When the supreme court legalized marriage for everyone…that very day in fact…I married the most amazing woman I’ve ever met. We have been together for 5 years, and had been engaged since month 7…but we were waiting for it to be legal….trusting it would happen sooner than later.

The night we got married, before we went to bed, I said that I wanted to start a kind of tradition; I wanted us to tell each other the best things about our day before sleep every night. She readily agreed, saying she thought that was a great idea, and we talked about it some more and ironed out the details. So our tradition is that for every year we’ve been together, every night we give that many ‘things’ we enjoyed about our day. So, since we’ve been together 5 years, we give each other 5 things, and on our 6th anniversary, we’ll move up to give each other 6 things every night for a year…and so on.

So I have to confess, this is not always easy, sometimes she’s tired before I’m ready to go to bed, sometimes one of us is sick (like the night after I had surgery and was still quite groggy from it), and other times one or both of us is in a pretty terrible mood (like the day I found out I was going to need that surgery)…but we have never once failed to do it. Every single night we each list 5 good things about our day…and if I’m in a terrible mood…she helps me a little, making suggestions from things she noticed about my day….and if she’s in a terrible mood I do the same for her…and as a result every single night we end the day on a note of appreciation.

One of the best things this has done for me, is that as something cool happens in my day, I am much more likely to take a mental note of it…so I can remember to add it to my list of 5. And that has added a positive jolt to many days, and it has forced me to take note of what I’m doing or what is happening that I like and appreciate. Another cool thing, is that if someone is with us around bedtime, like her niece or nephew, that person joins in, and we get to hear about the things they consider positive in their day.

Perhaps the coolest thing though…is that I feel like I’m more of a part of my wife’s day now…I know a bit more about her work and her colleagues than I did before, because she’ll tell me something positive about one of them, and this will spur a little conversation about something that we may never have talked about before starting this tradition.

So, my challenge to you, if you feel it could be helpful for you… is to start something like this of your own. With your spouse, kid(s), BFF, sibling…whoever and however you’d like. And if you do, I’d LOVE to hear about it. You can find Dallas Rainbow Counseling on FB or twitter and let me know how it worked.

This post is definitely going on the list tonight. 🙂

Rebekka Ouer, LCSW

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