Relationships can be beautiful, empowering, and humbling things. This is a list of things that, in my opinion, all people deep in the trenches of love should do before committing themselves to each other for eternity.
  1. Go Tent Camping
    Does your significant other know how to build a fire? Does that matter? Are you attracted to your S.O. even when all the luxuries and distractions of city life are stripped away? Does your S.O. delight in this absence of technology, or does she/he mourn the lack of wifi? What does this say about your S.O.'s willingness to venture off the beaten path in search of tranquility on occasion? Is this someone with whom you'd be excited to experience a 3-day power outage?
  2. Take a Road Trip
    Does your significant other feel the need to combat silence with music? NPR? Books on tape? Mindless chatter? Does she/he embrace road-side attractions and the unexpected stops along the way from point A to point B? Or is your S.O. so concerned with sticking to a schedule that you can't stop in Weeki Wachee to see the underwater mermaid show? What does this say about your S.O.'s ability to accept (and even relish) uncertainty? What does it say about your S.O.'s willingness to deviate from plans?
  3. Babysit
    Does your significant other happily divvy child-caring responsibilities in a way that is gender neutral and respectful of all parties? Does she/he excitedly watch cartoons with you, or is she/he on the phone the entire time? Dos your S.O. think it's cute when the kids are shitty at hide-and-seek, or does this annoy your S.O.? What does all this say about your S.O.'s value structure and eagerness to participate in activities that aren't necessarily at the top of her/his priority list?
  4. Host a Dinner Party
    Is your significant other good about splitting time between all guests equally, or does she/he clique up with a small and elite group? Does your S.O. offer to take your guests' coats/refill their beverages/throw away their trash, or does she/he feel that guests should make themselves at home and do it themselves? True hospitality is subtle, so does your S.O.'s outward display of hospitality make you feel relaxed and comfortable, while simultaneously making you feel like the guest of honor?
  5. Fly Overseas
    Does your significant other hog the armrest or floor space while you're trying to sleep? Does she/he have patience for the parents whose children are crying, or does she/he make snarky comments about parents who are trying their best? Does your S.O. get nervous about flying over the open ocean? If you do, is your S.O. a calming presence for you? What does your S.O.'s airline etiquette say about her/his attitude and outlook when situations become less than ideal?
  6. Visit a Country Whose Inhabitants Speak a Language Other Than English
    Does your significant other value other cultures enough to temporarily adopt their words for 'please,' 'thank you,' 'yes,' etc.? Is your S.O. excited to try local cuisine, or does she/he complain that there hasn't been a decent hamburger on the menu for days? What does this say about your S.O.'s willingness to embrace difference and/or adventure?
  7. Own a Dog
    A dog is essentially a newborn baby with a cuter face and slightly better bladder control. How your S.O. handles the responsibility of caring for another life is a direct predictor of how your S.O. will care for your children.
  8. Cohabit
    There's a reason why so many college roommate situations fail. Your spouse is a glorified post-college roommate, in some regards. Test the waters. Life together. See if your S.O. leaves the cap off the toothpaste. Notice how they choose to blow off steam after work. Think about how those practices align with your own!