They’re the J to your Bey, and you simply cannot wait for them to put a ring on it. But hold up – just because you finish each other’s sentences, you’ve got a million shared interests and they’ve seen the contents of your ahem drawer, doesn’t mean you’re necessarily ready to walk down the aisle. It’s one thing to make relationship resolutions, but here’s a list of must-dos — from silly to serious — before you say your “I dos.” Plus, we got Dr. Michelle Golland, a Los Angeles-based clinical psychologist and all-around love guru, to weigh in.
1. Exchange digits. As in, the passcode on your smartphone. You know everything there is to know about each other, right? Well, “everything” includes the contents of one’s most precious technological device. Dr. Golland says, “If your S.O. keeps passwords on his phone, isn’t willing to have the hard conversations needed to move to the next step or is more concerned about [his parents’] feelings or thoughts than yours around big issues,” then he’s not ready to get married.
2. Watch each other’s favorite TV shows. As much as it pains you to indulge in the caveman etiquette that is him hogging the remote control, just know that you’ll soon be queuing up My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, to which he will inevitably also become addicted. Compromise is an important lesson to learn before you tie the knot!
3. Bump heads. No one likes to argue, but occasional squabbles can be beneficial: They show that you are two people with differing opinions and viewpoints who are willing to share them. “Conflict is healthy and normal. Learning how to handle differences is critical. The worst scenario is when one partner believes being married means things are always good,” Dr. Golland says. Plus, if you didn’t fight, you couldn’t make up.
4. Explore “cheating.” The definition, that is. Trust is huge in marriage. And since cheating means different things to different people, it’s important to get on the same page. “Emotional infidelity is a relationship killer, as much as sexual infidelity. There shouldn’t be anything you say about your partner to someone else that you are not brave enough to say to your partner yourself,” Dr. Golland says.
5. Eat this, pass that! Let’s be honest, the quickest path to intimacy is via garlicky pasta, slurpy ramen, Mexican food and all of their… shall we say, aftereffects. “If you can’t pass gas in front of your partner or they won’t in front of you, then you have some work to do around letting go of ego and awkwardness and the need to be seen as perfect, which will be a killer to the relationship. Gas happens, and life gets messy and stinky at times!” Dr. Golland says.
6. See a shrink together. Even if you get along swimmingly, every couple can gain insight by chatting with a professional. “Every person should be willing to come in and talk to an expert about their relationship and how to communicate best with each other. To me, having a shrink or therapist who is your go-to person around emotional challenges is no different than having a good mechanic or chiropractor,” Dr. Golland says.
Got something to add to our must-dos? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!
(Photos via Getty)