Psychology Today published an article by Naomi Grunditz entitled Does Gratitude Matter in a Marriage? Although most of us as children learned by rote to say “Thank you,” many of us didn’t understand the deep meaning behind those two words.
By the time we are adults and are in a committed relationship, we hopefully understand the importance behind all the words that express appreciation. “Gratitude is a spiritual way of being,” says Grunditz. “When we truly feel gratitude, we experience heartfelt awe and appreciation for the goodness outside ourselves. Having gratitude towards someone or something means respecting its value and treasuring how unique, beautiful, or indispensable it is.”
What does this definition of gratitude mean for a marriage or committed relationship? Based on a study conducted by Dr. Arnie Gordon, a psychologist from U. C. Berkeley, the following was discovered:
1. couples where one partner reported feeling more appreciated tended to appreciate his or her partner more the next day.
2. highly appreciative couples tended to use body language to show they valued their spouse, such as leaning into a mate when he or she spoke and making eye contact, as well as using touch, such as handholding or an encouraging pat on the leg.
3. a way to spark a healthy relationship with gratitude is to take the initiative, rather than waiting for your mate to make you feel good. Small mini-habits such as one compliment a day or just one smile a day can make a huge difference.