Calling All Spouses: The 30-Day Gratitude Challenge

Posted by: Shel Harrington 5 September, 2013 129 Comments

Remember the ‘Gratitude Journal?’ It made it’s debut 10-15 years ago on 30-Day Gratitude Challengea popular talk show. It was a simple concept: each day write down things you are grateful for. I didn’t buy the official Gratitude Journal and I don’t remember if there were official rules, but my take was to write down five things every day (in an unofficial notebook).

It was easy at first: health, friends, spouse, home, food. Soon I had to go a little deeper to come up with my five. Things like electricity, running water, pillows, refrigerators, cars and other things I routinely took for granted started showing up. Then nice things that happened during the day: an unexpected call from a friend, a beautiful sunset. As time went on, I mentally reviewed each day pulling out things or moments to be grateful for. I’m not sure when the transition happened, but I realized that I had become hyper-sensitive to the blessings in the day – making note of a compliment from a stranger or a sunlit field of hayrolls to write down later. In spite of war, natural disasters, and losing loved ones, there was much to be grateful for.

And so it is with our marriages. Most of us have challenges – tough times, words uttered that should not have been said, issues with children, loss, complacency. One way to stay (or get) content in spite of obstacles is to focus on what is good about our mates – what we are grateful for. Writing it down gives it weight.

My Gratitude Adjustment

So here is the challenge:


How easy is that? Fifteen seconds a day. (You can do more if you want, but a  minimum of one entry every day.)

Here’s some easy examples to get you started: My spouse

  • has a great smile
  • makes me laugh
  • cooks a mean lasagna
  • is a nurturing parent
  • has beautiful eyes
  • has integrity

You will find yourself expanding beyond the obvious: My spouse

  • is kind to my mother even though my mother makes it tough
  • makes sure my favorite ice cream is always in the freezer
  • reminds me to call my parents on their birthdays
  • is the person I can be myself with
  • doesn’t make fun of me for watching that stupid show
  • stops talking when my favorite song is on the radio

By the end of 30 days, don’t be surprised if you are going through the day looking for positive attributes in your mate so that you have something to write down.

If you do this long term, you may be amazed at all that is good about your spouse and marriageStack of gratitude journal – all the lovely, funny, silly, precious moments that get lost in the big picture of life and the negative marital issues that get so much of our focus. If you do this long term, you will have an incredible record to draw from when you hit tough times or marital snags that could take you off course.

But long term can wait.

All I’m asking you to commit to right now is 30 little days. Grab a nice journal, a spiral notebook, a calendar – whatever will Gratitude journalmotivate you to jot down your notes – and write down at least one thing you are grateful for about your spouse. (Make sure you put the date or number on each entry so that you have accountability.) If you miss a day (try not to, but don’t let a miss derail the commitment) just add a day to the end.

Let’s start right now. No waiting until Monday – this isn’t a diet.Simple gratitude journals No waiting until next month so  you can start on the first – you’ll forget by then. Start today.

My goal is at least 100 people  committing to take the 30-Day Gratitude Challenge. Your spouse is worth it. You’re marriage is worth it. Let’s do this!

Sign up for the challenge in the comment section below. If you’re willing to take the challenge and would rather be anonymous, email me at so that I can add you to the count without using your name.

Take the challenge. Challenge your friends, spouse, and family to take the challenge. The results are worth it – I promise! The 30-Day Gratitude Challenge starts NOW.

I’m in! Now I need 99 more of you to join me!

Every Accomplishment Starts With the Decisio to Try

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