7 life events every couple should prepare for

Marriage offers plenty of opportunities for growth, new experiences and joy. Some big life events are ones new husbands and wives anticipate, while others may not be ones they consider. Here are seve major life events every couple should prepare for.

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  • Marriage offers plenty of opportunities for growth, new experiences and joy. As newlyweds with stars in your eyes, you anticipated a future filled with adorable babies, family time in your dream house, and even growing old together.

  • While it's easy to prepare for some life events, like marriage and the births of your children, other events, like losing a job or a parent, may not be ones you consider. Here are seven major life events you should discuss and prepare for.

  • Addition of a new child

  • It's easy to prepare your house for your new bundle of joy. But what about your marriage? One of the most important ways you can prepare for a new baby is to ensure you have created a solid foundation in your relationship with your spouse so you are best able to weather all the changes — hormones, sleep deprivation, financial demands — that will surely attend the addition of that new family member. Whether or not you have an official "babymoon," take plenty of time leading up to a birth or adoption to have fun together, talk and be that happy couple who started out dreaming of their future together.

  • Death of a parent

  • There's no easy way to emotionally prepare for the passing of a much-loved parent, but knowing all the facts about your parents' will and plans for the estate will make the post-funeral tasks easier to handle. Take time to sit down with your parents and understand exactly what their plans and wishes are, and make copies of relevant documents. Be sure to coordinate with your siblings as well so everyone is on the same page before a death.

  • Having an empty nest

  • Ok, so this one is way down the road, right? KJ Dell'Antonia explained in a New York Times article, "Between the day your child is born, and the time he or she turns 18, you get 940 Saturdays—and 260 of them…are gone by her fifth birthday."

  • The 18 or more years it takes to launch children into adulthood and independence can seem like a permanent state of (exhausting) affairs, but children really do eventually leave the nest. Spend those Saturdays making the most of your time together.

  • At the same time, prepare yourself for this new experience by building up other relationships, particularly with your spouse and close adult friends. Having a good support system of other loved ones in place can ease what really can be a grieving period.

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  • Job loss

  • No matter the economic climate, couples should learn ways to prepare for job loss. Forbes recommends understanding what your job or your spouse's job offers in the way of benefits and taking advantage of them as much as possible, updating a resume and networking, and watching every penny of your expenditures. The whole family should be involved in trying to reduce spending. Stock up on non-perishable food and other basic household items that can be stored and used when income is reduced.

  • Major health issues

  • While we often think about loss of income resulting from job loss, retirement or death of the main income provider and may prepare by saving, contributing to retirement accounts and buying life insurance, we don't tend to plan as often for a major illness. When either spouse faces a critical health problem, it can lead not just to loss of income but also to scary piles of health care bills, even when the family has health coverage. Being prepared for the financial costs in particular is vital, by always contributing to an emergency fund and even purchasing disability insurance.

  • Going back to school/new career

  • Our grandparents' generation tended to start a career and stick with it, even staying at the same company, for their entire working lives. Today, career trajectories are much different. Workers switch jobs on average every four-and-a-half years, and many switch careers, including going back to school to train for them. Getting ready for these huge changes can be daunting, but one tip stands out: Have a clear and detailed plan in place before quitting a job to do something new. Whether it's the husband or wife, make sure the spouse is on board and ready to support, cheer on and offer specific help as the career-changer works through the steps of the plan.

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  • Natural disasters or other emergencies

  • With so much of life often seeming uncertain, it's possible to gain some peace of mind by preparing not just for typical life events but for natural disasters. Start small by finding out what kinds of weather and other natural crises typically hit your area and prepare for those by creating detailed family plans. Save water and food. Make first-aid kits and backpacks filled with items that will tide over each family member for a short time, like three days. Talk about possibilities and plans as a couple and then include children so everyone can contribute ideas and know what to do in case of emergency.

  • Married life will certainly bring a host of challenges as well as triumphs, but preparing early on for common events will help a couple more easily realize their dreams.

  • Whether you have a new baby, lose your job, or need easy-to-make food on-hand, Relief Foods will help you prepare. Check out their delicious, easy-to-make food options to get you through even the craziest of events in your life.

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Cathy Carmode Lim is the founder of RatedReads.com, a website that reviews books and gives them ratings according to content. She is also a copy editor and blogs at LifeandLims.com.

Website: http://RatedReads.com

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