A Lasting Promise -- The Christian Guide to Fighting For Your Marriage
by Scott Stanley, Ph.D.; Daniel Trathen, D.Min., Ph.D.; Savanna McCain, Ph.D. and Milt Bryan, M.A.

[NOTE] Publishing companies require their authors to title a book so it reaches the widest possible audience.
So this book that is beneficial to counselors (which would sell fewer copies) is titled as if it is written only for married couples (a wider audience).
This book is based upon 40 years of university-based research about what makes marriages fail or thrive.
PREP was begun by Dr. Howard Markman in the late 1970s at the University of Denver (The Prevention and Relationship Enhancement Program).
Author Scott Stanley, Ph.D., was a co-founder of PREP. This book is invaluable for counselors because it is evidence-based -- it contains what specific attitudes, behaviors, and strategies will make a marriage work.
Gary J. Oliver, Ph.D. in Psychology, who endorses this book, says "counseling professionals will benefit professionally from this resource."
And Scott Stanley says, " Because of its roots in solid research and its straightforward approach, PREP has received a great deal of attention from...professionals in the field of marital and relationship education and counseling." (p. xiii)

This book addresses the Continuing Education content areas of:

1. Counseling Theory/Practice and the Helping Relationship, particularly,
A. "historic and well-established contemporary counseling theories" -- The 40 years of research-based PREP program.
B. "principles and techniques of counseling and their application in professional counseling settings"
     About PREP, the author states that "Many studies underlying this book have been conducted at the University of Denver by Dr. Howard Markman,
     Scott Stanley, Galena Rhoades, and their colleagues. However, we've also developed strategies based upon scores of published studies from around
     the world. We focus on the good stuff -- that which is most clear, and research that is well conducted." (p. xiii)
2. Social and Cultural Foundations, particularly,
A. "couples and families", with the emphasis upon what makes marriages thrive.
B. "religious/ spiritual issues" -- Key spiritual topics include praying for one's marriage (Chapter 3), the power of commitment (Chapter 14),
      forgiveness and restoration (Chapter 15), and spiritual blessings and intimacy (Chapter 16).

Counselors who study this book will acquire the skills to help their married clients:

  1. Adjust their martial expectations to a realistic level.
  2. Acquire practical marital skills in addition to their spiritual disciplines of reading the Bible, praying, etc.
  3. Identify the four destructive habits of escalation, invalidation, negative interpretations, and withdrawal and avoidance.
  4. Give thanks to God for what is going well in their marriage, and how to pray for God to reveal their own shortcomings and weaknesses.
  5. Ask God for help to forgive their spouses for actual wrongdoing (sins like calling them degrading names) as well as things they just don't like about
      them (non-sinful things such as being messy, overweight, or not having the same interests).
  6. Do good things without expecting something in return.
  7. Intentionally make time for fun, friendship, and physical connection.
  8. Use the Speaker-Listener technique. How couples can realistically talk to each other without fighting, even when one of them has a bad day. How
      they should never focus on past arguments because they never result in agreements.
  9. Distinguish between long-term love and infatuation.
10. Cultivate good sleep habits.
11. Identify those larger themes, or "hidden issues", that are fueling their conflicts, such as power, caring, recognition, commitment, and acceptance.
12. Solve common problems such as getting both spouses to help with household chores.
13. Protect their marriage from past romantic partners, pornography, as well as build fun and positive experiences.
14. Develop successful and pleasing love-making habits. Chemical changes that occur during pleasurable activities such hugging, sex, and holding
15. Asking their spouses what type of support they need right now.
16. See the positive outcome of "constraint commitment".
17. Understand what true forgiveness is versus the common misperceptions of it.
18. Learn effective habits for managing their money from Dave Ramsey.