Gratitude is the Key to Stopping Arguments


Gratitude is the key to maintaining healthy relationships, and it can diffuse arguments, according to a study out from the University of Georgia.

Researchers asked 468 married individuals questions about their financial well-being, communication, and expressions of spousal gratitude. "The results indicated that spousal expression of gratitude was the most consistent significant predictor of marital quality," say the study's authors. 

"It goes to show the power of ‘thank you,'" says the study's lead author Allen Barton, a former doctoral student in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. "Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes."

The research also showed that gratitude even managed to soften arguments. "Expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability," says the study's co-author Ted Futris, an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. 

But it's often not easy to express gratitude in the midst of an argument.

Here are three ways you and your partner can remind each other of your mutual appreciation in the heat of the moment:

  1. Have an "gratitude" rug. Every time you or your partner walk over the rug, you have to say what you appreciate about the other person. For a greater impact, pick a place in the home where arguments tend to occur. Nothing diffuses an argument like having to say "I appreciate your...."
  2. Create and frame a list of the top 10 things you and your partner appreciate about each other. Hang it in a likely "argument zone" to serve as a reminder that you are both thankful for your relationship. 
  3. Commit to argue only when you are both holding hands. The power of your connection will help fizzle out the dispute.

"All couples have disagreements and argue," Futris says. "And, when couples are stressed, they are likely to have more arguments. What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don't is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis." 

While a "thank you" might be the last thing on your mind sometimes, it can go a long way in keeping your relationship strong. 

Photo by iStock

How do you show appreciation toward your partner? Do you have any tips for diffusing arguments? Share your comments with us below!  


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Helen Avery is a Section Editor at Wanderlust Media, working on the Vitality, Wisdom, and Wellness channels on Wanderlust.com and YOGANONYMOUS. She is a journalist, writer, yoga teacher, and full-time dog walker of Millie.