Prepare and Enrich VS SYMBIS

Does Taking a Marriage Assessment Really Help Your Marriage?

I would say that this depends.  If you are asking about an assessment you either recognize that there is an issue in your marriage or you want to strengthen it.  Before we start on what an a marriage assessment is and does you first need to be in the right mind before you and your spouse takes one.  Here are some simple steps that I think you should take before taking the assessment.

Now on to Prepare and Enrich VS SYMBIS!

First Steps:

  1. Both of you want to take it.  There can not be a overbearing controlling spouse demanding that the other take an assessment.  For one there are more issues here than an assessment might fixed if one party feels forced to.  Another larger part is that you will skew the assessment results, if anyone is not in a right frame of mind when taking any assessment the taker will mess up the result.  Even more so if a husband or wife takes a marital assessment because they “have too” you as a couple will not get the result that you are looking for.  Both takers should want to, and be excited about the results that they will receive after.
  2. Be Honest and Don’t Rush. Some assessments have over 300 questions and will take about an hour or so to complete.  Don’t get overwhelmed but just take the test one page at a time, also it is a good thing that most test save the last page you completed so that you can come back to it.  If you notice that you are just answer questions to “get it done” then take a break and come back to it the next day.  Assessments are painless but do require effort and at times some thought, even though a lot of the time your first answer is the best answer.  Also don’t be afraid of your answers or how your spouse will view those answers, this again will skew the results.  Honesty is the best policy and worse case scenario you are bringing up something that you two need to work through and finding issues that you need to come together on is the whole idea of taking an assessment in the first place.
  3. Take Notes and Talk. If there is a question or a serous of questions that is bothering you or you realized that you have never talked about it with your spouse make a note of it.  As long as you are not changing your answers talking about it afterwards will only strengthen your long term results.  For example, if you never talk about your budget and through the assessment you realize this, then make some time to talk about your budget.

Prepare and Enrich Vs SYMBIS

Second Step:

  1. Depending on what assessment you take and we will go over them below you will either meet with an assessor or/and get a print out of your results.
  2. Take sometime and go over your results alone and then together.  Pro Tip: Take some notes so that you and your partner can go over them together.  If your assessment gives you the answers to the questions then make sure that you go over them together.
  3. Grace and Understanding.  Let me remind you that this is an assessment it is not the be all end all, this is a snapshot into what your spouse was feeling at the time.  As stated before taking the assessment on a bad day can skew the results.
    1. Insight. If you wanted some insight into your marriage then here it is, the results should give you the best insight that you can get. So take it as insight not as an insult.  If your spouse has trust issues, understand that they are their issues but you now know why they yell at you when you go out with the boys/girls.
  4. Don’t start a fight.  Assessments are not to prove who is right or wrong but so that you can see where each of you are in different area’s of your marriage.  This should bring you together and tear you apart.

Assessment Review:

Prepare and Enrich:

Let me start off by saying that we are Prepare and Enrich coaches this does not mean I have a bias over another I don’t and you will see why as you continue reading.

  • THE REVIEW – I would suggest this assessment to couples that are struggling, let me define what I mean as struggling with the following list:
    • A weekend away won’t fix your issues.
    • Conflict never gets resolved.
    • There is no intimacy or very little.
    • Constant arguing.
    • Thinking of going to a marriage counselor but feel it isn’t that bad yet.
    • You never go on dates.
    • You always argue about money.
    • Going to a marriage retreat seems like punishment.
    • Working on your marriage is too hard.
  • If all or most of the issues then I would push you towards this kind of assessment, the reason being is that there is now an assessor (aka marriage coach) that can look at your results and help you through the processing through your issues.  They/we try and give each couple tools that they can use so that you can come together with your spouse rather than continue to drift apart.  If you are on the boarder line of going to a counselor but you don’t think your marriage is that bad then this is an easy (and cheaper) step.  In the Prepare and Enrich assessment, if the couple is too far apart in the beliefs and in their issues then the assessor will highly recommend that you see a counselor.  If your marriage is above a certain threshold then you will just stay with the assessor, now by no means does it mean that the assessor is telling you that your marriage is beyond help.  They are just communicating that you need a different kind of help for example a marriage coach/assessor is not equipped to treat alcoholism they should send to you someone who specialized in that treatment.  I have talked to a ton of professional counselors and they refer their patients to other counselors because they don’t specialize in what the patient needs.
  • Pre-Marriage Coaching – It is common and a good idea for couples to go into premarital coaching before their big day.  This is a great idea and I encourage every one to do it.   Again you will have an assessor go through the results and this will cover everything from martial stress, daily budget, conflict resolution to honeymoon jitters.  This type of coaching puts you on the same page with your new spouse sooner than later, it helps the honeymoon experience last longer allowing you and your new honey to get on the same page and remove the rose color glasses that you might have on.  This is something that you should do with an assessor instead of on your own.


Developed by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrott, in talking with Leslie they used to use the above but found it too UN-user friendly so they decided to create on of there own.  I am not a SYMBIS Facilitator but have taken their assessment.

  • The Review:  I would suggest this to a couple that meet the following:
    • You want to spice things up in your marriage.
    • You feel like you are talking as much as you used too.
    • Your relationship is mundane.
    • You feel like a weekend away with some direction would change things.
    • You go on dates.
    • You are intimate
    • Going to a marriage retreat could solve some issues.
    • You want to work on your marriage.
    • Your marriage is OK but you want it to be great.
    • You can talk about hard/sensitive issues.
    • You don’t need direction and you are both committed to what you start.
    • You have started and completed a couples devotional.
  • This assessment is perfect for the DIY couple looking to better their marriage.  You get to see all of your answers and share them with one another (you do not with Prepare-Enrich you get an overview)  There are some helpful hints on how you can take your marriage to the next level.  Your next date nights are planned, with items to discuss so that you two can become more intimate.  This assessment requires more work on your part to get the most out of it, if you don;t do the work then you will get nothing and there isn’t anyone pushing you to do the work.

The truth is I view them as very different tools, you should pick the one that is going take you in the direction that you want to go.  Prepare and Enrich costs a lot more than SYMBIS in time, since the tests itself are about the same costs.  Both might cost more if the assessor/facilitator adds on a fee for their time, however when we took SYMBIS we were not attached to a facilitator we just got the results emailed to us.

Both of which are great for pre-martial counseling but SYMBIS is used mostly for pre-marital because it aligns with the Saving Your Marriage Before it Starts (AKA SYMBIS get it?) book that the Parrott’s have written.  Which a lot of pastors use when they are talking to pre-married couples.

Both also have a quick marital assessment, which can give you quick insights into your marriage which is perfect for couples to take once every few years (think of it as an oil change) just to make sure they are on the same page.  (this is what I believe that we took) neither of which have an assessor/facilitator you get the results.  Prepare and Enrich calls this a checkup and SYMBIS I think it is the same assessment they just alter what you get depending on how you answer the first initial questions. (such as are you married?)  Or this is just something they do when there is an event they hand out special codes for the “lite version” of SYMBIS.


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