While it is always wonderful to express your gratitude, between couples, a simple ‘thank you’ can increase relationship satisfaction. A new study found that expressing gratitude towards your partner may be a powerful tool to increase relationship satisfaction and commitment. Researcher Allen W. Barton, a professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois lead the research. He mentioned that individuals who feel appreciated by their partners have better-functioning relationships. As a couple, they are more resilient to internal and external stressors, both, in the short term and long term.
The study gave specific attention to differentiating the beneficial effects of perceived gratitude or the feeling of being appreciated versus expressed gratitude or being appreciative in understanding its effect on the quality of the relationship, both in short term and in long term. A total of 316 African American couples participated in the study which spanned approximately 16 months. During this, three waves of data were collected. And the results were pretty clear.
The study published in Sage Journals mentioned that “higher levels of perceived gratitude – but not expressed gratitude – weakened the association between relationship stressors and worsened outcomes (i.e., less satisfaction and confidence, more instability) at both between-person and within-person levels.”
However, if the individual was given perceived gratitude a more positive outcome was seen. Especially, regarding ineffective arguing and financial strain in the short term.
In the long term, there was a protective effect from ineffective arguing. These results also clearly indicated that it is in the ways an individual perceives gratitude from one’s partner, during both a single time and over a course of months, the relationship quality can be improved at multifaceted levels. This research has demonstrated the power of a simple thank you, especially in romantic relationships. There is a need for not only increased attention in the sphere of research but should also be given special attention in putting it to use.