A new study has found gratitude and believing thatyour partner values you, directly influences how youbehave in your marriage, as well as your levels ofcommitment.
Scientists at Georgia University asked 468 married people questions about their finances,communication style and how grateful they felt towards their partner.
They found that gratitude consistently predicts how happy someone will be in their marriage.
'It goes to show the power of "thank you,"' said the study's lead author Allen Barton, apostdoctoral research associate at UGA's Center for Family Research.
'Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in therelationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.'
The study also found that higher levels of saying 'thank you' protected men and women fromthe damage caused when arguing.
'Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern likedemand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer thenegative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability,' said Ted Futris, an associateprofessor at Georgia University.
'This is the first study to document the protective effect that feeling appreciated by yourspouse can have for marriages,' Barton said.
'We think it is quite important as it highlights a practical way couples can help strengthen theirmarriage, particularly if they are not the most adept communicators in conflict.'
Results from this study also back up earlier research on something known asdemand/withdraw communication, as well as how money problems can damage marriage.
'Demand/withdraw communication occurs when one partner tends to demand, nag orcriticise, while the other responds by withdrawing or avoiding the confrontation,' Barton said.
'Although wife demand/husband withdraw interactions appear more commonly in couples, inthe current study we found financial distress was associated with lower marital outcomesthrough its effects on increasing the total amount of both partners' demand/withdrawinteractions.'
He explained that when couples are stressed about making ends meet, they are more likely tobe critical of each other, as well as defensive. Gratitude, however, can interrupt this cycle, heclaims.
This was measured in terms of the degree to which individuals felt appreciated by theirspouse, valued by their spouse and acknowledged when they did something nice for theirspouse.
'All couples have disagreements and argue,' Futris said. 'And, when couples are stressed, theyare likely to have more arguments.
'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.'