You can read multiple relationship advice blogs and listen to endless podcasts with experts droning on and on about what makes a relationship healthy and it will ultimately all boil down to just one thing: communication.
Experts across the board will agree that communication is the key to a strong and healthy relationship. Healthy communication patterns between couples can strengthen relationships and help avoid any issues that stem from not being able to express yourself freely to your partner.
Psychologists Dr John Gottman and Dr Julia Schwartz Gottman studied about 40,000 couples and discovered that there’s only one simple phrase that can help iron over any niggling relationship issues and significantly contribute to any relationship’s success.
That phrase is ‘Thank you’.
This simple expression of gratitude often goes unsaid in relationships, especially long-term ones. Most of us take the small acts our partner does for us, or the ones we do for our partner, for granted. We stop expecting an acknowledgement of gratitude from the other and it becomes a habit. But, as the study has shown, saying ‘thank you’ can actually improve your relationship.
According to the experts, making room for gratitude helps build intimacy and emotional safety. In any long-term relationship, it becomes very easy to fall into a pattern of noticing all things wrong with your partner instead of what they’re doing right. Saying a simple ‘thank you’, even for something small, can help you break the pattern.
“You develop a narrative where you’re the one putting in all the effort, and you start to believe it’s true,” reads the study.
This is especially important for people who are not fond of grand gestures and public declarations of love for their partners. A simple word can make your partner feel valued and improve your relationship easily.