Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

It's the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships

Date:
May 24, 2010
Source:
Wiley-Blackwell
Summary:
Our busy lives sometimes feel like they are spinning out of control, and we lose track of the little things we can do to add meaning to our lives and make our loved ones feel appreciated. A new article in points the way to the methods of gratitude we can use to give a boost to our romantic relationships, and help us achieve and maintain satisfaction with our partners.

Our busy lives sometimes feel like they are spinning out of control, and we lose track of the little things we can do to add meaning to our lives and make our loved ones feel appreciated. A new article in Personal Relationships points the way to the methods of gratitude we can use to give a boost to our romantic relationships, and help us achieve and maintain satisfaction with our partners.

Related Articles


Humans are interdependent, with people doing things for each other all the time. Simply because a person does something for another does not mean that the emotion of gratitude will be felt. In addition to the possibility of not even noticing the kind gesture, one could have many different reactions to receiving a benefit from someone else, including gratitude, resentment, misunderstood, or indebtedness.

Positive thinking has been shown to have a longstanding constructive effect on our emotional life. Extending these positive emotions and gratitude to our romantic partners can increase the benefit of positive thinking tenfold, say the authors of this new study. Lead author Dr. Sara Algoe says, "Feelings of gratitude and generosity are helpful in solidifying our relationships with people we care about, and benefit to the one giving as well as the one on the receiving end." The authors propose that the emotion of gratitude is adaptive, and ultimately helps us to find, remind, and bind ourselves to people who seem to care about our welfare.

Events such as one partner planning a celebratory meal when the other partner gets a promotion, taking the children to the zoo so the other partner can have some quiet time, or stopping to pick up the other partner's favorite coffee drink are each examples of gratuitous behavior that could strengthen romantic relationships, if the recipient feels grateful in response.

The study authors chose to study over sixty-five couples who were already in ongoing, satisfying, and committed relationships. They tracked the day-to-day fluctuations in relationship satisfaction and connection for each member of the relationship. These little, everyday, ups and downs in relationship quality were reliably marked by one person's feelings of gratitude. The effects on the relationship were noticed even the day after feeling the gratitude was expressed. This research thus suggests that even everyday gratitude serves an important relationship maintenance mechanism in close relationships, acting as a booster shot to the relationship.

The authors of the study claim that this emotional response may be beneficial for relationships that are on the rocks, or in a context where people already have solid and satisfied relationships -- a little gratitude may go a long way toward maintaining the connection. By temporarily changing the perspective on the relationship, everyday gratitude may work as a booster shot for ongoing romantic relationships.

However, the authors are quick to warn that the everyday emotional response of indebtedness did not facilitate relationship maintenance. Indebtedness implies a need to repay kind gestures. This may work to help to keep relationships in working order, but will not yield as many benefits or long-term growth in the relationship as an expression of gratitude. Algoe says, "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. This is especially true when a person shows that they care about the partner's needs and preferences."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Wiley-Blackwell. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sara B. Algoe, Shelly L. Gable, Natalya C. Maisel. It's the Little Things: Everyday Gratitude as a Booster Shot for Romantic Relationships. Personal Relationships, 2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1475-6811.2010.01273.x

Cite This Page:

Wiley-Blackwell. "It's the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524072912.htm>.
Wiley-Blackwell. (2010, May 24). It's the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 3, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524072912.htm
Wiley-Blackwell. "It's the little things: Everyday gratitude as a booster shot for romantic relationships." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100524072912.htm (accessed March 3, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

This Nasal Treatment Could Help Ease Migraine Pain

Newsy (Mar. 2, 2015) Researchers gave lidocaine to 112 patients, and about 88 percent of the subjects said they needed less migraine-relief medicine the next day. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

How Facebook Use Can Lead To Depression

Newsy (Mar. 1, 2015) Margaret Duffy of the University of Missouri talks about her study on the social network and the envy and depression that Facebook use can cause. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods to Battle Stress

The Best Foods to Battle Stress

Buzz60 (Feb. 26, 2015) If you&apos;re dealing with anxiety, there are a few foods that can help. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the best foods to tame stress. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins