Interfaith Family Practices: Nightly Gratefuls
When we were first engaged, Seth and I were still living in different towns and would have to connect on the phone on weekends in between seeing each other on the weekends.
We'd check in throughout the day with texts and maybe a few calls and then usually have a longer chat in the evening. Sometimes if we talked earlier in the night, we'd still have stuff to do after our phone call, but before we went to bed. But I liked talking to him right before I fell asleep, when I was already snuggled into bed. Seth, being the ever practical one, didn't quite understand the point of calling each other again if we didn't have anything specific to say to each other. He did it anyway, because he loves me, but it felt a bit purposeless. And Seth is a man who likes to have a purpose to the things he does.
One day, he came across an interview with someone (I can't remember who!) who started a practice of writing down three things she was thankful for every night before bed. Obviously, it's not a new idea, but something about it connected with Seth, and that evening he suggested that our last little call be a time for us to tell each other three things we are grateful for. And so we began our practice of nightly "gratefuls".
It started on the phone and now, of course, we say them together in bed right before we fall asleep. If one of us is out of town, we'll make sure to say them on the phone. A few times (usually when I am at a youth conference or on a mission trip), our schedules have been super off and we've texted each other instead. But we always make time to share our gratefuls with one another.
This practice has been a great way for us to become more aware of the little things that are important to one another. Sometimes, I am surprised by a seemingly small thing that I did during the day that Seth is grateful for. This has helped me to become more aware of the little things I can do to love him well during each day. And of course, it's good for us as individuals to focus on gratitude each evening.
This practice isn't specifically Jewish or Christian, but it is a practice that is becoming part of the fabric of our family's spiritual observance. I'm excited to continue the tradition with our children someday.