10 Things You should Do with Someone Before You Marry Them

by - Friday, March 15, 2013

Ok, I have a bunch of blogs that have been sitting in half draft forms that I am going to try to push through. I only have 6 months of marital experience, so clearly this isn't an expert opinion, but here are 10 things that I think can be pretty helpful on the road to getting hitched.  They basically all tell you new things about the person you want to be your partner by pushing you out of regular dating routines. Plus, I think they are all pretty fun.

10. Be apart for some solid chunk of time- I think this was a good thing for us (though 5 years is a LOT of time to be apart from someone), because it gives you a lot of time to just practice having great conversations and being friends. I think it was Nietzsche who said (oh gosh, that sounds like I am joking, but I am actually just being pretentious- owning it) that it is great friendship that makes for a great marriage. The reason calling your partner a "best friend" seems so cliche is that it is a pretty good idea to go that route. Being apart is a good way to gain appreciation and to learn how to keep things interesting when they really really aren't.

9. Pass through another milestone: a promotion, graduation, a move- People like to focus on people having similar tactics for coping or for tragedy, but you have to learn how to celebrate too! Plus, big transitions can have pretty profound effects on a person's personality, so if you haven't been with them long enough to see a serious life change, you may be in for some surprises. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but I am glad that I got to see the Boy graduate (twice), move (3 times? 4? Does leaving for college count?). Plus, I would argue that weddings and graduations are strikingly similar- you are basically bookmarking a bunch of work you have already done for an audience. You have to be the center of attention. And, you wear silly outfits in both cases. It's about your symbolic value to the people who love you more than any real transition you are making. Seeing how someone handles a graduation is probably the closest thing to seeing them handle a wedding.

8. Take care of each other when you are sick- When you marry someone, you are basically signing up for a bunch of bodily nonsense. Having babies, from what I can tell, is really disgusting. Growing old seems to require a lot of visits to the doctor. Unless you are Chris Traeger, you and your partner probably have a lot of aches, pains, and pukes in your future. Learning how to take care of each other is really important. When I am sick, I want loved on and to lay around. The Boy does not enjoy any human contact, but he does like being waited on. The Boy sees food as the most healing thing for both the body and soul, so he will just try to feed you the whole time. These are not complementary instincts. I think its probably good to start getting practice, and figuring out each other's needs, before you sign up for a life full of this business.

7.Do something that scares you- I'm not sure we did this in a big way. We did go zip-lining, but I don't remember being that scared. The Boy has also faced down a number of bees in my presence. This is another one where you just get practice working as a team or handling a challenge.

6. Go somewhere on your Bucket List- Do it now, because life will only get busier and more complicated. Traveling with someone is a great way to get to know someone, even if it is just an hour or two away. More importantly, if you can tackle and enjoy one of the big goals with someone, you can start building those big memories with them. I think that is really important.

5.Build or make something together-More teamwork! This one is fun, because it really is about how you handle creativity as a team. For us, in general but not always, I supply most of the ideas and get things started, and the Boy encourages even the crazy ideas and helps me to see it through.

4. Go to each other's family events together enough so you don't feel like you have to stick together (if you are really lucky, you can get to the point where you can go be with his/her family on your own)-  This one is HUGE. You don't just marry a person, you marry their whole family. If you do not feel comfortable and (hopefully) happy spending time with them, you should reconsider. People become their parents, so if you don't love your significant other's parents, that is a red flag. Plus, these becomes your life long relationships, hopefully as love-filled and unconditional as your relationships with your own family, so the more time and energy you can put into these relationships before you walk down the aisle, the happier you will be (and that road should go both ways).  I have been really lucky with my in-laws, and I know this isn't always the case, but those relationships are absolutely worth your time. It only leads to good things to love the family you want to be a part of.

3.At least 3 months living together- Clutch your pearls all you want, but you don't know someone until you live with them. And you should probably know them before you marry them. Plus, it's fun.

2. At least one thing where you have to say "gross" out loud- Change some diapers together, or clean the sophet and fascia, or dig a garden, etc.The weirdest thing about moving in together is that where you used to keep your banal stuff apart from your romantical business, now you have to genuinely seek out dates, and there is a forever long list of boring, or even worse gross, stuff you should be doing as a couple. If you can make it fun, good for you. If you can get it over with, that probably counts too.

1. Cross Country Road Trip- If you can only do one thing with a potential life partner, or even a current life partner, I would recommend a road trip. One that solidly last a few days. First of all, it is just a fun adventure you will remember. Secondly, there is lots and lots of time which is pretty boring and you probably won't remember it. That second thing, from what I can tell, is the muscle of relationships. Figuring out how to spend 8 hours in the car together is important. Plus, I think you can learn a ton about another person by roadtripping with them. How they handle getting lost, or getting a flat tire, or whether they can bounce back when things deviate from the plan to the point where you just have to make a whole new plan is a pretty direct metaphor for how they handle their life. The other big bright side is that the United States is a truly beautiful and weird place, so it really will be fun.

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  1. Not gonna lie, I totally had to google "soffit and fascia" because I only know one definition of fascia and my nurse-brain could not compute WHY THE HELL you would be cleaning that. Though, to be fair, it would qualify as pretty gross.

    Anyways, I love this list and I love your blog in general. I really should comment more often, but sometimes I worry it will make you feel weird... like I'm intruding on something meant for family and close friends.

  2. Hahaha well the spelling didn't really help. I had no idea that fascia has a biological connotation too- that would truly be super gross.

    I love comments, and you are definitely not intruding. I read your blog too, so at the very least we are mutually intrusive!