I often tell dating couples that I'm a big fan of pre-engagement counseling. I think trying to work out key issues during engagement can be difficult, and few would be willing to call off the wedding even if red flags came up during pre-marital counseling. Too many couples get engaged without figuring out really important things... and then it's too late, more or less.
We were hanging out with some newlywed friends recently and chatted about the informal pre-engagement counseling we did with them. As we talked, we wondered why pre-natal counseling didn't exist. Maybe it does, but I haven't heard of it.
I've heard from many that having a baby changes your life more than getting married does. Getting married means partnering with someone for life. That's some side-by-side action. Becoming a parent means your life is merged with somebody's for 18 or so years. Maybe more depending on how your empty nesting goes. That's intense! Heck, God even made a built-in 9 month engagement time before becoming a parent.
In a Research Methods class in grad school, we read an article about the relationship between becoming parents and marital and life satisfaction. The stats were rather grim.
I got to go do more research and develop my materials. Discuss topics such as financial readiness and emotional preparedness for the commitment of caring for someone's whole well-being.
I'm going to be rich and famous!