While shifting demographics and varying trends might shape society’s current attitudes towards tying the knot, one thing is forever certain: marriage is a big deal.
It’s no secret why people take the event so seriously. After all, when you sign a contract legally binding you to your other half, you are making a series of lifelong promises that are very rarely easy for even for the happiest of couples to uphold. Your best friend is now your family, and your union marks the dawn of a new era in both of your lives.
Marriage is not a claim to perfection: you know the road ahead bears at least some obstacles. When you walk down the aisle, you agree to embark on this bold journey out of faith in your ability to sustain the love and respect you have for your partner in the face of any challenge you may face together. It is a commitment of your eternal effort.
While all of this can seem scary, it should be noted that marriage can often make for a truly beautiful bond that forever enriches the lives of all parties involved. It is certainly not all grind. Whether you are a starry-eyed romantic or a stone-cold cynic, we can all agree that it is never a decision to made before you are ready.
Here are seven things you should do by yourself before getting hitched.
Take yourself on dates. No partner, no friends- just you exploring a new place and activity, preferably in your most fabulous outfit. You will be surprised at how different interacting with the world around you feels when there is no one else there to bounce your thoughts off of.
Pursue a hobby that you love, but maybe aren’t that great at. Learning to shamelessly have a good time despite failing is a guaranteed way to reduce arbitrary stress throughout your life.
Live by yourself, even if it’s only for a few weeks. Even just finding an Airbnb listing that is available for a month and making it your own little staycation can teach you loads about your own routines, quirks, and self-maintenance skills.
Spend a week agreeing to things you otherwise would have skipped out on. While there is no need to full-out Yes Man, if the only thing keeping you from joining your friends on a cowboy karaoke night is not wanting to have to shave, it’s time to get your boots in gear.
Figure out what your life goals are (at least a little bit). You may not have a to-the-minute five-year agenda planned out, but at least knowing whether or not children are in your future is essential.
Travel alone. Many use the complexities of traveling as a relationship test, so why not use it to push the boundaries of your own comfort zone? Who knows, you might even get a future honeymoon spot out of it.
Above all else, learn to stand up for yourself. You should always be able to stand strong in your identity and assert your essential rights no matter who may push back.
Having a concrete concept of who you are, what you enjoy, and what you deserve is not only an essential part of growing up and becoming comfortable in your own skin; it also could boost your skills as a spouse, putting your relationship on a great track. No one is perfect, and no two are perfect for each other. Learning about yourself and accepting all of the pros-and-cons that come with you are guaranteed to help you apply the same thought process to your significant other.
[Featured Image by Joosep Martinson/Getty Images]