Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My 5 Things to do Before Getting Married

Shine ran this article on things you should do as a couple before getting married. Their list:

1. Living Together
2. Babysit
3. Get a Joint Checking Account
4. Couples Counseling Classes.

I actually think this is a pretty good list given that it represents the common pitfalls for couples in marriage: household duties, children, money, and long-term relationship health.

But I have a slightly different list, although I am going to co-opt their #1 for mine. I understand completely that some people don't believe in this, and that is of course totally your prerogative. But I think for most couples, cohabitation is imperative to really understanding how your relationship will progress. When you each have your own corner to run to when things get tough, it's just not the same as having to be in the same space and work it out. You can read my opinions and recommendations on this here.

2. Travel Apart and Travel Together. When Scott and I first met, I took off for four days with my friend to Rome. It was important to me to have this time away and be on my own a bit. I missed him like crazy and it took our relationship to a more serious level when I returned because I realized I missed HIM, not just having a relationship. So then we also traveled together. And one of the highest compliments Scott has ever paid me was "you're the only person I can travel with for more than a day or two without getting totally sick of them." Though I don't like the thought of a "test", traveling together is definitely a good indicator of the foundation of a relationship. Before I met Scott, I had traveled with a guy who liked to get to the airport 30 minutes before the plane takes off (I'm a 2-hour before girl) and planned a million things to do right off the plane (whereas I like to settle into my hotel, get organized). Don't believe me that it's a test? Just look at the Amazing Race.

3. Live on Your Own. Yes, living together is crucial. But living on your own before that is crucial, too. You don't know who you are until you're paying your own bills, cleaning your own place, cooking your own meals. You start to separate your needs from your parents and roommates. And then when you go into a relationship, you go into it with a solid idea of who you are and your wants and needs.

4. Make and Keep Your Own Friends. I can't tell you the number of people who "joked" that Scott would never be "allowed" to go out once he got married. I was horrified. Why should a piece of paper and a name change alter the fundamentals of our relationship with each other and our friends? Keeping your old friends and making ones outside of your marriage is crucial to a healthy separation of church and state when it comes to coupling. But also?

5. Have Stuff That's JUST for You Two. My first fight with Scott was over hobbies. He was afraid we didn't have much in common because I wasn't into the outdoorsy things he was. BUT, we found common ground on cooking, reading, watching the same movies, and even kind of silly things like UFC (I freaking love UFC, I have problems). We like to spend our spare time doing the same types of things. And even more long term we agree on how we want to spend retirement.

So, tell me, what are your 5 things you think need to happen before someone gets married?

30 comments:

Life As Wife said...

Love this post! Hubby and I have been apart more than we have been together during our marriage (between the Army and moving...) I get SO annoyed when people are like "I miss my husband" and they have been apart for like two days. Honestly, I think it makes our marriage stronger because we know we can push through hard times.

It honestly takes two strong people (that can stand on their own) to make a strong couple.

Mrs. Pancakes said...

Hey stephanie...i agree with you on all the above..my husband and i definitely lived together, opened a joint account, completed pre-marital counselling. every couple is different but it was important for us to live together before hand...wish you luck deary!

n0eLLe said...

Great post! I think you're right!

ManWifeDog said...

Love this list!!! We did everything on both lists! Go us!! GREAT list!!

Jessica said...

Great post. You can combine your checking accounts, but make sure you keep at least on credit card in your own name. A tip (believe it or not) from my mother in law!!

JDaniel4's Mom said...

I like your list better than theirs. We do travel together and apart.

TheProDiva said...

These are all good tips! I encourage all soon to be married couples to pick some of these just to see what the grass looks like on the other side....well at least a sample!

Ann said...

Very perceptive list! Stopping by from the Comment Hour.

JORDYNROSE.com said...

This is a great post. Mine are:
1. co-parent a pet
2. take a trip with his and her friends
3. shop together (both food & other essentials)

Those are my tid bits- I think you have them mostly covered! ;)

Handy Man, Crafty Woman said...

I like this list. we have always traveled both together and apart, we like doing that.

