My hubby and I have a couple friends who are engaged to be married, and since we have been happily married for almost 18 years we get asked for advice a lot.
Here is the absolute best marriage advice there is....Talk.
More importantly Talk and Listen to each other.
Talk about everything. Kids. Money. Religion. Politics.
Where your kids will go to school if you want kids (public, private or homeschool)? Will one of you stay home with the child/children or will they go to daycare? Will you have separate checking/savings accounts or combine them into one account? Do you both celebrate the same holidays? Do you both share the same views of religion? What about politics - do you share the same ideology?
Anything that is important to you needs to be discussed.
If you can't talk to your potential mate about something or they won't listen or discuss it - then you really should hold off getting married. Get these important issues settled before you tie the knot. This is the person you want to spend the rest of your life with. You should be able to tell him/her anything.
Another very important piece of advice is...Don't expect your partner to change.
Accept them the way they are.
If they are an absolute neat freak or continually leave messes everywhere just assume that's they way they will stay. Maybe they are obsessed with sports or she loves to collect scrapbooking supplies. That's who they are. Accept it.
We have seen too many people go into relationships wanting something while their partner didn't. A common problem we see is one wants kids and the other doesn't. Either resign yourself to the fact that kids aren't in your future or move on to someone who more shares your view for the future.
If it's important to you it should be discussed and both partners should agree to a common decision.
Working out these issues prior to getting married will cut down on some of the main reasons for divorce.