Study Suggests That Lack Of Gratitude Can Destroy Relationships

Gratitude is an action that one can perform through verbal, written, or physical expressions of certain actions that are associated with it — for example, bowing down and saying thank you. A research study have insinuated that gratitude makes people happier with each other. Couples who are grateful tend to feel more satisfied in relationships, contrary to couples who don’t practice or show gratitude and appreciation to each other. Likewise, individuals who pay attention to little things other people do for them or receive favors from their partners, friends, or family members tend to feel more happy and satisfied. 

Why Does Gratitude Help In Relationships?  

The study suggests that low gratitude acts as a “weak link” and gratitude works well when it flows from both sides. But the good news is gratitude is contagious. That means when one person shows it; the other one starts to offer it as well. For example, a partner who never receives “thank you” to his/her spouse, the spouse may feel unwelcome most of the time when meeting each other after a long hectic day. But, a partner who says “thanks” for every little thing or gestures their spouse who exhibits them feels more appreciated and acknowledged whenever they meet. 

How To Practice Gratitude

Now here is the list of some methods to practicing gratitude:

  • Create a journal and make it your duty to fill it daily with the events that make you happy, the moments you enjoyed and the compliments you collected.
  • For a healthy and successful relationship, do it in a pair, write down one thing in the journal of your loved one for which you think they must be grateful for but have been ignored so far and ask them to do the same for you.
  • Mark a place in your room to use daily to pray or show gratitude to the universe for your existence, breaths, fully functioning body, mind and all the necessities that have fulfilled for you without your request.
  • Make an intention of consciously choosing gratitude and saying thanks all the time in all situations without any doubt or second thought.

Showing Gratitude In Relationships

The psychologist in the research study mentioned above[1]McNulty, J. K., & Dugas, A. A dyadic perspective on gratitude sheds light on both its benefits and its costs. Journal of Family Psychology, 33(7), 876–881. initiated the effort to know how exactly showing gratitude in relationships affects it on a deeper level. The study was achieved with the help of 120 newlywed couples in their first two years of courtship, surveyed how much they show gratitude and experience it with their partners. The follow up of the study after every year for four years revealed that the couples influenced each other to a great extent, and the change in gratitude change them accordingly. 


Gratitude is an expression, freely available to you to apply. Just try this out today for the next 24 hours and notice how change occurs in your life. You can start by saying “Thanks” or “I am grateful” for the smallest things others do. Like, cooking something for you or simply asking about your day. 

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Written by Nazish Idrees

Nazish is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Nutritional Advisor. She is a highly qualified PhD Scholar, completed her B.Sc. in Clinical Psychology.

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