As a Houston marriage counselor, I know that relationship help doesn’t have to involve elaborate tools. Sometimes the best therapy just involves a calendar and willingness on the part of two people.

Let me back up a little bit before I explain where the calendar comes in. I practice Imago therapy, a method developed by Helen and Harville Hendrix. Before creating Imago, they realized they needed to do something about the negativity in their relationship. To cut negativity out of their lives, they challenged themselves to track their “zero negativity” days on a calendar. This seemingly simple method became a transformational experience for them and gave them the relationship help they needed to start healing and renewing their love.

Houston Marriage Counselor: Try the 30 Day Zero Negativity Challenge

I really admire the practices of Helen and Harville, and I want to urge my clients and readers to try their own 30 Day Zero Negativity Challenge. The goal, of course, is to keep track of 30 consecutive days when you and your partner don’t say or do anything negative to one another.

You might think that negativity isn’t a problem in your relationship, but it’s possible that you’ve been negative without even realizing it. Negativity is defined as any interaction that your partner experiences as hurtful, so before starting the challenge open up an honest dialogue with them to determine if they have been hurt by anything you’ve said or done recently. Part of the purpose of the challenge is to become aware of how you affect your partner emotionally.

While completing the 30 Day Zero Negativity Challenge, you should also focus on adding positivity to your relationship. When I do this with my Houston marriage counselor clients, I set a goal for them to give each other three new sincere appreciations per day – face-to-face unless one of them has to be out of town. If one of you forgets or does not get to three appreciations in a day, start over and keep trying until you get to 30 consecutive days. At that point, appreciating each other will hopefully feel so natural that you don’t have to think about it anymore.

This 30 Day Challenge isn’t always the easiest at the beginning, but it can provide the relationship help you and your partner need to become a more open and loving couple. This activity is geared towards couples who have some experience with Imago therapy, either by attending a workshop or talking with an Imago therapist, but you don’t have to have previous experience to cut out negativity and increase positivity. If you’re interested in trying this challenge, consider visiting my Houston marriage counselor practice to learn more about showing intentionality and strengthening your relationship.