The Thanksgiving Challenge

The Thanksgiving Challenge

As our Intimate Couple friends in the USA celebrate Thanksgiving (we celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving last month), we are reminded of the importance and power of gratitude.


We wanted to share with you this guest blog post from our daughter-in-law, Jelena. She talks about one habit that really can change your marriage, and life, if you will only let it. It’s called the Thanksgiving Challenge, and today, we’re challenging you!


We’re sharing Jelena’s blog post below. She writes:


I’m quite sold on the practice of gratitude as one of the most transformative powers in the world! The extent to which we learn to cultivate a truly grateful heart and attitude in and through all circumstances is the foundation upon which a truly rich and joyful life is built.

One of my favourite verses from the Bible suggests that gratitude partnered with prayer is the antidote to the destructive nature of worry! This explains why seeking to start each day with gratitude, and guard that grateful attitude, helps us see solutions, instead of focusing on problems. It says this: “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Phil 4:6-7

It makes sense, doesn’t it?

I want to share a practice with you that will radically change your life. If you aren’t sold on having a daily gratitude practice just yet, I hope this will convince you! 🙂

Something that really impacted me is what Darren Hardy shares in his book The Compound Effect. He issues this ‘Year-Round Thanksgiving Challenge’ to all of us who want more in life by sharing these powerful stories (excerpt follows from The Compound Effect):

We’re particularly gifted in the finger-pointing department when it comes to our romantic relationships—you know, where the other person is the one who needs to change. Let me explain how something extremely simple, taking less than 5-minutes a day, can literally change your life.

A few years back, a friend of mine was complaining about his wife. From my observation, she was a terrific lady, and he was lucky to have her. I told him as much, but he continued to point out all the ways she was responsible for his unhappiness. That’s when I shared an experience that had literally changed my marriage… and me.

One Thanksgiving, I decided to keep a Thanks Giving journal for my wife. Every day for an entire year I logged at least one thing I appreciated about her—the way she interacted with her friends, how she cared for our dogs, the fresh bed she prepared, a succulent meal she whipped up, or the beautiful way she styled her hair that day—whatever. I looked for the things my wife was doing that touched me, or revealed attributes, characteristics, or qualities I appreciated. I wrote them all down secretly for the entire year. By the end of that year, I’d filled an entire journal.

When I gave it to her the following Thanksgiving, she cried, calling it the best gift she’d ever received. (Even better than the BMW I’d given her for her birthday!) The funny thing was that the person most affected by this gift was me. All that journaling forced me to focus on my wife’s positive aspects. I was consciously looking for all the things she was doing “right.” That heartfelt focus overwhelmed anything I might have otherwise complained about. I fell deeply in love with her all over again (maybe even more than ever, as I was seeing subtleties in her nature and behaviour instead of her more obvious qualities). My appreciation, gratitude, and intention to find the best in her was something I held in my heart and eyes each day. This caused me to show up differently in my marriage, which, of course, made her respond differently to me. Soon, I had even more things to write in my Thanks Giving journal! As a result of choosing to take a mere five minutes every day or so to document all the reasons why I was grateful for her, we experienced one of the best years of our marriage, and it’s only gotten better.

After I shared my experience, my friend decided to keep a Thanks Giving journal about his wife. Within the first few months, he completely turned around his marriage…

Wow! What can five minutes per day do for your marriage? What can it do for YOU?

They say that the best things in life are free; the very best of things is who we become along life’s journey.

So, here’s how Darren’s challenge works:

  • get a nice journal with enough pages for a year’s worth of short entries (each day’s entry can be just a few sentences long — this is meant to take as little as 5 min!). Even a journal of 100 pages will do!
  • each day, jot down something that you love or appreciate in your spouse’s character or actions — make sure your spouse doesn’t catch on! It’s a surprise. If you’re ever stuck, a simple “I love you” or “I appreciate you” will do.
  • in a year from now, present it to them as a gift of appreciation for who they are, who they’re becoming, and how much they mean to you.
  • expect some massive transformation in yourself!


What do you think of the Thanksgiving Challenge? Here at the Intimate Couple, we agree that expressing gratitude for the gift of your spouse will most certainly change your marriage, and you! We can’t wait to hear how this impacts you and helps you get that much closer to the marriage of your dreams!