If you want your husband or wife love you more, there’s reason to hope. Researchers at a University of North Carolina have discovered a simple way to do it.
It’s all in how you express gratitude to your spouse.
Don’t do it this way. Say you usually do the dishes after dinner and your spouse does them for you. Don’t express your gratitude by saying something like, “Thanks for doing the dishes. I enjoyed being able to relax.”
That’s nice, but it doesn’t stir up love.
There’s an interesting twist that adds power to showing gratitude in a marriage. It’s revealed in “Putting the ‘You’ in ‘Thank You’: Examining Other-Praising Behavior as the Active Relational Ingredient in Expressed Gratitude,” a study published in Social Psychology & Personality.
So, what’s the secret?
The secret is in using “other-praising” statements of gratitude. The authors of the study found that these other-praising gratitude statements evoke loving emotions in the person being thanked. That love is directed toward the spouse expressing gratitude.
When a husband or wife expressing gratitude used what the researchers called “self-benefit”statements, the loving feelings weren’t there.
Self-benefit gratitude statements put the focus on the person giving thanks. Examples of self-benefit statements include, “I was able to finish my cleaning earlier,” “It makes me happy,” “I love how I look in that.” Don’t use these.
If you want to stimulate a loving feeling in your spouse, use other-praising statements like these: “You knew exactly what I needed,” “You were so thoughtful,” “You knew I was looking for something like that.”
Other-praising gratitude puts the focus on the spouse being thanked and their efforts, rather than on the happiness of the person expressing gratitude.
Try it out with your husband or wife and feel the love coming you way in return.