Couples who use this word rate their
marriages as higher quality.

“Thanks” is the one word that will save
your relationship.

Couples who express gratitude to each
other rate their marriages as higher quality, a study has found.

Expressing gratitude also reduces the
likelihood of divorce, the researchers found.

Gratitude is particularly powerful at
overcoming repetitive arguments.

The key is feeling appreciated by your
spouse and acknowledging when they have done something nice for you.

Dr Ted Futris, study co-author,

“We found that feeling appreciated and
believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about
your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last.”

For the study, 468 couples were asked
about the quality of their marriages and how they expressed their gratitude to
each other.

The results consistently showed the power
of gratitude, said Dr Allen Barton, the study’s first author:

“It goes to show the power of ‘thank

Even if a couple is experiencing distress
and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote
positive marital outcomes.”

One particularly dangerous negative
pattern is called ‘demand/withdraw’, Dr Barton explains:

“Demand/withdraw communication occurs
when one partner tends to demand, nag or criticize, while the other responds by
withdrawing or avoiding the confrontation.

Although wife demand/husband withdraw
interactions appear more commonly in couples, in the current study we found
financial distress was associated with lower marital outcomes through its
effects on increasing the total amount of both partners’ demand/withdraw

Gratitude was effective at breaking
through this negative pattern, said Dr Futris:

“Importantly, we found that when couples
are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand/withdrawal, expressions
of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of
this type of interaction on marital stability.”

Dr Futris continued:

“All couples have disagreements and

And, when couples are stressed, they are
likely to have more arguments.

What distinguishes the marriages that
last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and
how they treat each other on a daily basis.”

The study was published in the
journal Personal Relationships (Barton et al., 2015).


Kayode Ojo
Kayode Emmanuel Ojo is the Co-Founder and Managing Director at SHEFFA Limited. He is presently studying Computer Science at the National Open University, Victoria Island, Lagos.