New research at UNCG on gratitude and relationships

Buckley Report

Didn’t someone once tell you that a simple and sincere thank you can go a long way? Well, new research out of UNC-Greensboro proves that.

Ph.D. student Ashlyn Brady and her team set out to find just how far gratitude can take you in an intimate relationship.

“Gratitude is one thing that people can do that is relatively simple and effortless to let your partner know that, ‘Hey, I value you,’” says Brady.

What Brady and her team found was that not all gratitude is created equal.

“We know from an abundance of past research that gratitude is beneficial, broadly speaking,” says Brady. “What was novel was it was especially beneficial in the context of fulfilling a partner’s sexual needs, rather than needs, broadly.”

So, what exactly is gratitude? It can be a variety of things that lets your partner feel valued.

“One example that I often think of is making your partner a meal. Like, if you’re up in the morning and you’re making yourself breakfast, you might make a little more for your partner and, over time, they may come to just expect it, rather than be appreciative for it,” Brady says.

But it has to be sincere to be effective.

“In order to receive the benefits that we’ve talked about from experiencing gratitude or receiving gratitude, the gratitude should be sincere, it should be authentic,” she notes. “It shouldn’t be something that is forced or just doesn’t feel right.”

This research has caught the eye of some national media, including Forbes Magazine, and may come in handy for Ashlyn, herself, who is engaged to be married.

“I think many ideas researchers come up with come from their everyday experiences,” she says.

Hear more about how gratitude can enhance an intimate relationship in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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