You don’t want to be a deer caught in the headlights, so be sure to experience everything you can before saying you’re ready for life’s next milestone.
So, you’ve found the love of your life and want to settle down—but are you truly ready to do so? Marriage is a huge commitment and not something you can backtrack from. Or are you single, ready to mingle, and want to do everything before taking the plunge?
Whether you are single or in a stable relationship, there is no denying that deciding to get married is a big decision. It will change every aspect of your life, so it is best to get certain things out of the way before taking the step to everlasting commitment.
The last thing you want is to be married before living out your single life to the fullest. As lonely as singledom can be, it can also be the best time of your life. You have no strings attached, no one to answer to, no one to think of but yourself, and no reason to worry too much about the future.
Even if you have already found your one true love, there is no reason why you cannot experience whatever you need to before signing on the dotted line. Sure, you may have to opt out of some of the options below, but there are still a myriad of things that you can do.
#1 Have loads of sex. You can’t learn the art of sexual pleasure by reading books or watching porn. Like most other things in life, experience is what makes a master and sex is no different. The more you do it, and with a varied number of people, the more you will learn. Life will only get better the more sex you have. Just a reminder, though: don’t be foolish and be sure to practice safe sex. [Read: Top 50 kinky sex ideas that are worth trying at least once in your life]
#2 Experiment sexually. Playing around will give you the chance to learn what turns you on. For example, you won’t know if you like rimming until you actually try it for yourself. You won’t know if you like S&M until you actually do it. You won’t know if anal sex is your thing until you let it happen. Don’t be afraid to try it all, because walking away with a slew of sexual prowess will benefit you in the long run.
#3 Date a lot. Putting the sex aside, there is plenty you will learn by prolific dating. It will teach you a thing or two about what you like and don’t like. It’ll also let you know what’s out there and train you in the art of finding the perfect someone who possesses all the qualities that you find appealing in a partner.
#4 Meet strangers. It could be the cute guy at the tram stop or the hot MILF who lives next door, but honestly, it doesn’t matter who you strike up a conversation with, as long as you do. It’ll give you the excuse to approach life head-on, plus it’ll boost your confidence the next time you’re out on a blind date.
#6 Enjoy your friends. Once you get married, your life will no longer be all about you and will involve another person, their friends, their family, their goals, their habits, and everything else. Be sure to spend time with your support system as much as you can before tying the knot. These are the people who are going to be there for you when times get rough with your spouse, so invest in the friendships now or risk being all alone later.
#7 Accomplish career goals. We all know that one woman who quit her job as soon as she got married. We all know that man who switched careers, even though he didn’t want to, just so he could make more money to please his wife. Before getting married, be sure to exhaust your career goals and go as far as time, experience, and your heart will take you. Being independent is something that you have to do for yourself, so don’t put it on the back burner.
#8 Fall in love. Fall in love over and over again, and never be afraid to keep doing it until you meet your match. As terrible as heartbreak is, it always teaches us an unforgettable lesson that will come in handy the next time around. [Read: 10 ridiculous myths people believe about marriage]
#9 Live alone. Living solo is truly an awesome thing to do. You get the chance to determine just what your space looks and feels like. Your home is a reflection of who you are, so think of it as a blank canvas on which you can express yourself freely and without shame. You’ll also pick up some important lessons about living like an independent adult.
#10 Pad your account. You need to manage your finances well and still have enough set aside for a rainy day. If you can’t live independently without expecting a handout, you’re certainly not ready to get married. Although marriage is all about teamwork, you need to know that you can pull your weight and contribute to the life you want to build with your partner.
#11 Love yourself. You shouldn’t commit to another soul until you can commit to loving yourself. If there’s something about yourself that you don’t like, then do something about it. Don’t be afraid to do all you can to love and appreciate yourself, because only then can you fully give your heart to another. [Read: 11 ways to fall in love with yourself before falling in love with someone else]
#12 Discover new hobbies. Pre-marriage is the best time to discover new things, as you’re not bogged down with commitments and making time for someone else’s hobbies and desires. Be sure to take advantage of your unmarried situation and make an effort to do new things. From rock climbing to hot yoga, there are countless hobbies that you can pick up if you only make time to discover them.
#13 Party hard. Your partner may be the coolest and most fun human on the planet, but there’s a major difference between doing some hardcore partying when you’re single, as opposed to when you’re taken. Trust me when I say that your priorities will shift as soon as you commit yourself to a serious relationship—how much more to marriage? From joining in drum circles at hippie music festivals, to dancing the night away at beach raves, be sure to party as hard as you can before settling down.
#14 Learn to cook. Feeding yourself is something that every human being should be able to do. I don’t mean popping a frozen dinner in the microwave or chopping up a salad. Play around with recipes and master a specialty. Even if it’s just one dish, learning how to cook something to perfection is an important life skill to have. [Read: 13 inspiring ways to bring out the best in yourself]
#15 Enjoy “me” time. Don’t be afraid of doing things alone, because once you’re married, you’re going to wish that you had more time to yourself. Whether it’s having a fancy dinner for one or heading to the movies solo, enjoy “me” time as often as you can.
#16 Spend time with old pros. Married friends, parents, grandparents, and random strangers at the bus stop—it doesn’t matter who you speak to about getting married, because everyone will have something different to teach you. Even if it’s just a passing conversation, hear them out and store any useful information about marriage that you can glean. It will help you decide if you are truly ready to tie the knot.
#17 Pick up skills. Whether you want to learn about permaculture or sewing, every skill you pick up—no matter how obscure—can come in handy in the future. The more you learn, the more beneficial it will be to you; plus, there’s nothing wrong with upping your worth.
Getting married and settling down is no joke, and not something you can wiggle your way out of once it’s done. You don’t want to regret not living your life to the fullest, so be sure to exhaust all of life’s options before walking down the aisle, using the 17 ideas provided here.