriage the best possible chance.

  1. Have an epic fightYou read that right. This may seem counterproductive to building a long-lasting future with your significant other, but fighting—and, more importantly, how you do it—is essential. All functional relationships have them because you know bottling things up just won’t work. However, large fights are indicators on whether your S.O. will bail when things heat up, how you work through major problems together, and how you resolve tension once the fight is over.
  2. Learn how to have difficult and awkward conversations. No one enjoys uneasy conversations that leave you feeling nervous and embarrassed. However, if you’re planning on legally binding yourself to someone then you’ll have to suck it up, buttercup.
  3. Struggle through hard times together. Fresh relationships are full of sunshine and laughter, but true, long-lasting relationships are those who can handle when their partner is experiencing a low point in their life. This could mean the loss of a job or even the loss of a loved one. Life won’t always be simple and being there for each other through struggles will prove if you can both make it through the tough times.
  4. Live with them long enough to discover their annoying habits. Think back to the victorious scream you released into the heavens the moment you moved out of your parents’ place. You were most likely relieved that you no longer had to report your whereabouts or deal with your siblings’ irritating quirks. Marriage means taking on a new family member that you can’t kick out so easily. Live with your partner before marriage, because you need to find out if they’re someone you can truly live with every single day.
  5. Discuss and handle money. Money is a leading cause of marriage failure. If you can’t learn how to sit down and handle finances, there’s going to be a constant strain on your marriage. Besides, if he has massive amounts of loans, that’s something you should be aware of before you unknowingly take them on.
  6. Divide up the chores. Unless you want to your house to be a constant mess or leave one of you feeling as if you’re a live-in maid, dividing up chores isn’t such a bad idea. There are no tasks that are for men or women specifically. Everyone eats so everyone can cook; everyone lives in the house so everyone can clean it.
  7. Share intimate secrets and keep them. Your spouse should be your absolute best friend who you can run to with any problem. Although there are secrets some of us will never divulge, being able to share with them in confidence is a sign that you truly trust them.
  8. Figure out each other’s moral compass and core beliefs. One of you may be a religious church-goer and the other an atheist with science-based beliefs. One may be an outspoken Democrat while the other is a die-hard Republican. One may believe in upholding the law while the other thinks laws were made to be broken. While having a different set of beliefs doesn’t have to be the end of a relationship, it can be for many and that’s something you should know before saying “I do.”
  9. Talk about the future in depth. Does he want kids? Do you? Wanting or not wanting children is something most people won’t budge on, even if you truly believe you can change their mind. Likewise, if one person dreams of having a career in a big city while the other craves a quiet country life, it’s probably not going to work out (at least not without one of you being really unhappy).
  10. Be apart for a long period of time. Some say distance makes the heart grow fonder and while this can be true, it also presents unique challenges to a relationship. When you can’t see someone every single day, tensions from fights are far greater because you aren’t with them to kiss and make up afterward. You’ll also find out if either of you’re able to stay faithful during the time apart.
  11. Plan a trip together. Planning a trip will always be stressful. Believe it or not, the actual trip itself can put more stress on the relationship than figuring out a budget and booking your hotel room. After all, you’ll have to navigate an unfamiliar place as well as make decisions daily on where you’ll go and what you’ll do together.
  12. Define what cheating is in a relationship. Many couples have different ideas on what cheating means to them. If he believes it’s okay for him to keep his Tinder account and hit the strip clubs with his buddies while you’re against it, there’s going to be major problems.
  13. Share what you need from your partner. Different personalities mean different needs. If he craves compassion and touch when he’s upset while all you want is space to breathe, discussing this ahead of time can ensure that both parties are getting what they need.
  14. Get to know their past. Although our past is just that and shouldn’t define who we are today, getting to know your partner’s life in depth can provide a deeper understanding of them. After all, if you plan on marrying them, shouldn’t you truly get to know them?
Emily is a freelance writer living in Tennessee. She received her degree in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University. In her free time, she enjoys playing Pokemon and cuddling her two cats. Follow her on Instagram at @nillacat