I remember several years ago (80’s) when it became all the rage to talk to your plants.  The thought behind this was that plants reflected the emotion around them – people ran tests where they spoke badly to plants, “Stupid plant, you’re never going to grow” and positively, “You are a lush and vibrant plant.”  I actually know someone who heard that and ran a test.  Of her two ferns, one was sickly and the other was amazingly beautiful.  All based on her words.

Rich Marini, head of Penn State’s horticulture department stated, “…there is evidence that plants respond to sound.  Studies suggest that sound may spur plants to faster growth.”  I know I started talking to my ferns – the result is that above picture on my former front porch!

But let’s take this a step further.  Imagine if you spoke positively to those around you – your significant other, for example.  If plants thrive, people should positively glow. 

And therein lies the next 30 Day Challenge!  I am once again teaming up with Pamela over at Road to Joy to issue a fresh, brand new challenge to all you wonderful people out there!  Those of you who joined us with our 30 Days of Intimacy Challenge last year know the amazing and wonderful results of that challenge.  FAN-TAN-BU-LUS!  You know who you are: the ones who still have grins on your faces.

Pamela has posted the challenge rules on her website today so go read it in more detail.  Here is a breakdown of the rules (I use the “man” but it can be wife or a significant other; if you don’t have one, then a child, friend, someone, anyone: this is good for your health).

Should you have the guts to join us – the guts to increase the worth, love and joy in your marriage (or any relationship), here is the challenge:

Say something nice to and about your partner every day for the next 30 days – the month of April. Praise him, encourage him, spotlight his best traits, and then tell us your favorite things about him.  In order for your participation to count, you need to:

a)  Make your proclamation 100% positive (no “buts” as in, “I like that you do this but…” Remember that “but” cancels out everything that was said before it.)

b)  You can’t ask for anything in return (as in, “I love how you so selflessly provide for this family. Listen I need to buy a new….”)

c)  You must make him or her aware of it each day

d) You also have to make sure you make at least one additional person aware of it each day (write a blog post about it)*

e)  You need to either link to Pamela’s or my blog (or both), or send us an email, or comment to us on Twitter (#30positivedays), or her Facebook, so that we know you are participating.  We will gladly let others know of your blog posts (link love!).

*I challenge you to post about this for the next 30 days.  I am not asking you to post every day – Maryleigh over at Blue Cotton Memory stated she will post once a week on Wednesdays, listing the 7 things she said to and about her husband and a short description of them.  Others like Steph at Momma’s Soapbox have said they might post 2-3 times a week, listing what was said in each post.

The posting is accountability – we want to KNOW what you found wonderful and positive, and what you said! Pamela said it this way, “I will share my log of Eric’s positive traits, how I shared them and with whom, and how it went.” And in that accountability, you can help the rest of us when we read what you found wonderful about your mate. You know, “Ohhhh! I didn’t think of that! Yeah, my man does that goot thing, too!”

WHY? Why are we doing this? Well oh my gosh, it should be elf-explanatory Ms. Keebler.  It’s going to make your relationship better.  Doubt me?  Go re-read the posts from the 30-day intimacy challenge both here (or just click on the 30 day tag cloud) and on Pamela’s website – link here has a list of the posts on her site.  Of course, if it is a child or friend, it strengthens that relationship, too!

That old saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” IS A LIE.  Words can hurt or words can help.  Words build up or words tear down.  Words make people cry or words make people smile.  Words destroy or words rescue.  Words are very, very important.

And so many women sit around and trash-talk about their men to other women.  That very trash-talking affects your thoughts and attitude.  You end up going home carrying all that negative trash-talk home with you.  When he walks in the door, you do NOT think positive thoughts about him – and trust me, it shows.  It shows in your actions, attitude, and facial features (eye-rolling anyone?).

What would happen if you spent the next 30 days forcing yourself to think of, find then SAY something positive to them about themselves?  You may have to pull yourself out of the negative-nelly mud pit you’ve gotten into with your critical focus on your mate – but you can do it!

You may have to start small because you’re so used to seeing negative (he forgot to take the trash out) instead of positive (he does the dishes every night).  You may have to start with (as a friend jokingly said), “Thank you for not clipping your toenails in the living room and leaving the clippings on the floor” or “I love you and am so glad you don’t scratch your butt crack in public!”

This is THE person you wanted to share the rest of your life with. Go find that person again – go find those traits that drew you to him – they’re still in there.  Start being the cheerleader again – the one who believes in him no matter what.  Be blinded to his faults again (as you were when you were breathlessly dating).

It is fact that a man needs to know his woman thinks he is her hero.  And men need to have that verbalized to them just like we women do.  They may act all, “Ack! Whatever!” but inside?  They have those same warm fuzzies we do.

Everyone blossoms under praise.  And it’s good for the relationship.  It’s good for the heart.  It’s good for the ego.  It’s even good for the ozone layer – oh, well maybe not – but who knows?  Instead of all those negative words going up and out into the atmosphere…..

Day #1 has been moved to HERE (to shorten this long post)

You Are The Best Thing, Ray Lamontagne

p.s.  My email is nan@nanloyd.com, my twitter handle is @LBDDiaries, or leave a comment here on the blog.  Pamela’s are listed on her blog post.