Do you show gratitude to the people around you? How about your spouse? Does they know how much you appreciate them? This Sunday is Wife Appreciation Day, and we thought it timely to discuss just this concept. How important is it to show your appreciation? Researchers at the University of Georgia were wondering the same thing, and telephone interviewed 468 married individuals. They were asked questions about their finances, how they communicate, and, you got it, how they express gratitude to their spouses. They found a significant difference in the reported quality of marriages between those who regularly expressed gratitude to their spouses, and those who didn’t. The study found that expressing spousal gratitude was a significant predictor of marriage quality.
“It goes to show the power of ‘thank you,’” said Allen Barton, a postdoctoral research associate at UGA’s Center for Family Research and lead author of the study. “Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.”
Since people often show their love in different ways, verbal expressions of thanks may not come naturally. In his book, “The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts” Gary Chapman discusses the concept that every person has their own “love language.” That is, the way they express love and thanks, and the way they receive love and thanks. Trickier still – some people express and receive love in two different ways. For example, you may express love and thanks by doing tasks and chores around the house, and receive love best by physical touch. Whereas your wife may express love and thanks by giving little gifts, but receives love best by words of affirmation. All of this is just fine, but your spouse may not be receiving your message of gratitude and love loud and clear, because your messages are not in his or her “love language.” You might be surprised at what your spouse reveals about how he or she best receives love and appreciation if you ask him or her.
Different love languages aside, you can rest assured that a few well-placed and well-communicated thank-you’s can make a world of difference in the atmosphere of your marriage. Going even further with a buying token a of thanks will delight and surprise her. Because, after all, who actually celebrates Wife Appreciation Day? A gift card to our massage studio is a lovely idea, and one that will not only leave her feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, but will also actually improve her health and sleep, and give her more energy.
And showing gratitude isn’t just good for your spouse, it’s actually good for you, too. Adding daily doses of gratitude into your life can improve your entire outlook. In fact, studies show that those who express gratitude on a regular basis are more creative, exercise more often, have stronger immune systems, and have stronger social relationships. Win-win!