October 25, 2019

There are two goals on the race to wedding day. Goal #1 is ceremony preparation. Goal #2 is marriage preparation.  These are not one and the same. And truthfully you need to win at both.

Wedding Day is unlike any other day. There is energy and excitement.  It is a joy to step into the lives of a couple at their happiest moment.  But wedding day aside, I enjoy talking with couples about their relationship, all the days before and after. There is always an interesting journey (sometimes a broken road as well) that leads the couple together. While every aisle is paved with obstacles, every love story is beautiful in how they overcome them,

But there is a harsh reality to wedding day.  It is the day after!  Once the wedding is over, there is a coming down off the mountain. And that "cool down" process means going back to work and getting on with this new chapter.  The "high" of wedding day cannot be maintained indefinitely.  It is the process of premarital counseling that makes sure the days, months and years after are fruitful and meaningful.

The "high" of wedding day cannot be maintained indefinitely.

Sometimes, I will hear couples whisper (or shout) on wedding day, “We did it!”  And there is a real sense of crossing the finish line on wedding day. Coordinating this massive event is no small feat and every year it seems like weddings just get bigger and crazier. And while I cannot say it on wedding day, I want to pull the couple to the side and remind them, this isn’t the finish line. The clap of the starter pistol has just shocked you from the running blocks.  The race has just begun.

The race has just begun

I have used a number of counseling tools in my work with couples, but the "premium" counseling tool for us is the SYMBIS assessment.  SYMBIS stands for Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts. Even the title speaks in a powerful way. We are not just hoping or wishing, we are actively saving, even before it begins.

I heard a story once about a kayaking instructor. In order to learn kayaking, he had to teach students how to handle certain situations if they were in distress, if the boat flips over or if worse comes to worse, they have to be rescued! The instructor would say, "participate in your own rescue." Wise words on the water and wise words for couples. Participating or planning for your rescue insures that a marriage does not capsize as well. SYMBIS helps you be the rescuer, the lifeguard of your own marriage even before it is in trouble.

Participate in your own rescue!

You can build your marriage on more than a hope and a prayer. The SYMBIS and SYMBIS+ Assessments gives you a personalized road map to making your marriage everything it was meant to be.

SYMBIS is as assessment developed by Les and Leslie Parrott. It is a comprehensive marriage preparation program. SYMBIS covers everything: finances, personalities, conflict styles, communication preferences and your love life.  SYMBIS looks at the motivations for why you two are together and what your mindsets and motivations for marriage truly are.

The process takes a couple all the way to answering some of the deepest questions about what you really want in this relationship.  These conversations help couples dive deep and develop a soul to soul connection.


1. What is the Cost?

For wedding couples, first and foremost, we do not require you to take the SYMBIS assessment. It is optional. But we strongly recommend it. If our couples want to take the SYMBIS assessment and have us facilitate the conversation and process, the cost is an additional $150 which covers the cost of the assessment tool as well. We just incorporate SYMBIS into our premarital counseling process.  If SYMBIS is something you would like to explore, contact us now. Typically, SYMBIS would be three additional meetings above the two meetings we usually do with our engaged couples.

2. What if We Are Already Married?

We would be more than happy to take you through the SYMBIS assessment as a married couple. Many couples got engaged and got too focused on the ceremony part. They are a few years in to a marriage and realize that maybe they need some work. In the course of answering the assessment questions, once SYMBIS knows you are married it tailors the experience to you. Whether you are newlyweds or have twenty years together, it can be an incredible reboot for your relationship. For married couples the cost is $300 which covers the meetings and the assessment tool. Most couples can complete the process in three or four meetings.

3. What if we have another officiant doing the service?

We actually run into this frequently. Maybe you have a pastor already doing your ceremony. Or maybe it is a friend or family doing the ceremony and you honestly don't want them to do your counseling or they are not trained to do this. For these couples, the cost is $300 which covers the meetings and the assessment tool. Again, most couples can complete the process in 3-4 meetings.

4. We would love to reconnect with our officiant, but we don’t live in Ohio or Pennsylvania anymore.  

No worries, we can do meetings over the phone or on a Zoom call. If we officiated your wedding years ago, we would love to lead you through SYMBIS

5. What is the process?

We send you an email invitation to the assessment. Once both partners finish taking the online questionnaire the report comes to your facilitator. The report is then forwarded to the couple and we schedule our first meeting. If you would like to get started with SYMBIS, click on the Facilitator Badge below or send us an email at

To listen to our Podcast interview with Dr. Les Parrott, click here

Interested in hearing more?

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