If you’re recently married, chances are, you’ve already got droves of people—including family, friends, and total strangers—asking when you and your partner are going to start having children. These questions are inappropriate for many reasons (not least of which is that not everyone wants kids, and that’s completely OK), but one is that you have a lot to do before you start having babies! The period between when you get married and when you start a family is an important one, whether it lasts only a few months or a number of years. If you plan to have children, this is the only time that you and your spouse will be a unit of two, which is something that you should cherish and enjoy.
Obviously, there’s a lot of planning that has to go into having a child, but, more importantly, there are a lot experiences that you need to have with your spouse while you still have the freedom to have them. I’m not trying to imply that your life is over once you have a baby. Of course it’s not; You’ll keep having amazing adventures once you’re a parent. But, when you have a child, your life will certainly change dramatically, and you’ll be responsible for more than only yourself. In the first few years especially, when children need round–the-clock supervision, swanning off to a foreign country, or even to a movie, on a moment’s notice is going to be a lot harder. Children offer their own rewards, but don’t miss out on enjoying the amazing possibilities of your life right now. Take the time to do these things with your new spouse while you’re still a two-some.
If you’ve always dreamed of traveling to far-off destinations, now is your time. Talk to your partner about where you’d both like to go if you could visit anywhere in the world, and then see if you can make it happen. Obviously, you don’t want to bankrupt yourself, but you should consider this time as an opportunity to realize a life-long fantasy. Go big: Rent an apartment in Paris, go scuba diving in Australia, go backpacking in the mountains for three weeks—whatever pops into your head when you think “ultimate vacation.”
2. Splurge (a little)
Kids are crazy expensive, so this period when just the two of you are living on a dual income is a good time to treat yo selves. Don’t go crazy and spend all of your rent money, but let yourself let go a little: splurge on that purse you’ve been drooling over, that piece of tech you’ve been dying to get your hands on, or that spa day you’ve been meaning to give yourself but thought was too expensive. If you own a house together, fix up that bathroom that you hate.
3. Be spontaneous
Kids will bring a lot of amazing things into your life, but they require scheduling. While you’re still waiting to have kids, take the opportunity to be spontaneous. Go away for the weekend on a moment’s notice! Have an impromptu date night! Let yourself go out, and have a little more fun than you probably should.
4. Be lazy
Kids will inevitably make your life busier, so take the time in these newlywed years to be lazy. Let yourself sleep in on the weekends. Hang out in bed with your partner until noon. Spend a whole Saturday on the couch together, binge-watching Daredevil.
5. Get in shape
Once you have kids, getting to the gym or going for a run will be a luxury, so take the time now to do the physical activities you’ve always wanted to try. If you’ve been thinking about training for a marathon, go for it. If you’re into yoga, sign up for a 30-day challenge. If you love team sports, join a community team.
6. Get sexy
Dear god, have all the sex. ALL THE SEX. Once you have kids, your sex life may have to become a bit more...scheduled. So take the opportunity to indulge your sexual fantasies together. Be adventurous, try new things, and have sex in every room of your house. Because, for now, you don’t have to worry about an adorable little one interrupting you.
7. Be selfish
When you have a child, the days of being selfish and self-absorbed are over. So, now, it’s OK to let yourself be selfish, and it’s OK for you and your partner to be absorbed in each other. Let yourself do want you want to do, whatever that may be.
8. Get to know each other as spouses
The post-wedding/pre-baby months or years of your marriage are an important time for getting to know your spouse as a spouse. A lot of people already live together before marriage, so they might not expect much about their relationships to change, but marriage really does change a lot about how you and your partner will relate to each other. Take this time to really explore what marriage means to both of you and to your relationship.
9. Talk about the kid stuff. A LOT.
Making the decision to have a child is a big deal, one that will change your life forever. So it’s important that you and your new spouse spend A LOT of time talking about that choice: Do you both want kids? How do you want to raise them? What are your thoughts on religion? On education? On discipline? Obviously, there’s no way to hash out every single aspect of parenthood before you become a parent, but you want to make sure that you and your partner are on as much of the same page as possible.
10. Hang out with some kids
If you have nieces or nephews, or friends with children, take some time to hang out with them, as a couple. Doing so might give you a better sense of how both you and your partner relate to children.