“Wow! This sounds powerful – what is it?” OK, are you sitting down? Here it is – Gratitude. You may be thinking, “That’s it? This is all you’ve got? That isn’t some new profound thing.” And you are right. It isn’t. But it is powerful and it is true.
A recent study in Social Psychology and Personality Science says that people who are grateful for each other are more satisfied in their relationships. Even if only one partner demonstrates gratitude, positive effects begin to take place. It is not uncommon for an individual to start doing kind things for their partner, which leads to good feelings and often inspires the other person to respond similarly.
The study suggests that gratitude can increase a couple’s motivation “to stay in, and improve, a relationship, and make them more likely to engage in more considerate behaviors, like better listening and sacrificing for their partner.” More grateful people are more likely to maintain long-term relationships.
This all sounds good, but at a practical level, how do you begin? I would suggest three steps to prime the pump. 1) Begin by showing appreciation for your spouse. 2) If you are feeling taken for granted, you might initiate by doing for them some of the things that you wish they would do for you. 3) When showing gratitude, make it personal. In other words, not so much about the deed that you appreciate but about the person.
I encourage you to try these three steps this week. I would love to hear the results.