A scary truth about the United States today is that more marriages end up in divorce than happily ever after. No one envisions needing to split apart when preparing for their white wedding, but unfortunately, if a marriage isn't handled and prepared for properly, that may be a future possibility. With a new, independent culture, it's difficult for husband and wife to simply merge together after the big day and live until death do them part. It's important to understand some of the important dynamics of marriage and discuss them ahead of time to cut out some of the anxiety and stress from merging later on. A few, difficult heartfelt discussions before you walk down the aisle can make all the difference, especially when you, too, are chasing your "Happily Ever After" with your beloved fiancé.

Make sure to discuss your religion and beliefs long before the wedding bells ring. In the long run, this is going to be so much more important than just figuring out who you will want for a wedding officiant. Some individuals are raised religious or spiritual and choose not to be as an adult, vice versa, and a combination thereof: discuss where and when religion is going to be important to you in your married life, such as holiday traditions or when raising children. Having different views is never a bad thing in a relationship, it's just important to be on the same page to eliminate future "surprises."

Set up your money guidelines and budgeting before the big day. There is a good possibility that, even as a couple, you were both living independently and used to supporting yourselves. Discuss what you're going to do with your current moneys and accounts, as well as your future paychecks and bounces/gifts. Just because you're used to allotting yourself a certain amount doesn't mean he will feel comfortable with the agreement and vice versa. Set yourselves a budget and spending plan; you're going to have new expenses, but also a second income, so all of your goals and allotments will have to be changed or manipulated. Also, be careful with keeping accounts and independence. It may seem like an okay idea now, but it can cause arguments and uncertainty later on (worrying about full disclosure and who's funding what).

As simple as it sounds, one of the single most important topics to go over before saying your "I Do's" is what it means to be married, and what it means to be a husband or wife. Too often couples end up going their separate ways (once it's already too late) because of this miscommunication - their different views on marriage and roles. You may see a marriage as a perfect partnership, with roles, rights, and responsibilities split right down the middle between husband and wife; he may have more traditional views, wanting to be able to support you entirely, allowing you to stay home, raise a family, and take care of the home. Both are full of love and respect, but both are two completely different ideals; you may want to be a stay at home mom, while he excepts there to always be two, full-time incomes coming into the home. Establish POSSIBLE expectations and desires ahead of the game to ensure you're both entering your marriage with 100% support and understanding.

 source: L.I. Weddings