Being grateful to your partner works as an instant ‘booster shot’ for relationships, research finds.
Among couples, feeling grateful leads to improved relationship satisfaction and connection the very next day.
Little thoughtful gestures by one partner — like a back rub, a small gift or holding hands — increased feelings of gratitude.
Feeling grateful then generates a cascade of positive feelings.
The study’s lead author, Dr Sara Algoe, said:
“Feelings of gratitude and generosity are helpful in solidifying our relationships with people we care about, and benefit to the one giving as well as the one on the receiving end.”
The study tracked the day-to-day experiences of 65 couples in ongoing, committed relationships.
The results showed that the effects of gratefulness could be seen the next day, in terms of increased relationship satisfaction.
Partners responded strongly when shown their needs were being acknowledged.
Dr Algoe said:
“Gratitude triggers a cascade of responses within the person who feels it in that very moment, changing the way the person views the generous benefactor, as well as motivations toward the benefactor.
This is especially true when a person shows that they care about the partner’s needs and preferences.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the journal Personal Relationships (Algoe et al., 2010).