Gratitude is one of the core components of a healthy relationship but what is it exactly that makes us grateful towards our partners? A piece of research from 2018 has shown that seeing the sacrifices that your partner has made is the key part of feeling and displaying gratitude towards them. According to the research the important part is to see a sacrifice whether or not your partner has actually made a sacrifice. Seeing a sacrifice that wasn’t really a sacrifice still leads to gratitude towards your partner and higher levels of relationship satisfaction. Whereas leaving acts of sacrifice unnoticed leads to lower relationship satisfaction.
So how can we start seeing more of our partner’s sacrifices? One very easy way to do this is to write one or two things down each day that your partner has done that you are grateful for. Taking a few minutes a day to do this will help you reflect on your partner’s actions and make it easier to see any sacrifices they have made. When you’ve recognised something you’re grateful for try to express it to them when possible. It can be as simple as saying that you really appreciated when your partner did the shopping today so you could spend some time with your best friend. One sentence of gratitude can make all the difference to your relationship happiness.
Making sacrifices in a relationship has been linked to lower levels of happiness and relationship satisfaction but is it all bad news? Fortunately research from 2016 suggests that sacrifice isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When it is part of a supportive relationship where your partner listens to you and provides social support then the potentially negative effects of sacrifice are neutralised.
Takeaway: Noticing and being grateful for the sacrifices your partner makes will make your relationship satisfaction levels higher. Making sacrifices for your partner isn’t a bad thing as long as you are part of a supportive relationship.