What can lower your risk for strokes, heart disease, depression, and possibly even lower the risk of some advanced cancers?

If you guessed a food or supplement, you might be surprised by the answer.

Engaged couples have a lot to look forward to. Marriage, according to a study of over 25,000 patients in Britain, reduces the severity and further risk of cardiovascular episodes.

Other facts are sobering: nearly half of marriages in the United States will end in divorce.

While you can’t guarantee a successful marriage, knowing you’re on the same page is crucial before saying I do.

Even if you don’t go down the route of formal premarital counseling, at very least make sure you ask, or know the answers to these questions before heading down the aisle:

  1. How important is having kids? You may not know yourself yet if you want to raise a family, or maybe you’re certain you do. Either way, it’s important to ask what your partner wants. A disagreement on such a large issue may be non-negotiable for some.
  2. How will we decide our budget? It’s far from romantic, but just as you’d plan a budget for your wedding, you also need to discuss the cost of daily living and be open about each other’s expected income. You’ll also want to make sure to talk about how much you feel comfortable spending on non essentials, like entertainment, travel, and even donating to nonprofits.
  3. What role does religion play in your life? Do you or your future spouse believe in God? What religion and denomination do they practice? How big of a role does it play, and would there be an expectation to attend services (or not attend) together? For couples of different faiths, how would possible children be raised?
  4. Sleeping habits: Some of us could sleep through anything, and some of us wake at the slightest sound. Areas of contention: bedroom temperature, noise (do you or your future spouse need white noise or TV or total silence), and mattress firmness. This by no means should be reasons not to get married, but it’s still a good idea to get an idea of preferences and see how you can compromise to make sure you’re both comfortable.
  5. Family matters: How often do you expect to see family on either side, and how will you handle holidays? This is especially important if one of both of you is living far away from family members. You’ll need to discuss, for instance, if you’ll have two Thanksgiving dinners or rotate by year.

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