Making Marriage Counseling Mainstream

by Steven Dziedzic

I counsel America’s couples. 

But I don’t do it through traditional relationship counseling. I do it by synthesizing decades of marriage research into bite-sized, app-based exercises that help couples open up emotionally. 

The app is called Lasting, and our mission is to make marriage counseling simple. Every day, we're building stronger, healthier marriages. It’s the most fulfilling job I’ve ever had—a true expression of my faith. We help real couples with one of life’s most important callings through a scaleable, redemptive venture.

And it all started with The Knot, the leader in wedding planning that touches the majority of every new marriage in America.

Five years ago, my first startup got acquired by The Knot. My first job there was to redesign its flagship app, The Knot Wedding Planner, and every week, like clockwork, I’d interview new couples about their wedding planning journey to inform my efforts. 

I loved talking with these couples (mostly because I was a newly engaged person myself). I loved hearing about how they met; how they went about finding a DJ; how they created their guest list; how they fought about their guest list; but mostly, I enjoyed hearing about their relationships and why they were getting married.

Even early at The Knot, it became apparent to me that there was an opportunity to help today’s couples and their marriages, especially with regard to expectation-setting.

There's a big disconnect with people’s expectations about marriage.

Every day, competing ideologies are misleading the masses about what marriage is really all about. Most are fed a story about how marriage is about personal gain—but that’s not what the Bible says, nor is it what scientific research says.

According to the Bible, marriage is a reflection of Christ's relationship to His Church—a relationship of connection, commitment, and sacrifice. Science mimics the Biblical view. According to research, emotional connection is the foundation of marriage, and commitment and sacrifice have all sorts of positive, causal effects on marriage health and family health.

However, most people don’t enter marriage with this viewpoint, resulting in a total mismatch of expectations.  

I knew that we could make a massive impact, if only we could make working on your marriage as simple as opening up an app.

And so, inspired by my faith, I got the desire to bring marriage counseling into the mainstream. 

Amazingly, as I set off to build this new company, I found out that the executives at XO Group Inc. (the parent company of The Knot) shared my heart for marriage, too. In fact, we even articulated the mission in the same way: we wanted to "lower America’s divorce rate in our generation."

The end result? We worked out a partnership to create Lasting under the XO Group umbrella to give us a far greater chance of reaching as many couples as possible. XO not only owns The Knot, but also The Bump, which is the leading resource for first-time millennial parents.

We're two years into Lasting, and it's already the #1 marriage counseling app in the nation. Slowly but surely, we are making marriage preparation and counseling a cultural expectation in our time. It won't be easy, but we won't stop until it is.

If you'd like to join with me in this mission and help the marriages of your employees or your congregation, I'm at I'd love that.

In Him.

Editor's Note:  I first got to know Steve while he was at the Knot and we served together as mentors in the Praxis program.  Praxis is all about helping redemptive entrepreneurs.  It's so cool to see how Steve's interaction with Praxis has helped him now launch Lasting....really cool to see a Kingdom virtuous circle. - HK