Instead of spending our youth searching for love—we should spend it searching for ourselves.
Marriage is the joining of two people, two lives—and two hearts. But before we say “I do” to another—we first have to say it to ourselves.
We owe it to ourselves—and to the person we will marry—to experience as much of life as we can, so that when we do promise forever, we will actually know enough about life to know what that means.
So before saying I do—say why not?
1. Fall in love with yourself.
We can’t expect anyone else to fall in love with us, if we first haven’t done it ourselves.
2. Date someone who is all wrong for you.
We often don’t know what we really want until we have experienced everything that we don’t—allow yourself the opportunity to date someone who you would never marry.
3. Stay single for at least a year.
It’s easy to get trapped into a cycle of relationship after relationship, but until we have taken a year off and spent some good, quality time alone we run the risk of repeating our past mistakes.
4. Let your heart get broken.
No one wants to have their heart broken, but when we do, it allows us the opportunity to take more careful care of our loved one’s heart.
5. Dump someone.
We need to be able to end things with someone, not just so that we learn how to say no to others—but so we learn how to say yes to ourselves.
6. Go for a road trip by yourself.
Decide how you want to spend a day, then grab your keys and take off. See where the wind takes you—let yourself have an adventure for one.
7. Find a great circle of friends.
A spouse is a wonderful thing—but so are friends. Never underestimate the power great friends have on our lives. No matter how amazing our marriage is, it can’t replace friendships.
8. Travel with your closest friends.
Whether it’s for an overnight or a week away, grab your best friends—take off and make some amazing memories.
9. Get your finances in order.
We need to be able to handle our own lives before we can say that we can handle another’s. This doesn’t mean perfection—but it does mean learning to manage independently.
10. Find your passion and make a career of it.
Not everyone needs to attend college, but we do need to enjoy what we do. We will be a much happier person (and spouse) if we love what we do.
11. Go away on vacation with yourself.
Pick a location, find a hotel—and book it. Go explore a new place, discover the joy in living each day when we have no one else to please except ourselves.
12. Live by yourself.
Learn to love the silence and appreciate time alone. Learn how to manage your own place, clean, organize, be lazy—learn about what kind of space makes you happy.
13. Have a summer fling.
Just because its fun, let yourself get carried away knowing there is an expiration date.
14. Learn how to cook.
Find what you enjoy to eat and learn how to make meals for yourself. No one wants to cook all the time and whether you are a man or woman—we all love good food, so we should all know how to cook.
15. Splurge on yourself.
Treat yourself simply because you can—and because you deserve it.
16. Get lost.
Metaphorically and literally—let yourself be lost in your journey for a bit, because when you do find your way back it will be all that much sweeter.
17. Spend time with kids.
Kids can teach us a lot about life and how to not take ourselves so seriously. There is also no better way to know if you want kids than to spend some time around them.
Give back. It’s important to be able to step out of our own needs and do for others just because we can—not because we are getting anything in return.
19. Have a few wild nights.
Make some memories that you can’t tell anyone about. The nights that you shake your head at or cringe when you remember them—we all have them and they are an important part of us.
20. Get to know your own sexuality.
Sex is one of the most important aspects in a marriage. Get to know yourself, your own sex drive. Find out what turns you on, what things you want to try and what your expectations are for post-marriage sex.
21. Learn how to fix things.
No one wants to be responsible for picking up after someone else all the time. Learn how to use a hammer, a cordless drill, some paint brushes and a lawn mower.
22. Mess up your life.
Screw up so bad you can’t imagine ever recovering—and then work your butt off to fix things. No marriage will ever be perfect and we all need to learn how to get back on top from rock bottom.
23. Become friends with your parents.
It’s not cool to hate your parents when you’re an adult. Sure they are a little weird and not right all the time—but we love them. Make peace with your past so that you can be a healthier adult.
24. Learn how to say I’m sorry.
Saying I’m sorry is the single most important aspect of marriage—we mess up, it’s what we are supposed to do. But we also need to learn how to own our mistakes.
25. Take yourself out to dinner.
Dress up, go to your favorite restaurant, sit down and order like a boss.
We are all a work in progress—and while there are no guarantees when it comes to marriage, if we know who we are then we have a better chance of accepting someone for exactly who they are.
Because marriage isn’t 50/50—but 100/100, so we owe it to ourselves to come into any relationship whole.
Not just for ourselves—but for the person that we will one day say “I do” to.
Author: Kate Rose
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock
photo: Annie Spratt/Unsplash