Expressions of Love: A Gratitude Journal

My husband of 12 years is handsome and smart. He’s geek chic. A software engineer in his first career and a man of the cloth in his second. He has gorgeous eyes that I still can’t decide if they are brown, green, or hazel. He has an infectious laugh and a heart-warming smile. He is hard working and cares for his family. For these reasons and many more I love him. That love grows with each year that passes. He is the perfect man for me.

In the midst of living life, sometimes I forget to tell him or show him just how much I love him. But then this opportunity presented itself.

As part of my job I read books about leadership, entrepreneurialism, and motivation. I read these books with two purposes:  fulfill my job requirements and mine for gold. Each book needs to yield at least one golden nugget of information or insight that I can apply in my life.

August of 2011, I had to read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy. In the book the author challenges a friend to spend a year writing down at least one thing each day that he loved or appreciated about his wife. Hardy had done the same for his wife as a gift for Thanksgiving. A gift of gratitude and expression of love. That was my golden nugget.

I decided to take the challenge. It wasn’t easy because on days when I was frustrated or angry or just tired, I couldn’t write a journal entry. Plus the instructions state that you shouldn’t repeat something you’ve already written about … characteristics, tasks, and actions, should only receive one entry.

But the journal became a journey of understanding the impact gratitude can have on our lives. Remembering that what we focus on is what we are surrounded by.

Starting every entry with “Thank you for …” grew tiring. It got stale and boring. I didn’t want this gift to be described with such adjectives. I invested time in finding quotes and poems and phrases to include in the journal.

The more I searched and the more I wrote, I found that it made me talk to my husband differently within the moment. Life was no longer getting in the way of me saying, “Thank you,” and “I appreciate you.” I was thinking about being thankful beyond having something to write down for him to read a year later.

On his birthday yesterday I gave him this gift. Hopefully, it’s a gift that keeps giving. A keepsake of my love for him, written in my own hand. A gift he didn’t know I was creating for him as he watched me journal night after night. Sitting next to me in bed he watched without knowing I was writing about him or for him.

It was worth it to hear his reaction, “It’s the best birthday gift anyone’s ever given me.”

Will you take this challenge? Maybe a short one … between now and Thanksgiving or Christmas? Take the time today and every day to express your love to that special someone. Or, may be you already have. If so, share how the gift was received.