You’ve probably seen the usual ‘last acts of freedom’ lists that urge future brides and grooms to do things they supposedly can’t after saying “I do.” Fortunately, most people don’t have to give up video games or the occasional social beer. For those who think marriage is a beginning rather than an end, here is a list of responsible actions to take.
1. Determine Who Vacuums
It’s surprising that couples can have no idea who is responsible for house cleaning. Don’t assume, ask!
2. Talk About Children
Talk about how many children you want and when. Remember that children are hard on a relationship, especially as babies. According to the Human Development and Science department of the Oklahoma State University, “Jealousy occurs because the baby demands time and attention.”
3. Discuss Religion
Does your partner have a religion? If it differs from yours, which (if any) will you teach your children?
4. Map Out Retirement
Not everyone wants to retire in a Florida condo. Create a plan and know what your goals are and how they mesh with your partner’s goals.
5. Explore Pet Options
According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, at least 10% of people in the United States have pet allergies; that’s more than 30 million people. Remember to discuss the health risks of getting that German Shepherd or hamster of your dreams.
6. Get Tested for STDs
If either partner has had a previous relationship both of you should get tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
7. Meet Your Partner’s Family
If you haven’t done it yet, now is the time. Put away petty squabbles and do a meet and greet with new family members.
8. Find the Best Places to Live
Did you know that some companies rate the best places for newlyweds to live?
9. Figure out Taxes
Taxes are more complicated for married couples.
10. Plan the Best Way to School Your Children
This is a big issue in the modern world, with more and more couples choosing to home school their children.
11. Discuss Dietary Needs
Some people strive on a strict diet, while others wilt.
12. Clear up Any Confusion About Organ Donation
Organ donation is a time sensitive task that every person’s spouse should know about.
13. Combine Mobile Phone Plans
People in the same household can usually save money by being on one cell phone plan.
14. Write a Living and Final Will
Don’t leave your partner and other family members with doubts about how to celebrate your life and get rid of your possessions.
15. Plant a Tree
Plant a tree in a park, your backyard or some other place you can return to in the decades to come.
16. Rediscover Old Friends
You’re getting married! It’s the perfect excuse to reunite with high school BFFs.
17. Live Together
Most couples say they had no idea how difficult it would be to live together. Try it out; know what you’re in for.
18. Change Your Name
If you plan on changing your name, get started as soon as possible. The process is long and filled with a lot of paperwork.
19. Get a Lawyer
Hire a lawyer to write a prenuptial agreement. If you do one thing before getting married, it should be this.
20. Stop Renting with Roommates
Most roommate situations are not favorable to couples. Even many shared housing listings say “no couples!”
21. Sort Out Decor
Some women strongly believe in nesting and don’t feel comfortable letting their partner decorate or “own” any room in the house. Sort out such complications before moving in together.
22. Share Odd Living Habits
If you sleep walk or can’t stand kitchen spatulas, share these things with your bride or groom to be.
23. Trade Medical History
In rare cases, a couple shouldn’t have children because they have such a high risk of producing offspring with diseases, birth defects, or other things that could severely affect a child’s quality of life.
24. Have Your Finances in Order
A lot of couples keep their finances separate; the more you know! Consider whether to keep your finances separate or together by with a new credit card application.
Are you exercising together or alone?
If you’re marrying an introvert or vise verse, figure out how much you’re both comfortable socializing with friends and family.
27. Know Each Other’s Shopping Habits
Some people shop when depressed or even happy. Know your partner’s shopping and budgeting habits.
28. Observe Table Manners
You’re marrying this person; be happy with his or her table manners rather than complaining about it five years later when you can’t stand them anymore.
29. Plan the Wedding
Hire a wedding coordinator if you need to, but realize how important preparedness is when organizing a large event.
30. Expect Something to go Wrong
No one’s wedding is perfect, and people who insist otherwise have forgotten the details. Be prepared to brush off the little things.
You can’t get to know a person this well within a month. If your partner brings up marriage too soon, be optimistic but propose a long engagement.