10 Things I Seriously Regret Not Doing Before Getting Married

Don't make the same mistakes I did.

woman looking up at man FabrikaSimf / Shutterstock

I'm divorced now so I won't say "wish I didn't get married," because I gained a beautiful daughter as well as a lot of experience and life lessons from my marriage. But there are things I wish I did before I said "I do" and "I don't."

With perspective, I'd like to pass this on to people who are still single and considering getting hitched. Before you put a "ring on it," there are a few lessons to take into account.


Here are 10 things I regret not doing before getting married

1. Having more serious relationship experience

Before I said "I do" to my ex, my longest relationship was three months. I had never had a serious relationship, so I didn't know exactly what they entailed.

Before you become a Mr. or a Mrs., be sure you have enough relationship experience under your belt to truly know what it takes to make a relationship as important as marriage work, and know what a good long-term partner truly looks and acts like.



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2. Traveling the world

I didn't travel enough before I got married and had a child. I can still travel (it's not like the airline is refusing to let me board), but traveling now as a parent is harder, financially and logistically, especially as a single parent.

Before you get married, travel, travel, and travel! See the world now as much as you can. Visiting other countries and places makes your life fuller, helps you gain perspective, and allows you to view life with different eyes.

Nothing can replace the experience of travel and different cultures. Nothing!

3. Moving to the city of my dreams

I lived in one of my favorite places of all time, New York City, and left my hometown for a long time. But I never got to live in California, something I always wanted to do. Once I was married, however, it seemed like something just out of reach.


So, leave your hometown and get out of the area to learn how to find your way independently in the world, and get to know more about where you would like to permanently settle down. Typically, most married couples aren't transient, so before you become part of a duo, know where you want "home sweet home" to be.

4. Dating for fun, not as an end goal

I dated for an end goal: the relationship. So many of us, especially women, date with the end goal of finding love, a lifetime partner with whom they can stay with forever. But this is a mistake.

Before you get married, do yourself a favor and date for fun. Date to learn something new about someone. Date to have someone to try something new with. Date to have an experience, not to simply find the one.

things I regret not doing before getting marriedPhoto: Edward Eyer / Pexels


Do this and you will learn a lot about what you like in someone and who you are as a person. You might also have a ton of fun rather than fretting over stuff like "Is this person my soulmate?" and "Where is this going?" Everyone knows that those questions aren't fun at all.

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5. Taking a girls' weekend

I didn't have a girls' weekend until after I was married, but how I wish I had taken one before we all were married or divorced with kids!

Let me tell you: whether you're a man or a woman, having a singles' weekend is a fabulous way to unwind and make interesting memories. I'm glad that, as of this year, I finally got to have a girls' weekend for my best friend's 40th birthday and it was a blast.


6. Studying abroad in college

I wish I had traveled as a student and, most importantly, taken classes or an internship in another country. Once you tie the knot, it may feel like studying abroad is something unattainable, especially once you have children.

But in the years before you settle down, broaden your horizons by enrolling to study abroad! You'll hone your language skills and, more importantly, will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the culture of somewhere new.



7. Learning about my religion

My mom converted to the Jewish faith from Catholicism and Protestantism to marry my dad, who is Jewish. I never received a Jewish education as a child, and while I can still learn now, I have less time to learn and understand all the different traditions and history of a significant part of my background.


I'm not religious and I celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas, but it would have been nice to have a solid background before having a kid and getting married.

Now, I'm learning along with my daughter. I love learning about different cultures and religions, and I wish I devoted more time to it before my married and now divorced life.

RELATED: Before You Say 'I Do' You Must Agree On These 25 'I Don'ts'

8. Leaving bad men in the past

There were many bad guys in my previous life before saying "I do," and I wish I'd had the guts to say "boy bye" to those that deserved it.



Even more so, I wish I had let the hurt and baggage from those bad guys go sooner than I did because, in order to choose a good partner, you need to be at peace with the demons you've collected along the way and understand how a good partner behaves.


I'm at peace today, but when I said "I do," I still had some past voices muttering in my head, as well as past experiences clouding my judgment of men.

9. Volunteering

I was a volunteer for a brief time in the New York City school system, and it was a great experience when I first got married. If I could do it over again, I would have volunteered before marriage to have more time to devote to passions in a way that, as a mom, I don't have now.

The good news is, eventually, as my daughter gets older I will have the chance again. But for those who are yet to be married, consider volunteering.


10. Asking for what I wanted in bed

Women are socialized to be people-pleasers, even in bed. I wish I had been more forthcoming and direct with my dating partners, as they were with me before I got married. I would have then understood how to ask for what I wanted in my marriage, diplomatically and with honesty.

things I regret not doing before getting marriedPhoto: Victoria Strelka_ph / Pexels

I was always afraid to ask outright for what I wanted or to complain about what I didn't like, yet, as 50% of the "party," I should have felt free to speak my mind but didn't. Consider this your sign to stop settling and start asking for what you want and need.


RELATED: The 11 Non-Negotiable, Unspoken 'Rules' Of Marriage

Laura Lifshitz is a former MTV personality and Columbia University graduate currently writing about divorce, women’s issues, fitness, parenting, and marriage. Her work has been featured in the New York Times, DivorceForce, Women’s Health, Working Mother, PopSugar, and more.