Five Things You Should Do Before Getting Married

Every time I check the mailbox lately I feel as though I stumble upon another “Save the Date” card. Whether it’s from a friend or a family member, they’re there in full force. Huge props to everyone getting married, love is a wonderful thing and I am all about a good wedding celebration as you tie the knot. With that said, even though Chris and I have been together for four years, I feel nowhere near ready to say “I do.”

I feel like once you’re over 20 and have been dating someone for more than two years, people instantly decide that they should ask you when you’re going to marry that person. Disregard the fact that the divorce rate is approximately 50% (it’s like 99% if one of you is famous), people still want to know when they should be expecting an invitation to the nuptials. Here’s the thing: I’m not ready to get married. I’m just not. And that’s okay. I love seeing wedding ideas on Pinterest. I want to have board games at my wedding so people who don’t dance will still have fun. I want to serve cocktails out of Mason jars. I want chairs that say “Mr. Right” and “Mrs. Always Right.” Okay, that last part’s a lie, but the rest of it is true. But I don’t want it now. I want it when I have money and more life experience. I want it when I don’t wake up three days out of the week going “WHAT AM I DOING WITH MY LIFE!?” Also, I’ve realized that there are several things you need before you get married.

1.) You need to stop buying clothes based on whether or not they require dry cleaning: I love shopping, and nothing thrills me more than finding a good outfit at a great price. But if I see a great top or a blazer and I check the tag to find “Dry cleaning only” printed in tiny, snooty print….nope. I don’t have time to drop things off at the dry cleaner after every wear. Secondly, I don’t have the money for this sort of thing. For me, Hand Wash Only actually means “Put it in the dryer on gentle and hope for the best.” I think this indicates that I’m not ready for bridal couture and guest lists.

2.) You need to stop calling your mom for everything…literally everything: The amount of times I call my mom per day is a little disturbing. It’s good to have a close relationship with your mom, and to rely on her, but…a sense of independence and self-sufficiency seem like a necessary requirements if you want to become a wife. When you become a wife, it’s implied that soon you will become someone’s mom. This seems awkward if you’re still entirely dependent on your own mom. If this is the case, you may not quite be ready for marriage. I’m not saying that those of us who are frequent dialers are immature, just not quite ready for marriage.

3.) You need to be settled: I anticipate at least one or two moves in my near future. Because of this, things will become uncertain and unsteady. Chris also has a few moves ahead of him. It seems silly to embark on the voyage that is holy matrimony, only to find out that you need to do distance for two years because one of you landed a sweet job. Obviously it’s not the end of the world and doesn’t signify the end of the marriage, but it’s probably best to wait until both of you are more settled in your careers and have more stability and control over your lives and your careers.

4.) You need (a little) cash: Look, I’m not saying you need to be Mr. and Mrs. Donald Trump–Sidenote: Did anyone see his proposal to Obama where he offered up $5 million? Tell me that he didn’t remind you of Dr. Evil!–Okay, anyway. The point is that you should have a little bit of comfort and security when it comes to the issue of your savings account. Personally, right now the $50 spice rack that I just bought my friends who got married this past weekend put a serious dent in my checking account. Getting married is one of the most exciting times in a person’s life. You want to have the freedom to buy the jewelry you want for the day, or the fill-in-the-blank for each table (I lack knowledge about wedding accessories). When you’re just beginning your career and your life, it’s harder to have this level of stability. This comes with age.

5.) You need to be damn sure: Think about how much you changed from your freshman year of college until now. If you’re still in college, think about how much you changed from freshman year of high school until now. Your twenties are a time of huge growth and development. While this is amazing and exciting, it also means that relationships are volatile. Because of this, getting married too young can become problematic. Before you tie the knot, you want to make sure you’re established as a fully grown person. You want to know that this match is going to last forever, and not just through your twenties. Even if you love the person with all your heart, it’s never a bad thing to wait and see how the next few years change both of you as people and as a couple.

How do you feel about getting married? Are you ready or does the thought make you cringe? Maybe somewhere in between. Do you have friends saying “I do” yet?

Oh! And while I have you here: Check out my newest piece for USA Today College called “Five Things To Do When You Hate Your Major.”

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