21 Day Relationship Challenge – Day 10

Follow a Threshold Ritual

Today’s resolution suggests that you “Follow a threshold ritual,” that is, take a moment, every time you come or go, to think grateful thoughts about your home and the people you love.

If you tried this resolution, did it come naturally, or did it feel forced?

Did it make a difference to your happiness?

We can all learn from each other, so please post your experiences with the resolution in the comments section below.

  • kathleen

    I do this, but not consciously. Every day when I leave for work, I get really, really sad because I don’t want to leave my spouse and pets for the day. I would rather stay home with my little family. Maybe I should practice the threshold gratitude when I arrive at work, instead, as usually I am sad and cranky when I get there!

  • A. H.

    Great thoughts as usual!

  • gc

    My husband and I were nearly middle age before we were able to buy our home. Ever time I pull in the driveway I am so thankful that ‘it’s really ours’ I have tried to keep that feeling. I try to remember that simple joy we first felt over 12 years ago . ‘I choose joy’ is my theme this year. Thanks for you work

  • Miljana

    I have to tell a lot about this theme ” Follow a threshold ritual ” but I’m not ready in this moment, maybe some other time. You, Grechen, are completely right in your opinion, but some times the God works in mysterious ways and nothing goes as it has to go. I support your thinking anyway.
    Many greetings!

  • Dr. Anupchandra Bhayani

    Revered Pandurangshastri Athavle,an international philosopher and recipient of Templeton Award, Magsaysay award etc. for his unique work in the field of Philosophy and Religion, has said that a man minus gratitude is zero. In the same spirit I welcome your thoughts on gratitude, which are extremely necessary for the inner development of man. Dr. Anupchandra Bhayani

  • Susanne

    Gretchen, this is the simplest and most wonderful idea! Have NO idea how I’ve missed doing it before. Coming into my home — being grateful for it all, and everything in it instead of focusing on everything I have to do, the things that aren’t ideal. Leaving my home: I did this today and was blown away at how it changed my entire attitude. I started out being irritated & impatient at all the errands & running around I had to do, at the fact it was raining, the fact I had stuff to do at home I’d have rather been doing, trying to remember the library books, my shopping list, my glasses, my “plastic-free” shopping bags & 112 other things.

    Then I remembered this exercise and stopped dead, took a deep breath of foggy, wet air filled with woodsmoke and pine forest and the sea and reminded myself how darn lucky I am to be able to complain — working at home, having a beautiful home to leave & come back to, a safe & dependable car, enough money to buy groceries and even a treat or two, good health and energy, a great local library & grocery store . . . and on and on. I recited my blessings during the entire drive into town and my day was — srsly! — transformed.

    This is terrific stuff! Beth S: love your husband’s morning ritual. And at the risk of offending Miss Kitty — I haven’t found anything even close to repetition in these exercises. Saying hello & goodbye to our partner day & night, & having a gratitude ritual for, well, everything, are (to me) very different. The fact Gretchen suggests we take a “gratitude pause” as we enter & leave our homes is that it’s just a convenient trigger to *remind* us to do it. We could as easily use brushing our teeth or washing our dishes as a trigger. I feel the suggestions in the challenge are just that: suggestions. It’s up to each of us to discover the essence in each day’s exercise & adapt our situation however we need to to bring that essence into our lives. And I cannot *believe* the challenge is almost half over . . . Susanne haz a sad :-(

    • gretchenrubin

      I’m so happy to hear that these resonate with you.

  • Rebeca Jane

    This is similar to the Martial Art entrance and exit of the learning area (Dojang) where one bows and respects the place and what occurs within the space. As lessons are taught and learned everywhere, I agree that a threshold ritual is an important practice to recognize where we are and to appreciate it. Thank you for reminding me.

  • marienkafer

    I just read a very interesting article on TheAtlantic.com; an excerpt from a study done on this very subject! There’s a book to follow, called Fast-Forward Family. It was really detailed, delving into comparisons on the reception the first parent gets upon arrival home versus the second parent, how the children receive the parents, how the spouses receive each other, divisions of labor, what is distracting them all, etc.

    Had to post here about this since The Happiness Project was the first to introduce me to the idea of a threshold ritual. I’m affectionate by nature and usually get up to hug/kiss my husband when he gets home after me, but never thought of doing that specifically in terms of recognition for him — it was just something I wanted to do and of course, like pretty much anyone else, there were also some days I’d just stay absorbed in my phone when he walked in the door. Since reading The Happiness Project (and Happier at Home too of course!), I try to make sure I acknowledge him in some way. As it says numerous times in the study excerpt, it takes less than a minute — really only seconds — to acknowledge your spouse when they come home.

  • Karoline Bourdeau

    I have been doing this in some form for a 2 years now. I can’t begin to tell you how much it has helped me deal with many difficult and stressful situations.