Showing Gratitude for Partner’s Generosity Strengthens Bonds

When you do something for your romantic partner, is it the thought that counts? Yes, but a new study suggests something else matters: the return favor of gratitude.

HealthDay News has a report on the details:

“Feelings of gratitude and generosity are helpful in solidifying our relationships with people we care about, and benefit the one giving as well as the one on the receiving end,” study author Sara Algoe, an assistant professor of research in the psychology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, said in a news release.

The researchers followed more than 65 couples in ongoing relationships and tracked their levels of satisfaction and connection on a day-to-day basis.

The study authors found that people were deeply affected by their partners’ levels of gratitude.

“Gratitude triggers a cascade of responses within the person who feels it in that very moment, changing the way the person views the generous benefactor, as well as motivations toward the benefactor,” Algoe said.

“This is especially true when a person shows that they care about the partner’s needs and preferences.”

The bottom line? Saying “thanks,” and showing gratitude goes a long, long way in improving relationships — not only at home, but likely at work as well.

I’ve written much more about the health benefits of gratitude in my book 10 Essentials of Happy, Healthy People: Becoming and staying highly healthy. You can read more about the book here.

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