A Secret To A Happy Marriage

By

A Secret To A Happy Marriage
Learn this one little secret that can make a big difference in your marriage.

This guest article from Psych Central was written by Christy Matta, M.A.

Popular culture in the form of romantic comedies and pop music would lead you to believe that happiness in any relationship comes from finding that special someone whose personality is the perfect counterpart to your own. However, well-being in relationships is not simply a magical mix of personality characteristics between two people. Improving and maintaining relationships involves skills that can be learned.

If you want an intimate relationship in which both partners can trust one another and admit vulnerabilities, you might want to try expressing a little gratitude. The expression of gratitude, it seems, more than other positive acts such as expressing thoughts of positive shared activities, improves your partner’s view of you and creates an open environment within the relationship in which concerns can be expressed.

You may not be surprised to hear that gratitude is an important element in successful relationships. In fact, appreciation was listed as one of the most important factors contributing to a satisfying long-term marriage. A 2005 study found that expressing gratitude for one’s partner was related to higher marital satisfaction and better adjustment to marriage among newlyweds, as well (Schramm, Marshal and Harris). Newlyweds also viewed appreciative partners more positively. Those partners who expressed gratitude in a relationship regularly for 3 weeks saw their relationship as having greater communal strength.

Clearly gratitude and the expression of appreciation for a partner has a significant impact on the strength of and satisfaction in a marriage.

Exactly how gratitude effects relationships is somewhat complicated. A recent study in the journal, Emotion, found that expressing gratitude improves your relationships by improving your partners positive view of you (Lambert and Fincham 2011). The study suggests that this, in turn increases your partner’s investment in the long-term well-being of the relationship as well as your partners comfort in voicing relationship concerns, which is important to relationship well-being.

Ways to express gratitude:

  • Go the extra mile in your thoughts and think about what you appreciate about your partner.
  • Express your gratitude. Do something you wouldn’t normally do to express gratitude either verbally or in writing.
  • Do small and simple appreciative actions (say unexpectedly cooking a meal or folding the laundry).
Article contributed by
Advanced Member

John M. Grohol

Psychologist

Dr. John Grohol is a mental health expert and founder of Psych Central. He has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues, and the intersection of technology and psychology since 1992.

Location: Newburyport, MA
Credentials: PsyD
Website: PsychCentral
Other Articles/News by John M. Grohol:

4 Reasons Your Man Doesn't Appreciate You

By

Are you suffering from lack of appreciation from your man? If so, you may find the following perspective on men to be very enlightening. It might even spur you into action to get the appreciation you deserve.  Does the following ring true for you, even though you may have never considered it before? It all begins with what I am calling the holy trinity ... Read more

Are Relationships More Work Than They're Worth?

By

When NASA launches a space vehicle, it uses about 90 percent of its fuel getting beyond the earth's atmosphere. After it clears the pull of this gravitational force, considerably less fuel is required. This allows it to travel great distances expending much less energy. This principle also applies to relationships. The early stages (after you pass the ... Read more

This Is The Secret To Having A Blissful Relationship

By

The folliowing is a conversation between a couple who has kept score in their relationship.  Mira: "In the beginning of our relationship, I was a very efficient scorekeeper and kept careful track of who did what for whom. Fairness has always been a big deal for me. My stance was often, 'If you give me this, I'll give you that.' It ... Read more

See More

Ask The Experts

Have a dating or relationship question?
Visit Ask YourTango and let our experts and community answer.