Start Smart

Please Note: You only need one Start Smart inventory per couple.
Once You register you will receive an email with detailed instructions on how to continue.


When it comes to your most valuable relationships, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure! Start Smart is a fun, interactive experience for engaged couples. This relationship education program teaches the basic skills to love better and build a solid foundation for your marriage. Start Smart helps provide couples practical communication and conflict resolution skills essential for a strong, healthy, life-long marriage. After all, do you want the 5 Year Plan or the 50 Year Plan for your marriage? Start Smart also helps you discover how different personality types and different perspectives impact a relationship.

Most couples face their most serious challenges during the first five years of marriage. Through active marriage preparation, many of these problems can be avoided, or at least minimized, so they don’t become toxic to an early marriage.

Start Smart is a comprehensive premarital program with 4 core elements:

A premarital inventory driven by current research that provides a comprehensive, unique profile of each premarital couple, and measures their strengths and growth areas in 13 critical categories needed for a successful marriage.

The cost of the Start Smart Inventory is $25 per couple.

A 56 page workbook packed with innovative exercises and meaningful content regarding expectations, finances, personalities and perspectives, sexuality and intimacy, communication and conflict resolution. The Start Smart workbook is free for couples who purchase the inventory, and printed as a pdf file.

Five optional mentoring sessions with trained “Marriage Coaches” to process Start Smart inventory results and workbook exercises. Marriage Coaches use the Inventory Report as an outline for facilitating appropriate and on-target discussion. The Start Smart Report is easy to follow, and is intended to maximize the premarital experience by tailoring discussion to the individual couple and by providing follow-up questions, coaching tips, and current research

Experiential learning of specific communication and conflict resolution skills crucial to healthy marriage.

Many young couples’ expectations of marriage revolve around the false belief that love will get them through rough times. While love is important, it won’t be enough if you do not have the basic knowledge and skills for a successful marriage. Lasting marriages require partners who respect one another, have gained knowledge about what makes marriage work, and have developed skills that will help the relationship go the distance.

Start Smart was authored by Richard Albertson, Founding President and CEO of Live the Life.

After you purchase your Start Smart Inventory, you will receive a document which includes detailed instructions on how to complete the Start Smart inventory (you will BOTH need to provide an email address), how to select a marriage mentor/coach if you have one, and how to download the Start Smart workbook as a pdf file.

Actual quotes from Start Smart participants:

“We just celebrated 6 years of marriage. I cannot express to you how much our Start Smart premarital counseling with you and your precious wife have helped us not merely survive these past 6 years but to enjoy the past 6 years. We were so blessed to have started our marriage with the wisdom and tools you taught us. We now live in Tulsa, OK and have 2 beautiful boys. These past 6 years have been some of the hardest in my life but my marriage to Richard has been my calm in the storm. I tell all those around me who are getting married to make sure they get good, quality premarital counseling beforehand because it makes all the difference.” Richard and Malerie

“Hard to believe it’s been 14 years since we completed Start Smart and my wife said ‘yes.’ Even harder to believe the last 14 years have added 5 kiddos. But the hardest thing to believe is the ways God has blessed us far beyond what we deserve. Marriage is hard and love is a decision. Especially if you decide to marry a knucklehead like me. I am forever thankful for Richard and Elizabeth Albertson who stood by us when it felt like the world was against us. Without their love and support this family would not be what it is. We love you so much.” Brian

“At Crossroads Church, we believe Start Smart is so vital, our church won’t marry a couple unless they are willing to complete the program. The combination of the candid online inventory completed by the prospective bride and groom, followed by in-person sessions with a mentor couple are essential building blocks for a lasting marriage. Misconceptions and difficult topics, such as finances and communication, are addressed before the couple says ’I do.’ This enables them to successfully meet the challenges they will certainly face in their relationship. Most couples spend a year planning a wedding, and no time at all preparing for the marriage. The staff and leadership of Live the Life are committed to help couples find the 50-year plan, rather than the 5-year plan, for their marriage. Strong marriages build strong families which build strong communities.”

“I have been searching for years for just the right materials and method for helping couples prepare properly for marriage and I have finally found them in Start Smart from Live the Life. Start Smart not only covers all of the issues that really need to be covered prior to marriage, but it covers them in a thoroughly biblical and intelligent way. The on-line assessment that the couples complete and the reports that are then generated are priceless, giving unique and valuable insights, not only to the couples, but to the counselor. It’s the most effective program for pre-marital counseling that I’ve come across and I highly recommend it.” Tom Hendriske, Sr. Pastor, Rio Vista Community Church Ft. Lauderdale, FL