Can saying ‘thank you’ save marriages?

Can saying ‘thank you’ save marriages?

A simple “thank you” may hold the key to a longer-lasting marriage, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of Georgia asked nearly 500 married individuals questions about their finances, their communication with their spouse and expressions of spousal gratitude.

The results showed that the most consistent predictor of marital success was regularly expressing gratitude to one’s spouse. The study measured gratitude in terms of how much individuals felt appreciated and valued by their spouse and acknowledged when they did something nice for their spouse.

“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,” study co-author Ted Futris said in a news release.

Dr. Judy Ronan Woodburn, an Advocate Medical Group clinical psychologist at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal, Ill., agrees.

Other research indicates that people of all ages who practice gratitude reap many social, psychological and physical benefits, with little effort,” says Dr. Woodburn.

She cites decreased conflict in relationships, improved parenting, increased self-worth and lower blood pressure as just a few of the benefits of leading a grateful life.

“It goes to show the power of ‘thank you,’” lead study author Allen Barton said. “Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.”

Barton added that the study is the first to document the “protective effect” that spousal appreciation can have in marriages, offering a practical way for couples to strengthen their bond.

“We can cultivate gratitude, or a sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life, by practicing gratitude,” says Dr. Woodburn. “Simple strategies such as keeping a gratitude journal, writing a letter of thanks to someone, identifying a few good things in life each day and accepting affirmations from others can make a significant difference.”

Related Posts



  1. Came across this, which was particularly relevant to us. I also note that this is relevant in the workplace. I remember hearing “Thank you for all you do!” at the end of broadcast emails and voicemails in many work environments. The problem with it is that an acknowledgement or expression of gratitude only has meaning when it’s individualized, when it is an acknowledgement directed toward someone with whose work the speaker is familiar. Otherwise, it serves merely as a slogan, like “Have a nice day,” or “Talk to you soon.”

  2. To save marriage relationships, work relationships, just all life relationships, just be polite and considerate, keep up the sense of humor, and always put yourself in the other’s shoes.

About the Author

health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.