A Fact & A Challenge for Your Marriage
FACT: Researchers at the University of Georgia recently published the results of a study involving 468 married individuals. The study looked at the impact of financial stress, the demand/withdrawal communication pattern, and the expression of gratitude on marriage. They found expression of gratitude toward one’s spouse was the “most consistent significant predictor of marital quality” among those involved in the study. The more gratitude spouses express toward one another, the less they used the negative communication pattern in which one partner demands and the other withdraws, and the greater their commitment to their marriage. In other words, feeling and perceiving gratitude from one’s spouse increases commitment to marriage and each spouse’s willingness to communicate about the “difficult topics” in their relationship. There is power in the simple expression of gratitude. (Learn more about the power of gratitude by reading Intentional Gratitude and 4 Tools for a Happy Marriage.) That leads me to the “challenge.”
CHALLENGE: Make a commitment to express gratitude to your spouse on a daily basis. Doing so will increase positive communication, buffer your relationship against various relational stresses, and protect your marriage from divorce. Here are three ways to help you meet this challenge.
- At the end of each day reflect back on how many times you expressed gratitude to your spouse…and how many things your spouse did for which you did not express gratitude. Commit to increase your expression of gratitude tomorrow.
- Keep a daily gratitude journal by writing 3-5 things you could thank your spouse for doing that day. Share your list with your spouse at the end of the week.
- Set a reminder on your cell phone to prompt you to stop three times a day (morning, noon, evening) and think about things you appreciate about your spouse. Each time, write down 1-2 things you appreciate about your spouse. At the end of the day, share two of the things you have listed.
A fact and a challenge that can strengthen your marriage. FACT: There is great power in gratitude. CHALLENGE: Show gratitude daily! Your marriage will thank you for it.