Calling All Spouses: The 30-Day Gratitude Challenge

Posted by: Shel 133 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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  • Alisha

    Am I to late?

    • Shel Harrington

      It’s never too late to start the Gratitude Challenge, Alisha – whenever you start is the PERFECT time! 🙂

  • Brandy Stephens

    I’m in 🙂

  • Laina

    Hope it’s not to join this challenge.

  • Laina

    I hope it’s not to late to get in on this. I just found it on Pentetest.

    • Shel Harrington

      It’s never too late, Laina – so glad you connected!

  • Mia

    Im in too. Thank you for thinking of this.

    • Shel Harrington

      Yay, Mia! I’m glad you’re taking the challenge – and I bet your spouse will be, too!

  • Jessi Huenink

    Awesome! Thank you so much. I’ll definitely save this one and try it next. So far, with 2 days under me, it’s already been helpful 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Love that, Jessi! If you’d like notices of the new posts as they come out here, please sign up for the free email notices! I’d love to hear how the challenge turned out for you, too!

  • Jessi Huenink

    I’m late to the party, but better than never. I’m in!

  • Jeannette Morris

    I have written down, (8) eight for the day already.. I’m in!!!

  • Kim

    I’m totally in. We already have several things in place like this but this will still be super fun and helpful.

    • Shel Harrington

      Yay, Kim! It really is fun – and keeps our focus where it should be!

  • Rebecca

    Is it too late to join in? I would love to try

    • Shel Harrington

      It’s NEVER too late, Rebecca! As a matter of fact, those who did it prior should start with you all over again – this should be an annual event! Please let me know how it goes. OK – you’re 30 days start . . . . NOW!

  • Felicia P

    Im in 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Yeah, Felicia! It’s going to be a great month with a long-lasting benefit!

  • Cheryl

    Hi Shel,

    Here I am again this year, ready to take up the 30 Day Challenge! Loved doing it last year. So rewarding.


    • Shel Harrington

      I love that, Cheryl! I think I’ll join you. It would make a great annual tradition!

  • Paula T

    I’m in !! Need the accountability of writing down my commitment – great starter, follow through can be tough!

    • Shel Harrington

      Glad you’re taking the challenge, Paula! One of the ways that I helped myself remember was by posting a gratitude saying on Facebook everyday during the 30 days. Then I pinned them all on a Pinterest board and added to them. Here’s the link to that board – please feel free to borrow liberally!

  • Vanessa

    Getting started tomorrow night!

  • Tricia S

    I’m all in and excited!

    • Shel Harrington

      I’M excited that you’re excited, Tricia – hope you’ll stop back by in 30 days and let me know if the experience was as positive for you and your spouse as I expect it to be!

  • Chelsea Rose

    Do you have anymore Challenges that you can link me too ? Thank you

  • Chelsea Rose

    I would love to do this. Please send me the info ♥

    • Shel Harrington

      Everything you need is right here, Chelsea! It’s as simple as just doing it! It’s great if your spouse does it, too, but that’s not necessary to get big benefits. You might put the challenge on Facebook or Twitter and get your friends and family to join you for the 30-day challenge – gratitude likes company!

  • Mutti

    I just invited two friends to join me on this!

  • Mutti

    It took me a while, but given your New Year’s Resolutions for Couples, I am going to make it a point to do this. I CAN do this! I will do this! Thank you for all your posts… I joined in recently but have enjoyed them all since I started receiving them. Happy New Year to you!

    • Shel Harrington

      You absolutely CAN do this, Mutti! You’ve made my day – with your commitment to the challenge and all your kind words. I’m so glad you are receiving and enjoying the posts! I hope that you’ll share the posts you enjoy on your social media sites as well as let your friends who may be interested know about the free email subscription. And please contact me on FB to let me know how your challenge is going or went. When we first did it, I put a gratitude saying on my FB wall every day – if you want to check them out you can see them on my “Gratitude” Pinterest board at

      • Mutti

        Thank you, Shel! I found your Facebook page but couldn’t locate your Pinterest one. I did find a couple of your salads and another link that wouldn’t work… Please let me know how to find you on Pinterest. I am interested in your Gratitude Quotes. I did find other ones on Pinterest so people out there are interested in being grateful. That is a good thing!!

