Gratitude among married couples

couple gratitude elderly

When did you lastly thank your spouse? Gratitude is an excellent booster for your relationship, it improves the other well being both psychologically as well as physically. It gives him or her more satisfaction, and activates pro-social behavior. So go and do it.

An individual who expresses gratitude is not only providing a positive expression to a partner, but is also conveying an acknowledgement of, and appreciation for, the partner. Someone who is expressing gratitude to a spouse is essentially celebrating the benefits that their spouse has brought to their life, which has the potential to leave the spouse feeling understood, appreciated, and empowered to continue providing effective and appreciated support in the marriage.

Meanwhile let me tell you about some recent findings of a study of felt and expressed gratitude among married couples. What’s new is the fact that these couples had lived together on average for 12 years. The age range was 21-67 years old.

Higher levels of felt gratitude are positively associated with an individual’s marital happiness. Moreover, one’s overall gratitude predicts his or her own as well as his or her spouse’s marital satisfaction. To feel higher level of gratitude is more important for marital bliss than one’s tendency to express gratitude.
Why is this?

  • individuals make a wide variety of attributions for their spouse’s expressions of gratitude. For instance, the spouse may interpret expressed gratitude as a positive expression of appreciation, a manipulative attempt to get something from the partner, a patronizing expression designed to point out flaws
  • although one is likely to be mindful of his or her own gratitude, the expression of gratitude in a marriage may quickly become a simple habit of interaction that often goes unnoticed, thereby having no relevance to marital satisfaction at all
  • gratitude may be a valuable resource for couples, but its association with marital happiness may be obscured when more dominant negative interactions are present

Why is this important?

interventions designed to strengthen marriages with a focus on gratitude may wish to emphasize each individual’s own experience of gratitude rather than focusing the sole effort on having couples express gratitude to one another

Gratitude in relations to my opinion might have an optimal dosage, to much and it will wear out or become routine, what do you think?
Gordon, C., Arnette, R., & Smith, R. (2010). Have you thanked your spouse today?: Felt and expressed gratitude among married couples Personality and Individual Differences DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2010.10.012