Ginger said...

Great list! I agree with it all!

Ginger
Literally Inspired

#CommentHour

Amy said...

I think your list was good. I'm not a fan of living together before marriage, but the living apart is a good idea. Grow up all the way first.

#commenthour

scottandalie.com said...

1. kids/no kids
2. religion and how you will raise kids if you have them.
3. money/budget are you a spender/saver/etc.
4. sex are you comfortable and open having discussions with your partner
5. have outside hobbies and interests

Webly said...

Counseling is so so so important. A lot of serious things to consider can come up. Congratulations on taking the most important steps before you get married and for focusing on having a wonderful marriage before having a wonderful wedding.

Audra said...

#5 is right on!

I'd add that it's so important to know how to fight before getting married!

tenaciouslyyours.com said...

Once again, I am reaffirmed in my belief that We Are Soulmates. I'm a 2 hour person too! It's just more Soothing that way. And then you have enough time to source one of those terrible Vasa water bottles and a latte.

Victoria said...

If I had to put together a list, it would be similar to yours. I would also add that couples should finance something together-nothing too pricey, but just enough to find out more about how well each person handles their financial responsibilities. By the way, I love UFC too.
#commenthour

Diane said...

Great list. Hubby an I didn't make a list before we got married, but I think it is a great idea to do so.

Kari said...

Stopping by from #commenthour (very late) and I love love LOVE this post. I just go married (a week ago today) and I agree with all of these things. My husband and I didn't live together before we were married so it's been interesting starting to live together but I love every second of it!

Kari
http://www.morganandkari.com

Radha said...

Words cannot express how much I love this post. I see so many happy couples rush into marriage high off of love... and not much else. Not saying that love is bad, but it takes a lot of planning and knowing the person you are going to share a life with before making the big jump and making a life work with each other. More importantly, we have to make sure we know ourselves before we can do any of that, and both lists are great to get people started on the right track.

www.commentarista.com

visiting from #commenthour

MyLittleMe said...

Don't know that I agree with joint checking accounts. That can keep you paying for a while if you split up!

New follower from #commenthour

Mimzy Wimzy said...

I have managed to do everything so backwards in life I wouldn't even begin to know what the "right" way is. I do believe in living together before marriage. If he leaves the toilet seat up & lets his dirty socks on the floor, you want to know.

Kristy said...

I really like your list. I don't agree with the original list's #3.

Catalina said...

I wish I would have had a list when before I got married. Yes, it's a good idea to learn how to live on your own before you are married. I especially love #5, that's so important when things start to get stale in a marriage and when your family begins to grow. Joint accounts? Um, this is my take- If you work and can support yourself with your income, I strongly suggest you keep separate accounts. Marriage is a partnership not an ownership. Just saying...

Logical Libby said...

Knew I could marry my husband after a three week car trip in New Zealand. Never looked back.

Deidre said...

I definitely agree with most of these!

It's been one of my things that I have to live my guy before we get married - and while, like you, I understand this goes against some people's beliefs, it's majorly important to me!

Alison@Mama Wants This said...

Great list - I am with you on each and every one!

I would add: purchasing a big ticket item together (especially if you live together). You can
a) know each other's taste
b) figure out how he feels about spending money on something essential (eg. practical? whimsical? etc)

First-timer on your blog and I like!

fancythatfancythis.com said...

If my husband and I had a joint checking account before we got married, we never would have gotten married. He is terrible with money and thus I refuse - even 10 years later - to share a checking account. This poses a problem...for him. But I'm happy as a clam since my account balances to the penny every single month!

Rach (DonutsMama) said...

Great list Stephanie. I don't get the whole "You can't hang out with your friends anymore b/c I'm your only friend" mentality either. Unless it's that bachelor friend who only wants to hang out at strip clubs (Yes, this is the only friend I made Hubby dump and I think he was secretly relieved!).

I'd add: have a hobby that's just for you.

grownupforeal.com said...

I wish I could offer something original but I think you are RIGHT on! My husband and I are inseperable but that's only because we had a true sense of who we were before we got married.