Research summarized in Kelly, Fincham, and Beach (2003) confirms clinicians’ experience that distressed couples do less constructive problem solving than happy couples. Consequently, I included the PREP problem-solving template (Markman et al., 2001) in the Marriage 101 course curriculum. I also began to teach it to my clients and to try it out in my own marriage. I was impressed by improved results and began to read more widely about the subject. PREP lays out the following step-by-step sequence:

• Preliminary problem discussion, usingthespeaker-listener technique. • Agenda setting: narrowing the scope of the discussion. • Brainstorming: opening up the discussion to all possible solutions. • Plan specification: working toward agreement and compromise. • Follow-up: assessing results and modifying solutions.