You’ve learned that gratitude is a good thing. You make an attempt to find the positives in everyday life. You might keep a gratitude journal. Your mantra is ‘gratitude.’ You’re training your brain to notice the little things and you express your gratitude when you do. The result? You’re a happier, healthier person.
When it comes to your relationship, you know that when you appreciate your partner, you’re more in tune to his needs. And you’re more likely to know what to do to evoke gratitude from him. You’re also more likely to do as much as you can to keep your relationship solid—because you’re grateful for it.
But sometimes, when gratitude is lop-sided in a relationship, it can be detrimental. Studies show that when both partners are high in gratitude when they start out in their marriage, they are even more satisfied three years later. But when one partner high in gratitude is married to one low in gratitude, marital satisfaction declines more precipitously than it would have otherwise. In some cases, when one partner showed very little gratitude and the other a great deal of gratitude, it can actually hurt their marital happiness.
In other words, when just one partner is vulnerable and not grateful, it can be enough to disrupt the satisfaction both partners have in their relationship. If you’re the one high in gratitude, you might hope for a little more appreciation from your partner. After all, those moments of gratitude provide touch points of love and connection, and if you’re the only one providing those touch points, you may come to resent it.
If you’re the less grateful partner, you might also be less satisfied because there’s a mismatch in your marriage, and the two of you essentially don’t agree about how to treat each other. But sometimes, if you’re more grateful than your partner, your positive attitude can rub off on him and cause him to become more grateful too.
If your gratitude quotient is mismatched, remember that’s it’s only one part of the relationship equation and it doesn’t mean your marriage is doomed. If your partner behaves less grateful than you are, perhaps you can appreciate that he is who he is. And be grateful for the difference.
Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact