Who Cares About A Wedding? These Relationship Milestones Are A Way Bigger Deal

Fairytales always focus on a happy girl running off into the sunset with Prince Charming, living happily ever after in a giant castle.  Of course, in real life, when you become an adult and find that special person you want to share your life with, the crushing reality sinks in: Disney lied. Fairytales don’t show us the other, more crucial milestones that come first (and sometimes in place of) the ever-important “I do.”

  1. Meeting the families. Intertwining your worlds is a pretty imperative step towards marriage because your families are going to be in both of your lives forever. It’s important that you at least get along with (and are hopefully fond of) your partner’s closest relatives and friends. No one wants to hate the in-laws, and even though it does happen from time to time, it can make things awkward AF.
  2. The first embarrassing moment. A less than pleasant personal embarrassment is bound to happen sooner or later, and the way you handle the awkwardness is pretty telling about what you can expect from each other long-term. Are you sarcastic and playful when something goes unpleasantly wrong or is the experience mostly negative? Those moments really do matter in the long run.
  3. Your first fight. No one likes to fight in a relationship but if you don’t fight at all, there’s a serious problem. Fighting is a pretty healthy and normal part of being in a seriously committed partnership, and how you break free from it and resolve the conflict for the first time is a pretty big deal. If your partner isn’t on the same wavelength with your communication style, it’s going to create problems later down the road. Make sure you’re not only battling it out in a healthy manner but finding a truce the same way.
  4. Your first financial struggle. Nothing shows someone’s true colors faster than watching them get into a financial bind. Money is a huge relationship killer and when you’re in a long-term or cohabitation commitment, you need to be able to face money challenges together and as a team. If one of you is a heavy spender and keeps digging the hole deeper, eventually that frustration and anxiety are going to trickle into other areas of your lives. Money struggles are never pretty for anyone, period, but it can make or break a relationship very easily.
  5. The first holiday season. Holidays can be stressful AF. From bouncing around from one event to another to making sure you’re both financially organized for gifting as well as sane enough to deal with relatives, certain times of the year can make or break couples. If you can get through the craziness of the hustle and bustle and still be crazy about each other, congratulations- you’ve got yourselves a solid relationship.
  6. The first time one of you gets sick. Before the actual vow of “in sickness and in health” is promised, you should be demonstrating this truth in your relationship. The first illness will reveal if you’re compassionate and loving towards one another when you need extra care and attention or if you choose to dismiss your partner as if it’s not your problem. The best marriages have a lot of compassion, consideration, and empathy.
  7. Your first travel experience. They say that traveling is a good way to gauge if your match really is made in heaven because being together at all waking hours of the day, several days in a row, along with other annoying nuisances that generally come up while traveling is a great indication of how well you work together under pressure. If you can make it through an epic vacation with only minor relationship hiccups, you’re probably ready for a lot more together.
  8. Your first serious conversation about the future. Before you decide to spend forever together, you need to be able to talk about it seriously and for a lot of people, that’s a pretty damn challenging task. Having genuine and serious talks about how you’d like to live the rest of your lives together is a tricky conversation to have with someone, but if you can work through and visualize things easily like it’s a completely natural and normal thing, you’ve reached a pretty important milestone in your relationship.
  9. The sudden realization that your partner is your best friend. When you wake up one day and realize the person in your life isn’t just your partner but also the best friend and confidant that you could ever have hoped for, that’s when the real forever feels start to sink in. They’re not just your spouse, they’re your backbone and the person you couldn’t picture life without. You’ve conquered some very important milestones together and it’s only the beginning.