20 Things Couples Should Do Before They Get Married

In the last two weeks, we’ve discussed 20 things couples should do before they move in together as well as 20 things they should do after they move in together. So, it seemed appropriate to discuss the next step for a lot of those couples: marriage. Specifically, what couples should do before they get married, which shouldn’t be confused with what every woman should do before she gets married. After the jump, 20 things you and your significant other should do together before getting hitched.

  1. Be in agreement on whether or not to have kids.
  2. Be in agreement on what religion — if any — you’ll raise your kids in.
  3. Figure out how you’re going to pay for a wedding or elopement.
  4. Have a 9-month emergency fund post-wedding.
  5. Decide whether or not to open a joint account and what that account will be used for.
  6. Decide where to go for a honeymoon and how to pay for it.
  7. Register for gifts. No, seriously, your loved ones/wedding guests really, really want you to register.
  8. Decide what you’ll do with monetary wedding gifts (see #4 and #6 for ideas).
  9. Get to know each other’s family and friends as well as possible.
  10. Date for at least four seasons.
  11. Live in the same city for at least six months.
  12. Discuss long, long-term goals and plans, like where you might like to retire one day.
  13. Discuss — and be OK with — where you both stand on name-changing.
  14. Establish “house rules,” including division of labor, whether or not you’ll allow smoking, how long out-of-town visitors are welcome to stay, and hours of the day you both need “quiet time.”
  15. Be absolutely positive you’re each other’s “type,” if ya know what I mean.
  16. Share medical history with each other.
  17. Set some financial goals (i.e., pay off debt, save enough for a house, a vacation, a child, a child’s college tuition).
  18. Set a budget and decide how much each will contribute to household expenses/who will pay for what.
  19. Discuss family visitation expectations (how often you plan to visit or host one another’s families).
  20. Decide whose health insurance to stick with (and if neither of you gets it through work, sign up for a private plan).

Oh, and do everything on this list, of course!