The One Emotion That Can Completely Upgrade Your Relationship (And 3 Steps To Getting It Right)

Saying "thank you" is one of the most important thing you can do in your relationship.

The Benefits Of Gratitude For Healthy Relationships unsplash / Taisiia Stupak

Love is not the only thing that makes a relationship or marriage last. There is one more thing: gratitude.

We often take a moment to give thanks — for our health and the health of our loved ones, for good friends and family, and for the comforts of home.

But, when was the last time you said "thanks" to your partner?

RELATED: 7 Scientifically Proven Benefits Of Gratitude


This is one of the most important relationship advice you need to apply, daily, if you want to know how to have a healthy relationship.

How often do you show your partner that you value them? When we're busy and stressed out, we often forget to thank the very person we married and chose to share our life with!

If being grateful for your partner is something you only do once a year, you would do well to change your ways. Why? Because having an attitude of gratitude will improve your relationship.

Happy and healthy relationships require communication, realistic expectations, and trust.

And a very vital factor in happy relationships is gratitude — making your partner feel valued, loved, and supported with simple acts and behaviors.


How important is it to thank your beloved? There are many benefits to gratitude.

In my long-term study of marriage and divorce, couples in a relationship who expressed frequent gratitude to each other were the happiest in their marriages by a significant margin.

In fact, 61 percent of the happy couples in my study said that their spouses "often" made them feel good about the kind of person they are, compared to only 27 percent of the other couples.

For these happy couples, gratitude came in the form of words, gestures, or acts that showed a spouse that they were noticed, appreciated, respected, loved, or desired.

Learning how to practice gratitude is so important and my research shows that there are 3 basic needs all people in relationships have:

  • The need for reassurance or self-worth
  • The need for intimacy and closeness
  • The need for assistance

Practicing gratitude and showing it to your partner will help you fulfill your partner's first two needs: the need for reassurance and the need for intimacy.

It's easy to say "thanks" and to show that you're thankful if you follow these 3 steps:

1. Name what you're thankful for

"Thank you" is the most crucial phrase you can say to your partner and the phrase your partner most wants to hear. But, instead of lightly flinging it around, you can give the sentiment more 'oomph' if you can truly say it like you mean it.

To do this, you need to understand why you value and appreciate your partner so much. Take a few minutes and write down five things you are most thankful for when it comes to your partner.


For example:

  • He lets you vent.
  • She knows just what you love most to eat.
  • He pays the bills without complaining.
  • She makes your parents feel welcome.
  • He makes you laugh.
  • She is an amazing listener.

I guarantee doing this little exercise will make you smile to yourself.

RELATED: ;Why Practicing Gratitude Improves Your Mental Health, Relationships & Happiness (Plus, 5 Simple Steps To Get Started)

2. Genuinely thank your partner

There are countless ways to tell your partner you care about him or her. The most obvious is simply to read your list out loud. You can also "thank" your partner indirectly with a heartfelt compliment:

  • "You're so handsome."
  • "Good morning, Gorgeous."
  • "You're the best dad/mom."

There is no etiquette or formal rule that verbal gratitude has to be delivered face-to-face. You can express this type of gratitude over the phone, in email, or in person.


Sometimes, a surprise phone call in the middle of the day delivers more bang than a kiss when you get home. Or, mailing a thank-you card to your partner can be a surprisingly simple way to make them feel appreciated and noticed.

3. Don't just say thanks — show it

It's not that hard to show your partner regularly through small endearments that they matter to you and that you are thankful that they are in your life.

My research shows that men, in particular, are more likely to show than to tell. That is, they gravitate more to actions than to words, and they also respond more to actions than words.


Women tend to be more verbal, so if a husband is showing gratitude to his wife, she might not "get it" if he doesn't also say the words "thank you" or "I appreciate you" or "I'm so grateful."

The key to showing gratitude to your partner is to see the world through your spouse's eyes. What do they need?

Think about your partner's habits or some specific challenges they are facing.


Is your wife always running out of cash? Slip some bills into her purse as a nice surprise. Is she always rushing around? Offer to take the kids to sports practice for a change so she can have some quiet time.

Is he stressed out at work? Make his favorite dinner tonight. Does he love to read the newspaper in the morning? Pick it up at the store with his favorite coffee drink tomorrow morning.

Don't forget to kiss and hug your partner. The key here is to make small gestures regularly that show you're paying attention.

Do and say simple things often to make your partner feel noticed and cared for because when you do, you’ll notice a meaningful improvement in your relationship.


And, the best part of that magic word and concept — thanks is that if you take the time to say it and show it to your partner, you'll receive gratitude in kind.

RELATED: People With These 5 Personality Traits Know The True Meaning Of Gratitude

Dr. Terri Orbuch Ph.D. (aka The Love Doctor®) is a relationship expert, professor, therapist, research scientist, speaker, and author of 5 best-selling books available on Amazon. She also just released a new video course, titled, “How to Find Love in 7 Days: The Science of Finding Love” available on her website.