Ep. 67: Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts:
Dr. Les Parrott

Is marriage a crapshoot?

My guest today says no. He argues that couples who take a proactive approach to marriage have the best chance at having the most successful relationships. 

His name is Les Parrott, and he’s a clinical psychologist specializing in marriage and family. He, along with his wife Leslie, who’s also a marriage therapist, wrote Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts: Seven Questions to Ask Before — And After — You Marry.

Les and I discuss how a person knows if he or she is ready for marriage, the myths people have about marriage that set them up for disappointment, and the 5 attitudes young people have about marriage that speak volumes about how the future success of their own marriages. We will also discuss the common traits of happily married couples.

While our conversation is geared toward engaged couples or newlyweds, even if you’ve been married a long time there are definite takeaways in this podcast that you won’t to miss.


3:15   You can only be as healthy as the “least healthy” partner in the relationship.

4:00  The most important thing you can do for your relationship is work on yourself.

4:20  How to cope when you’re working on yourself and your spouse isn’t

6:00 If you try to build intimacy with a person before you’ve taken care of your own issues, all your relationships become an attempt to complete yourself and they’ll fall flat.

6:40  We never really “arrive”; we’re always in progress.

9:15  How a couple manages conflict is a big factor in how successful a marriage will be

10:30-12:20  Les discusses “good” fighting. A good fight results in deeper intimacy and allows both parties to be heard.

12:24  Les explains  important aspects of self-awareness, including “authenticity”

15:15 – 23:13  Les explains the 5 attitudes young people have towards marriage: “resolute,” “rational,” “romantic,” “restless,” and “reluctant.”

23:40  The benefits of pre-marital counseling

30:25  SYMBIS, or Saving Your Marriage Before It Starts, is about learning how to “match well” and how to leverage that to have the best relationship you can have

36:24  Les talks about the 3 ingredients of romantic love: “passion,” “intimacy,” and “commitment”  and how these 3 ingredients are fluid and change throughout the course of a relationship

43:00 How having a baby changes the marital dynamic

45:00- Les discusses his program betterlove.com

Suzanne Venker

Suzanne is an author, a coach, and a podcast host committed to helping women let go of cultural beliefs that undermine their happiness in life and in love.