My Three Cents

The results of a University of Georgia study last month found that gratitude is a key strategy for couples interested in improving their marriages.  I would contend that it’s equally important for communications and other professionals in their relationships with clients, supervisors and direct reports.

Why?  Because an overwhelming majority (78%) of people who work 30 to 50 hours a week spend more time with co-workers than with their own families.  The happiness of these “surrogate families” matters, too.

“All couples have disagreements and argue,” says study co-author Ted Futris, an associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences.  “And when [they] are stressed, they are likely to have more arguments. What distinguishes the marriages [and other relationships] that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”

Sadly, according to the Wall Street Journal, only 10% of adults say “thank you” to a colleague at work every day, and just 7% express gratitude daily to a boss.  What a missed opportunity!

Futris contends that gratitude can interrupt negative cycles and help couples (and others) overcome negative communications habits. “We found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last.”

“It goes to show the power of ‘thank you,'” said the study’s lead author Allen Barton.

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