  • Cheryl Terry

    Count me in!

    • Shel Harrington

      Wonderful – glad you’re in, Cheryl! Would love to hear how it goes!

  • Lauren (Vanhooser) Jacoby

    A little late but I’m in!

    • Shel Harrington

      Yea, Lauren! One can’t be too late for the challenge – taking it is always timely!

  • Better late than never so here, on my 34th anniversary, I’m in! =)

    • Shel Harrington

      Woo hoooo! Happy anniversary, Beth – what a great way to celebrate it!

  • Paul

    I have an amazing gracious loving ambitious wife….. OK I’m in!

    • Shel Harrington

      Wow – that’s three days worth of gratitude right there! So glad you’re in, Paul – would love your feedback down the road.

  • Lindsey Vanhooser

    My boyfriend and I are both in!! This is especially exciting for me because his love “language” is service, so this will be fun. Funny, but this has already been beneficial for us. When he was reading through the blog he laughed at one point. I asked him why, and he was laughing because of the example about not criticizing the partners “stupid show”. The other day I made a comment about the one “stupid show” he watches. Oops. But it was good we had the conversation because I needed that attitude adjustment. He doesn’t spend hours playing video games, or watching dumb shows… his one stupid show is a pretty minor offense. Gulp.

    • Shel Harrington

      That cracked me up Lindsey! It’s not an ‘attitude adjustment,’ it’s a ‘gratitude adjustment’ – so much easier to do!The only thing better than someone taking the challenge is getting a twofer – glad you’re both in!I hope we’ll get feedback from both of you.

  • Angela

    Gonna do it and emailed the link to my hubby!

    • Shel Harrington

      Love it Angela! Having seen first hand how persuasive you can be, my guess is your huz is in!

  • I’m in. We are getting married soon. I think this would a phenomenal habit to be in.

    • Shel Harrington

      I agree, Robin – you’ll have a wonderful record to refer to when you hit challenging moments. I’m glad you’re in. And congratulations on your upcoming marriage!

  • Stacie

    I love this! I’ve only been married 16 months, but I think this is an excellent idea even for my baby marriage.

    • Shel Harrington

      Glad you’re in, Stacie – focusing on the gratitude we have for our spouse is one of the things that results in ‘baby marriages’ evolving into long-term marriages!

  • Mag_B

    Totally in – Can I start by saying I am so grateful that my spouse is the type that would love for me to sign him up too!!? 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      A two-fer – love it! I happen to know that your husband would, indeed, love the opportunity to focus on his gratitude for you, too!

      • Mag-B

        Was being a bit facetious but I like to think he is grateful for me most days.

  • A challenge worth taking!

  • Stephanie Merrell

    I’m in

  • Melissa

    I’m in! 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Thanks for connecting, Melissa – glad you’re taking the challenge!

  • Katie

    I’m in!!!!

  • Kimberly Schat

    I’m in.

    • Shel Harrington

      Dave! Thanks for checking in. I thought this was something you’d connect with – so glad you’re in!

  • Ginny Francis

    count me in!!

    • Shel Harrington

      Ah – you’ve made it official! Glad you’re in Ginny!

  • Mutti

    I’m in! I even have the perfect journal for writing about him! This brought to mind the book, ‘365 Thank You Notes’ and made me think that it wouldn’t hurt to send him a thank you note once in a while! I used to tuck notes in his socks when he traveled. I could do it when he is home, too.

    • Shel Harrington

      Glad you have joined up, Mutti!I haven’t read ‘365 Thank You Notes,’ but it sounds like my cup o’ tea. I think when our mates travel we are more aware of how precious they are to us – love the idea of being more aware of our appreciation for them just because they’re them!

