The Power of Gratitude in Marriage


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Over the past twenty-plus years, there have been several studies conducted on the topic of gratitude in relationships. Most of us don’t have to read the results to understand the importance of it. Suffice it to say, couples who practice gratitude tend to have higher levels of marital satisfaction.

Most of us enjoy being affirmed and appreciated. At work, that might be a heartfelt thank you, a bonus, a pay increase, or even in the form of a promotion.

But do we promote the same sentiment at home?

In this article, we’ll discuss the impact gratitude can have on your marriage. We’ll look at some biblical examples of gratitude. And we’ll discuss ways to foster the power of gratitude in your marriage.

The Impact of Gratitude

How often are you thanked for the work you do? Is it enough or do you wish for more? Unless you work for an outstanding boss, most of us would probably say we don’t get thanked enough.

Now, turn that around. How often do you thank others? And do you thank them like what you’d like yourself? It doesn’t have to be monetary. Perhaps “thank you” is enough.

It feels good to be appreciated and recognized for your efforts.

A recent Gallup poll found companies where the employees are appreciated have a 13% higher productivity rate and 32% lower turnover. And company profitability increased by 22%.

In other words, when employees feel engaged and appreciated, they’re more productive.

On an individual level, a survey found that 70% of the respondents said they intentionally acknowledged and appreciated others on a regular basis. However, only 57% said they felt others did the same for them. Another stat in the survey found that 59% of those who were appreciated believed it was heart-felt.

While we like to receive appreciation from others, we know the difference between genuine and lip service.

The same is true in your marriage. A husband who practices gratitude may feel less overwhelmed by work stress, and a wife who feels appreciated might experience less anxiety, leading to a healthier relationship.

When you show appreciation for your wife, she’s likely to reciprocate. Remember, women are natural at showing love and appreciation. Show it to her and she’ll likely reward you for it.

Related article: Intimacy and Romance in Marriage.

Biblical Examples

There are several throughout the Old and New Testament. To narrow it down, let’s look to Paul as an example. Consider Colossians 3 and 1 Thessalonians 5.

“And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Colossians 3:15-16

“See to it that no one repays evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Rejoice always, 17 pray constantly, 18 give thanks in everything; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”1 Thessalonians 5:15-18

Paul, the author of both Colossians and Thessalonians, had an interesting life.

Growing up a Pharisee, he hated anyone, and anything related to Jesus Christ the Nazarene. He said so in his testimony before of King Agrippa.

Even though he once hated Christians, he became the most well-known Apostle. You love much when you’re forgiven much. And in his words, he said he was the worst of all sinners.

He was grateful for Jesus opening his eyes to the truth. So much so that he spent the remainder of his life telling everyone he could about salvation through Jesus Christ.

Your story and mine might not be so impactful on the world. But it can be for our families and those around us.

Fostering Gratitude at Home

As the leader of your home, you have the opportunity (and I might add responsibility) to foster a culture of gratitude in your family. This is especially important during difficult times.

Here are a few ways you can start implementing today:

  • Be the example
  • Recognize the gratitude of others
  • Continually encourage it to occur

Be the Example

To foster an environmental change in your marriage (and home), as the leader of your household you must lead the way. Lead by example.

If you want to foster an environment of gratitude, then show it. Saying “thank you” is a good start.

As mentioned earlier, people know whether it’s genuine or not. Therefore, it shouldn’t stop with a verbal response.

I’m sure you’ve heard it said, “Actions speak louder than words.” Let your actions continue to speak where your words stop.

One way to do this is by learning your wife’s love language. Speaking her language will be the conveyance when you don’t know what to say.

Recognize the Gratitude of Others

When your wife does things for you (i.e., acts of kindness), make it a point to acknowledge her efforts.

I don’t mean just saying, “thank you” either.

I’d suggest taking it a step further and elaborate.

In addition to saying thank you, perhaps you could tell her how much you appreciate what she did for you.

My wife’s love language is acts of service. Therefore, in addition to saying thank you I might do something to help her out. When she sees what I’ve done, and says, “Thank you” I might reply like this.

“You’re welcome, my love. You do so much for me (us), I wanted to show my love and appreciation for you.”

Of course, don’t find one response and say that every time. She’ll catch on if you do. Just respond in a heart-felt loving way each time and there will be nothing to memorize.

Continually Encourage it to Occur

Recognizing others is one way to foster a culture of gratitude at home. You can also perform acts of kindness.

By learning your wife’s love language, you’ll begin to understand the best way to show her love. Mind you, it’s not the only way.

Sometimes, she might want to be held. Perhaps she just needs you to listen and not solve her problem. And maybe she’s yearning to hear you say you love her.

The more you do to show your appreciation for her, the more she’s likely to reciprocate.

Before you know it, love and gratitude will fill your marriage and your home. And it will prove easier to resolve conflicts when they occur.

If you found value in this post, consider reading Priorities in a Healthy Work-Life Balance.

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