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  • This May Be the Key to a Happy Marriage, According to a Study

    Even through times of distress, couples stay strong when they have this in their relationship.

  • Photo by Divya Shivaram/Flickr

    When was the last time you thanked your partner for the effort and love they’ve put into your relationship? Recent research from the University of Georgia, from the U.S., shows that the key to a better marriage might lie in this one simple word: gratitude.

    The study was published in the journal Personal Relationships.

    “We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last,” said study co-author Ted Futris. In short, you’ll feel more secure in your relationship if you know that your spouse appreciates you.

    The study involved a survey of near 468 participants asking about their financial well-being, how well they communicated and how often they expressed gratitude to one another. 

    Results showed that “expression of gratitude” was “the most consistent significant predictor of marital quality”. Couples who showed gratitude and appreciation for one another even through times of distress tended to be happier about their relationship.

    In particular, they found that showing gratitude acted as a buffer from poor communication brought about by financial troubles. “When couples are stressed about making ends meet, they are more likely to engage in negative ways. They are more critical of each other and defensive, and they can even stop engaging or withdraw from each other, which can then lead to lower marital quality,” says Futris. 

    “It goes to show the power of ‘thank you,’” says lead author Allen Barton, a postdoctoral research associate at the university. “Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.”

    Concluding, Futris shares his advice. “What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don't is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”

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    According to a previous study by Dr. Robert A. Emmons of the University of California, not only does gratitude lead to a better marriage but also an uplifted life as well. His study showed that gratitude increased happiness levels by 25% and may also cause persons to live “happier, more satisfied lives and enjoy increased levels of self-esteem, hope, empathy, and optimism.”

    We repeat the question, when was the last time you thanked your partner for the effort and love they’ve put into your relationship?

    Oct. 21, 2015. "The power of thank you: UGA research links gratitude to positive marital outcomes". uga.edu

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