  • Sheri French

    I’ll do it. It will be a great exercise in appreciation. Thanks, friend. I’ll keep it in the notes on my iphone so it will be handy:)

    • Shel Harrington

      That’s a great idea! We’re overdue for a catchup – hope to see you soon!

  • Tony Galier

    Looks like you have had a great response. Where are the rest of the men? Too often I’m too quick with a criticism. I know Donna is worth this small effort. So, I’m in too.

    • Shel Harrington

      There has been a great response, but we haven’t hit 100 yet! I’m with you – where ARE the guys?? C’mon guys! You’ll have to get the word out to them, Tony – glad you’re joining us!

  • Wyn

    I’m in!

  • Sharon Bowen

    I’m in. First thing I am grateful for, he loves me still.

    • Shel Harrington

      ‘Still’ as in ‘you’re beautiful when you’re not moving’ or as in ‘after all this time’? Either way, it’s a good thing! Glad you’re in, Sharon!

  • Karol de Koord

    What a great idea. Thank you. I am in! 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      Glad to see you here, Karol – thanks for joining in!

  • Looks like the takers are rolling in! I’m in!

    • Shel Harrington

      I knew I could count on you! Looking forward to catching up with you next month with our new-and-improved-gratitude-attitudes!

  • Cassandra Thrower

    Add me to your count.

  • Christy Matthews

    Should be much easier than the diet…I’m in!

    • Shel Harrington

      One can only hope – do you think it’s dangerous to attempt both at the same time???

  • Vickey

    I’m totally in on this one. Thanks for the great idea Shel.

  • Patricia

    I’m in!

  • Great idea, Shel! I’m in!

    • Shel Harrington

      Looking forward to getting your feedback next month, Jill!

  • Wow, you are certainly off and running. I don’t think you will have any difficulty reaching your goal of 99. I want to be counted in that number!

    • Shel Harrington

      You’ve been officially counted, Faye! I’m really excited about this – our ending number will be enhanced by the benefit our spouses receive as a result of our heightened gratitude for them! By the way, I enjoy your comments on the OWFI site!

  • Patricia

    I’m in too 🙂

  • Kellie Howell

    Although mine is not legal in this state, I am in. I thin it is a wonderful idea.

  • Jama

    Tom and I are in! We used to be part of a marriage encounter group, and have missed doing things like this.

  • Anne K.

    I’m in.

  • Wendy Nichols

    I’m in too

  • Ashley

    You got me lady!!! I’m in!!!!!

  • Sheila Stinson

    Great idea- I’m in. This is similar to the book Remember the Sweet Things by Ellen Greene. After reading it, I pledged to do the same thing the author did, but have never done it.

    • Shel Harrington

      But that won’t happen this time, right? I’ll check in on ya, Sheila!

  • Tricia

    Count me in!

  • denise

    Iam in…

    • Shel Harrington

      Glad you’re in, Denise!I’m looking forward to everyone’s feedback on their results – I’m expecting some good stuff!

  • Shel, count me in. What a great idea. Have you read 1,000 Gifts by Anne Voskamp? I took her challenge last year of listing 1,000 gifts from God to me. Still working on that one.

    An attitude of thankfulness changes the lens we look through each day. I already have a weeks worth of great attributes of my husband to write on my list. How cool to begin this list on our 37th anniversary.

    Blessings . . . DiAne

    • Shel Harrington

      Welcome to your latest challenge, DiAne! I haven’t read 1,000 Gifts – I’ll check it out. Happy Anniversary!

  • Laura

    Shel, you got me thinking this is just what I need to do after the 1st sentence!! I am in!!

    • Shel Harrington

      Glad you’re in Laura – I know your list will get long!

  • Okay, alright already!

  • Amy

    I’m in!

  • Okay…I’m in, too.

  • kassie

    I’m In, Though I Don’t Have A Legal Spouse

  • Laura Bentley

    Ok………I’m in. 🙂

    • Shel Harrington

      And so you have the honor of being the first, dear friend!

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