Washington: You can improve your chances for high marital quality by using the power of “thank you” as a recent study suggests that showing gratitude and believing that your partner values you, directly influences how you behave in your marriage.
With the use of a telephone survey, the University 0f Georgia study asked 468 married individuals questions about their financial well-being, demand/withdraw communication and expressions of spousal gratitude. The results indicated that spousal expression of gratitude was the most consistent significant predictor of marital quality.
“It goes to show the power of ‘thank you,'” said lead author Allen Barton, adding that even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.
The study also found that higher levels of spousal gratitude expressions protected men’s and women’s divorce proneness as well as women’s marital commitment from the negative effects of poor communication during conflict.
Co-author Ted Futris said that the researchers found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability.
Futris noted that all couples have disagreements and argue and when couples are stressed, they are 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.
The study is published in the journal Personal Relationships.