Relationships and happiness: have you thanked your spouse today?

Relationships and happiness: have you thanked your spouse today?

Check out this interesting new research…

Recent research has underscored the importance of gratitude to psychological and physical well-being (Emmons & McCullough, 2003), and has shown that gratitude can help facilitate the development of close relationships (Algoe, Haidt, & Gable, 2008). To date, however, little is known about gratitude among long-term married couples. The present investigation aims to examine the association between gratitude and marital satisfaction at both the individual and dyadic level. Furthermore, this study was designed to clarify the unique contributions of both feeling and expressing gratitude in marriage. Fifty couples (both husbands and wives) with a mean relationship length of 20.7 years participated in this study. Daily diary methodology was used to collect each individual_ã_s self-reported ratings of felt and expressed gratitude as well as relationship satisfaction for 2 weeks. Consistent with hypotheses, results indicate that one_ã_s felt and expressed gratitude both significantly relate to one_ã_s own marital satisfaction. Cross-partner analyses indicate that the individual_ã_s felt gratitude also predicts the spouse_ã_s satisfaction, whereas surprisingly his or her expressed gratitude does not. Results are discussed in the context of relationship enhancement both at the individual and dyadic level.

So what does this all mean?

First, I’d probably note that these principles don’t just apply to married couples. Relationships are important for everyone’s happiness, married or defacto, single or not, intimate or work related…so whoever you are and whatever your relationship status it’s still worth giving some consideration to these findings.

Secondly, happiness and wellbeing can be significantly boosted by practicing appreciation and gratitude so focus on what you have (more than on what you don’t have) and be grateful for having it.

And finally, although feeling gratitude is important expressing it is also very important and beneficial, for the person feeling grateful and for the person to whom it’s expressed. So go and say thank you to at least one person today – your spouse or colleague, your child or boss…whoever, I’m sure you’ll feel some increased happiness and so too will they : )