Is your marriage in trouble? Try gratitude

The University of Georgia has come out with a new study that found that expressing gratitude and appreciation for one’s spouse directly influences how they feel about the marriage, their level of commitment to it, and its chance of long term success. This really isn’t surprising to me, nor should it be to anyone who provides relationship counseling and coaching to couples.

Our culture puts a great deal of focus on having good sex, financial security and means, sharing the same goals, and/or attention to physical attractiveness. While these all factor in, they won’t keep a relationship and marriage strong without gratitude and appreciation. Think about it, what would matter more to you—your partner being happy because of your sexual performance the night before, or them telling you how much they appreciate how you care about them, handle a certain responsibility, or add quality and goodness to your shared life?

The study published in the Journal Personal Relationships used a telephone survey to ask 486 married individuals questions about communication, financial well-being, and expressions of gratitude from their partners. Their answers pointed to the top importance of gratitude and its role in keeping their marriage happy. The lead author, Allen Burton, is quoted as saying”It goes to show the power of ‘thank you.’”

The study found that the more gratitude was expressed, the less divorce prone a partner would become, no matter the other challenges. Even when couples are in conflict and there is emotional withdrawal, if gratitude is expressed it helps to counteract the damage of the conflict.

This is very important as it offers specific guidance to couples and professionals that work with them on the help that gratitude can bring to a struggling and shaky marriage. Stress is inevitable and all marriages face difficult challenges at some point. Being able to point to a specific tool that can help insulate them from the fall out and keep them invested in working on solutions could be a real game changer.

If your marriage is going through a bad time, consider using gratitude and starting today, right now, this moment. What have you got to lose except your marriage?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.