I adore my husband. He's my best friend, my strength and the half that makes me whole, but marriage can do wonky things- even to the strongest of couples. Jay and I are definitely more haggard than we were before we got married. We work opposite shifts so that one of us can be with our son at all times and we sacrifice for the good of our family (something I wouldn't change for the world), but it means that our sleep, meal times and time together are completely thrown off.

There have absolutely been days that I've lost my cool at Jay out of sheer exhaustion and not because of anything he did. Marriage is hard work and it takes both people putting in 100% for it to work. Humans are humans and sometimes we stumble, but as long as we pick ourselves back up and forge forward with all that we've got, we've got a fighting chance.

I'm really thankful that Jay and I discussed serious things before we got married. It really solidified the importance of open communication and it also helped prevent quite a few potentially unhappy surprised when we did get married.

You'll notice that whenever there's a monumental life event, it seems like people come out of the woodwork to offer advice and while I do believe that they mean well, it can be stifling and confusing. However, if you and your fiancé talk things over before exchanging vows, life will be so much easier. Trust me on this.

I'm not the only one who thinks it vital to cover your bases before getting married.
Women's Health magazine says there are four very important things to discuss before saying "I do."

  • 1

    Finances

    Oh my goodness is this HUGE. I grew up poor and not only knew what it was to go without, but had to work hard starting at a young age to help my household. Jay grew up in a middle class family and never wanted for anything. Basically, we grew up in two completely different financial situations. Being on the same page when it comes to spending habits is massively important.  If you're going into the marriage with debt, your partner needs to know about it. If you expect to go shopping every weekend, your partner needs to know about it. If you're a frugal penny pincher, your partner needs to know. Honesty is key.

  • 2

    Family Dynamic

    Again, my husband and I couldn't be more opposite when it comes to our family dynamic. I'm fiercely independent. I moved away from home as a teen and haven't looked back. I've worked hard and paid my own way through life. On the other hand, Jay's parents are uber involved in the lives of their adult kids- offering financial support, constant advice and instruction. It was so important for us to discuss our family dynamic before getting married- so that we each knew what we were getting into because as much as you might think you're marrying a person, you're actually marrying their family.

  • 3

    Sharing Space

    This is one area in which my husband and I failed with our discussion. I didn't really take into consideration that he might have a collection of every sports magazine ever published or a shoe collection that toppled 100. And he probably didn't take into consideration my 5,000+ collection of books or my affinity for collecting random kitchen gadgets. If we ever have to consolidate and  move into a smaller house, I'll probably bawl. If you've got a ton of stuff, it's not a bad idea to go through and purge before getting married because once you're married, sharing is the name of the game.

  • 4

    Intimacy

    You might not be able to keep your hands off each other right now, but life happens. And with life comes exhaustion and worry. And we can't forget body image issues that creep in after having a baby or packing on some extra pounds. These are things you should talk about now because it's easy for feelings to get hurt when intimacy tapers off if you don't discuss in advance.