Peter Pearson

Here’s something you can do for your relationship today. It’s called The Daily Double. You earn two points today by doing two positive things on the positive list below, while avoiding doing any of the negative behaviors from the list at the end.

Let’s up the ante and go for the Thirty Day Challenge. Do The Daily Double for 30 days straight. If you slip up and do one of the negative behaviors in the box at the end of this article, start over again at Day 1 until you have 30 consecutive Daily Doubles. Be sure to track your accomplishments every day.

Why do this practice? Your brain cannot be appreciative and simultaneously be angry, fearful or resentful. It’s like trying to breathe in and out at the same time – you can’t do it.

Ways to be Positive

    1. I listened to difficult comments and kept my cool.
    2. I was able to recap what I was hearing in a conversation which slowed things down to a more manageable conversation.
    3. I expressed compassion in a difficult situation.
    4. When I felt I needed to solve a problem, I first asked my partner if they wanted advice.
  1. I used some appropriate humor, which my partner appreciated.
  2. I asked several questions before butting in with my reactions.
  3. I took several relaxing breaths instead of negatively commenting on an annoying habit.
  4. I expressed appreciation at least twice today and expressed why I was appreciative.
  5. I took a time out instead of continuing a downward spiral argument.
  6. I apologized for my part in a bad situation or conversation.
  7. I went out of my way to do something nice for my partner.
  8. I had kind and loving thoughts about my partner today.
  9. When I had negative thoughts about my partner, I shifted to thinking about what I appreciated.
  10. I emailed my partner at least one appreciation today.
  11. I texted my partner at least one appreciation today.
  12. I said both “please” and “thank you” today.
  13. I made better eye contact today.
  14. I kept my voice tone positive during a difficult discussion.
  15. I told my partner how I would like them to respond to me before talking about a difficult topic. For example, “I just want you to listen with concern. No advice needed, just support.”
  16. I looked for something positive in my partner today then expressed it.
  17. I asked questions about my partner’s perspectives and reality.
  18. I took the initiative to do something I knew my partner would value (that I don't usually take the initiative to do).
  19. I thought about how I aspired to be before having a difficult discussion, for example, to be curious about my partner’s perspective, be patient, be calm, be assertive, be concise, be considerate, be understanding, etc. (Focusing on how you aspire to be is an exceptionally good way to immediately have better discussions.)
  20. Today I practiced being:
  • Affectionate
  • Kind
  • Generous
  • Supportive
  • Caring
  • Curious and asking good questions vs telling or preaching
  • Understanding vs pushing my perspective
  • Thoughtful and considerate
  • Grateful for things I usually take for granted

And, if you do something positive today that’s not on the list, write it down and count it – and congratulate yourself.

 

Another way to collect two points a day – give yourself one point if you were tempted to do one or more of the negative behaviors below, but stopped yourself.

Today I avoided these negative behaviors:

  • Interrupting
  • Name calling
  • Blaming/accusing
  • Raising my voice inappropriately
  • Being vague about what I wanted
  • Criticizing what my partner wanted
  • Changing the topic during a difficult discussion
  • Asking blaming questions like, “Why do you always…?”
  • Psychoanalyzing my partner during a difficult discussion
  • Becoming resentfully compliant
  • Saying “never”
  • Pouting
  • Withdrawing
  • Acting like a victim

 

 

 

About 

Peter Pearson, Ph.D., Relationship & Teamwork Expert for Entrepreneur Couples

Pete has been training and coaching couples to become a strong team since 1984 when he co-founded The Couples Institute with his psychologist wife, Ellyn Bader.

Their popular book, “Tell Me No Lies,” is about being honest with compassion and growing stronger as a couple.

Pete has been featured on over 50 radio and television programs including “The Today Show,” "Good Morning America,” and "CBS Early Morning News,” and quoted in major publications including “The New York Times,” “Oprah Magazine,” “Redbook,” “Cosmopolitan,” and “Business Insider.”

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Michael Levine
Michael Levine
5 years ago

I set up an excel spreadsheet to log in each of our Daily Double actions

Pete Pearson
Pete Pearson
5 years ago

I like your initiative – a good way to keep your focus
Pete

A Glossary of Terms that are sometimes Confusing

Couples Therapy is a counseling procedure that seeks to improve the adjustment of two people who have created an interdependent relationship. There are no standard procedures to help two people improve their adjustments to each other. Generally, a more experienced therapist will offer more perspectives and tools to a couple. Length of treatment will depend on severity of problems, motivation and skills of the therapist. A couple can be dating, living together, married or separating and may be gay, lesbian or heterosexual.

Marriage Therapy is a term often used interchangeably with marriage counseling. The term marriage implies two people have created a union sanctioned by a government or religious institution. The methods used in marriage counseling, marriage therapy and couples therapy are interchangeable and depend more on the specific challenges of each unique couple.

Psychotherapy is one or more processes to help improve psychological and emotional functioning. Examples are psychoanalysis, cognitive therapy, behavior therapy, Gestalt therapy, Transactional Analysis, Rational-Emotive therapy, or group therapy. Many forms of psychotherapy are blends of different approaches. For example, newer forms of psychotherapy called energy psychology draw upon recent advances in brain and neuroscience. These approaches often build on cognitive behavioral methods.

Clinical Psychologist. After graduating from college, it usually takes about five years of graduate school to get a Ph.D. in Psycholgy. It then requires an additional two years of supervision and passing a written (and often) an oral exam. There are a few states that allow psychologists to prescribe medications (with additional training) but that is uncommon.

Psychiatrist. After graduation from medical school, there is a generally a 4-year psychiatric residency. After the completion of this training, psychiatrists must pass an exam issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology to obtain certification and legally practice in the field. Psychiatrists can prescribe medications.

Clinical Social Worker. This profession usually requires two years of study after obtaining an undergraduate degree. While specific licensure requirements vary by state, most require clinical social workers to obtain 3,000 hours or 2 years of supervised clinical experience, after obtaining a Masters degree. Social workers can also specialize in diverse fields such as human services management, social welfare analysis, community organizing, social and community development, and social and political research.

Marriage and Family Therapist. Obtaining this license requires a Masters degree which takes approximately two years of post graduate study. The license also requires 3000 hours of supervised work and passing written exams.

The Couples Institute. We have assembled a group of top notch therapists at The Couples Institute. Whatever marriage help or marriage advice you are looking for, we are here to serve you. While most other therapists see only a few couples a week, we specialize in marriage and couples relationships, working to develop and bring you the most current and effective approaches to couples therapy. For more information about couples therapy or marriage counseling, see our couples therapy section.