How Saying 2 Simple Words Can Immediately Improve Your Marriage

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Science says this action makes you happier, healthier, and increases marital satisfaction.

When was the last time you said “Thank you,” to your partner?

Researchers at the University of Georgia found that couples who show more appreciation for their partners have better marriages.

The study also explained that when you feel appreciated by your spouse you see them in a better light and are more committed to the relationship.

Gratitude Begets Happiness

Gratitude is a HUGE contributor to happiness therefore if you express more, you’ll feel better and have a happier marriage.

Marriage is hard work and when you add in kids, a career, and a home to manage it can be brutal to keep your head above water.

Where it gets tricky is that the only one that truly knows how much you do for the family is your spouse.  So if he fails to compliment you on your labors, who will?

Gratitude is Like Broccoli its So Beneficial Scientists Just Can’t Stop Studying it!

In another study conducted by Robert A. Emmons, Ph.D. and Mike McCullough, it was found that the participants that wrote down five things per week, that they were grateful for, over the course of 10 weeks, saw a 25 percent increase in over all happiness. 

If you apply these findings to your marriage, can you imagine how great it would feel to be 25 percent happier with your relationship?  That’s a significant increase!

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How many times did you hear and say “thank you,” when you were dating? 

Think back to when you were fist dating, I bet you exchanged niceties to the point of nausea, but what came from being so appreciative?  More good kept coming your way.  Your beau would go out of his way to make you feel special and vise versa. 

If he brought you the wrong type of coffee you sucked it down like it was a your #1 hot beverage of choice.  If you bought him an ugly a$$ t-shirt he wore it to shreds.  But the key point that I am trying to get across is that because you appreciated each other you kept doing sweet things.

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It feels so good to be appreciated that when it happens, we want more.  Whether you hold the door for a sweet grandma and she looks up at your with her aged yet still crystal blue eyes and says “thank you,” like you’re her hero, it makes you want to go out of your way to find other wiser beings to hold the door for. 

Why do we stop appreciating?
Life’s so busy and complicated that you can sometimes forget to put on underwear or god forbid you run out of the house forgetting to polish your teeth. 

It’s no wonder that you fail to notice when the trash was taken out without request or that the dishes were done before you got home. 

I totally get it.  But what if you did slow down enough to notice?  AND what if you started going out of your way to do nice things for your spouse?

It’s likely that his generosity would continue and yours as well.

Imagine what a shift that would be in your marriage—just constantly appreciating each other and doing good things.

WOW, that’s a mind-blowing concept!

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But if it’s so great and feels so good why do we feel that it’s not necessary in marriage?

Besides the hectic schedules, there seems to be a hefty shift between dating and year 3 of marriage.  It’s like we forget that expressing gratitude is still necessary.  We take for granted our roles in the marriage and in the home.  If he mows the yard you don’t think to say “thanks”.  When you make the kids breakfast he doesn’t think to say “thanks”.

BUT WHY NOT!?

Aren’t you glad that you don’t have to manicure the landscape?  Isn’t he happy that he’s not on waffle duty?

It’s about time that we bring more dating protocol back into the mundaneness of marriage.

Like this study concluded only positive things come from it.  It’s all about opening your eyes and thinking like you did when you were just his girl.

How can we slow down and start appreciating?

I find that it’s easy to take our partner for granted.  I don’t know if it’s because we are marriage and think we got them or what, but if we want a relationship that resembles our dating era we need to nurture it.

3 Tips to Stepping Up Your Gratitude Meter

  1. Journal about what you would miss if your partner received an expiration date today.  List out the serious and silly things such as:  The way he lays his socks flat in front of the laundry basket rather than in it.  Or the way he kisses your forehead good night just like he did on your very first date.
  2. Start the 21-day challenge to rewire your brain.  For 21-days make a commitment to say thank you 3 times per day.
  3. Share the challenge with your partner and raise the marital temperature through the roof!

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What to do when the daily grind gets you off track?

It’s easy.  Hit the restart button.  Pull out the journal entry and reread what you would miss if your partner was gone.

Once you realize that you’re back to your old ways, simply start speaking and showing gratitude again.

Because the impact of simple appreciation is much BIGGER than we realized. 

Jessica is the author of Back 2 Love and How to Start a Mental Health Private Practice.  She owns a private practice in Minnesota where she lives with her husband and two kids.  Join the conversation on Facebook.