There are many lists in life: the to-do list, the grocery list, the bucket list. But there’s an altogether different kind of list you can make that might just save your marriage.  

It’s a gratitude list.  

What if you started jotting down the specific things that make you grateful for your spouse? You can either keep a running list on your phone or on paper throughout the day as things happen, or you can keep a list by your bedside and add to it at the end of the day.  

Your entries might look a little like this:

  • He made me coffee this morning.
  • She gave me a backrub when I was really stressed about work.
  • He listened to my long story about the friend I’m not getting along with.
  • She prays for me and I can feel it.  

As you start looking for things to be grateful for, you will notice things that before went unseen. That faint, sleepy smile that greets you at the beginning of the day. The comfort of your spouse’s presence. The way the light catches her face. His commitment to show up at work and give 100 percent, even when a co-worker is hard to work with.

Instead of focusing on what’s wrong in your marriage, focus on what’s right. Don’t try to achieve perfection. Don’t expect your spouse to be a mind reader. Instead, find something in the present to thank God for. It can be very small (well, at least he doesn’t smell funny). All the small things add up.  

When you make a gratitude list – not only at Thanksgiving time but every season of the year – you will enjoy a perpetual feast. You get more of what you measure. And if you’re constantly measuring gratitude, instead of counting up all the flaws and mistakes, you can turn around a marriage that’s heading in the wrong direction. One line of gratitude at a time.

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