This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. You can read my full disclaimer here.
What if I told you there was one simple thing you could do today to improve your marriage?
There is. And it’ll take you just a few seconds.
Backed By Research
The University of Georgia surveyed 468 married people in 2015 and published the results in the journal Personal Relationships. What they found was something profoundly fascinating and yet oh-so-simple.
Their findings? The biggest factor in marital happiness is appreciation. And how do we know we are appreciated? When our spouse says “Thank you.”
One of the founders of the study said, “The results indicated that spousal expression of gratitude was the most consistent significant predictor of marital quality.”
All of that means that a simple “thank you” can change your marriage.
Why It’s So Powerful
Think about it. When you feel appreciated, you know that your spouse values you. Feeling valued helps you feel better about your relationship and increases your commitment to one another.
Marriage, motherhood, and running a household all require a lot of work. And we do it even when it’s completely thankless, but being appreciated is a pretty amazing feeling, isn’t it? It makes the work feel easier and more worthwhile.
Your husband likely feels the same way. Whether he works and you stay home, or you both work (whatever your situation is), he needs to feel appreciated and valued too. Try thanking him for working so hard, for mowing the lawn, for help with the kids, etc. Try this even if you think he should “do it anyway” and even if he never thanks you for doing the same things.
And before you think, “He never does anything worth thanking him for,” I guarantee you, he does! Search for those behaviors. Try to find something positive that he does today. This shouldn’t be too hard if you don’t allow yourself to be distracted by all the “negative” things you perceive. There’s something positive in there, just keep watching and waiting for it.
(A rule you learn in management is to express gratitude for any behaviors you’d like to see repeated– It works in marriages too!)
For Those Who are Feeling Underappreciated
In case you’re thinking, “But my husband never thanks me,” consider this… You can’t control how your husband acts. You can only control yourself, so take the initiative and start showing your husband appreciation, even if you’re feeling under-appreciated yourself. Maybe your behavior will inspire him to return the favor. And even if it doesn’t right away, you’re still taking steps toward improving your marriage.
Any changes we want in our lives have to start with ourselves. If we want to be loved and appreciated, we should show love and appreciation. We can’t expect to receive it if we aren’t giving it. It’s immature to think, “I’ll show appreciation when he does.” We should strive to live like mature adults and take the initiative to change our own behavior before expecting our spouse to change.
Don’t Be Afraid to Express Your Needs
Sometimes the problems in our marriage are a result of a lack of communication. We might feel unappreciated, but we never say so. And meanwhile, our husbands have no idea, because we never tell them. We can’t expect them to read our minds. Sometimes, we simply need to say, “I’m feeling a little unappreciated recently.” At least when they know, they have the power to change it.
The rest is in their hands.
I won’t promise you that expressing your needs to your husbands will mean that he meets them. But it’s only fair to let him know, so he has the chance.
If You Need Extra Help
If you’re having a lot of problems in your marriage, I’m sorry to say that they probably won’t change overnight. But you can take steps to change them over time. Start by saying “Thank you” whenever you can.
Also, please don’t be afraid to seek counseling. Counseling could be the difference between an unhappy marriage/divorce and a fulfilling, loving relationship. Even happily married couples could benefit from counseling from time to time.
Check out my related post “Tips for Being Husband and Wife When You’re Mom and Dad” for some ideas on how to re-kindle romance and get to know each other better.
Have you subscribed yet? Sign up today to hear about my latest posts. As a thank you, I’ll send you my free 5-day course, “Finding Wellness and Balance as a Mom.”
And did you know that we now have a Facebook community? You can join us here.