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Practice Gratitude Handwritten by white Chalk on a Blackboard. Composition with Small Chalkboard and Stack of Books, Alarm Clock and Rolls of Paper on Blurred Background. Toned Image.

” The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated”.  As William James suggests, taking the time to express gratitude to your partner leads to a happier and healthier relationship.  So, when was the last time you said thank you because your partner brought you coffee in bed or cleaned the house before you got home from work? See, it’s really about the small and simple gestures.

According to a recent study published in the journal Personal Relationships, a simple thank you and a smile is possibly the most significant predictor of a marital quality and essentially a protective factor of any relationship.   The study even focused on couples who have financial stress which typically increases the likelihood of having an argument or a disagreement. We all know that when we are stressed, we become more critical of each other and this can lead to dissatisfaction and ultimately distance from one another. This cycle leads to a lack of communication, a common yet disastrous aspect of any relationship.

Gratitude, however, has a powerful and positive effect.  It can become a barrier to this negative cycle. This study proves that a simple thank you can help in overcoming negative communication and conflict patterns in a relationship. Feeling appreciated is a key factor and one of the most positive feelings anyone can experience, so next time your partner walks through the door, let them know you’re grateful to see them.  This key ingredient may seem easy but for many of us, when life is busy and stressful, we can’t help but focus on what is not appreciated. So make this a resolution in 2016 and show your gratitude for all the small things your partner does for you.  This can help lead to a long lasting and successful relationship.

Source: Allen W. Barton, Ted G. Futris, Robert B. Nielsen. Linking financial distress to marital quality: The intermediary roles of demand/withdraw and spousal gratitude expressions. Personal Relationships, 2015; 22 (3): 536 DOI: 10.1111/pere.12094

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