Having an attitude of gratitude can go a long way toward making your relationship better, a new study from the University of California-Berkeley has found. Simply telling your partner “thank you” for the things that he or she does is a great start.
Researchers had 50 UC-Berkeley undergrads (ages 18–60) in relationships fill out a nightly questionnaire about their relationship for a week. Nine months later, they were surveyed again. When one person in a relationship reported feeling appreciated, they were more likely to appreciate their partner in return the next day. Couples who felt mutually valued were less likely to have broken up in that nine-month period — and they were happier too, LiveScience reports.
So what does all of this mean? Researcher Annie Gordon breaks it down:
“The punch line is really that being appreciative of your partner is beneficial in helping you want to maintain your relationship,” Gordon said. “When you are appreciative and you notice the value in your partner, it helps you realize what you have and makes you want to hold on to it. You have something good and you think, ‘I want to keep it.’ You are more responsive, you tend to their needs, and you are more thoughtful.”
A few other ways to make your partner feel valued — aside from saying things like, “Thank you for picking up my dry-cleaning and/or talking to my mother on the phone for so long” — researchers noticed, were “behavioral displays” like “leaning in to your partner when they are speaking, making eye contact, [and] giving comforting touches.”
Those are things all of us could probably stand to do a little more of on a daily basis — especially when the payoff in your partner’s happiness is so large.
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