I recently learned something very interesting. Yes, it does have to do with gratitude, but there is a twist...
In my Advanced Family Processes class we learn about interesting topics that you wouldn't think fit into a discussion of family processes. For example, gratitude is one topic that we thoroughly studied and discussed in class. Most of the topics my professor has chosen to discuss are basic principles (sacrifice, forgiveness, gratitude, etc.) that are actually the foundation for all other behaviors and family processes.

Anyway, back to my point: gratitude is an essential component of a successful marriage.

I have read a few studies on gratitude (yes, researchers really do study behaviors of gratitude) and during that time I have realized how much it affects my own marriage. These are a few points brought up in multiple studies that also relate to my own life.

  • A spouse that feels appreciated is more likely to engage in relationship maintenance behaviors (more commitment, more patience, and more willing to sacrifice)
  • A spouse that shows appreciation is more likely to feel that their spouse is contributing to the relationship, and is more likely to see the positive traits in their spouse and marriage.
  • When you are grateful you are essentially looking for the positive, which makes you a happier person. Studies show that grateful people are happier, have less depression (duh), and live longer than ungrateful people.
  • Entitlement is the opposite of gratitude. When entitlement is present in marriage bad things start to happen; when you feel entitled you set expectations that may never be met. If you get married expecting that your husband will do half the housework you will never be truly grateful when he pitches in and does the dishes a couple times a week. Instead, you will be constantly thinking about all the other times that he should be doing the dishes.
I have found gratefulness to be extremely helpful. When I start to feel entitled, I start to lose sight of all the things to be grateful for. Maintaining a spirit of gratitude is so important for your marriage. However, it is important to recognize that gratitude isn't about changing your spouse (i.e. If I express appreciation maybe he will do more dishes...), it is about changing your perspective.

Having a spirit of gratitude is about shifting your view of what is lacking to what you have in abundance.

Sometimes when I'm feeling ungrateful and entitled, I say a silent prayer of gratitude for my husband and think about all the wonderful attributes he has.

I would like to challenge you to truly think about the role of gratitude in your marriage, and then try to apply it all year long. As a Family Life student, I can promise you that gratitude is one of those special attributes that can do wonders for your relationship with your spouse and Heavenly Father.


  1. this post is AMAZING. i never really thought about gratitude being important in marriage. this has definitely changed my perspective on a lot of different basic principles.
    would you mind if i mentioned your post on my blog? this is just too perfect.

    1. Thank you! Of course I wouldn't mind! I would love to get more people aware of things that can help their marriage.

  2. Found you from Bethany's blog. Such a great post! And so true! It's hard to keep the right perspective throughout the day and continually be grateful for your spouse when things seems to be going off track. Life get's hectic, we get caught up in things. But having an eternal perspective rather than a earthly one is such a lifesaver in any marriage, and truly can give you a grateful heart!

    Thanks for sharing!

  3. I also found you through Bethany's blog and completely agree! Thank you so much for putting your thoughts down for us to read. Gratitude is such a simple concept and yet so easily over looked. Thank you for the reminder!

  4. I think gratefulness is so important for marriage and life in general! Having an entitled attitude--"I deserve everything I get"--can really turn you into a spoiled brat that no one wants to be around. That's not good for any relationship. It's very good to realize this early in life!