I had one goal when I started graduate school five years ago – to understand why some romantic relationships thrive while others fail. I also had one primary hypothesis – relationships fail when partners begin to take each other for granted. And I thought: if taking each other for granted is the poison, maybe gratitude is the antidote.
Back when I started, few people were talking about gratitude. Today it is everywhere, and for good reason. A decade of burgeoning research has highlighted the myriad benefits of gratitude for physical and mental well-being. And we’ve found that gratitude is good in large part because it helps us create and hold onto our close relationships.
In research by Sara Algoe and colleagues, grateful couples were more satisfied in their relationships and felt closer to each other (see this post for the details of their findings). And in our research, we found that the more grateful participants were, the more likely they were to still be in their relationships nine months later.
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