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How Showing Gratitude Can Increase Relationship Quality

Updated: Jun 17, 2022

Many people know the important role that gratitude plays in our overall well-being. A study from Robert Emmons, the world's leading expert on gratitude, revealed that regular habits of showing gratitude resulted in increased energy, moods, enthusiasm, and positive attitudes towards their family. So what is gratitude's significance in relationships? Well, regularly showing gratitude has also been shown to promote relationship formation and maintenance. This makes sense, as letting our partners know how grateful we are for them increases relationship quality. Studies have shown that gratitude benefits both the giver and receiver of gratitude, helping them feel more connected.

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Do we have to spell it out?

Gratitude expressed today doesn't just benefit your present self, a larger study of over 31,000 people found that gratitude was associated with greater subjective well-being across the lifespan of the study participants!

The benefits are plentiful! So we laid out some activities to help you get started on your journey towards regularly exhibiting gratitude with your partner (aka couple goals).

Gratitude exercises that you can do with you partner

What kind of couples app would we be if we didn't provide an activity for you to practice giving and receiving gratitude with your partner?

  • 3 Good Things Exercise: This exercise comes from the father of modern Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman.

    • As you prepare to go to bed, reflect on the things that you did that day.

    • Find three positive things that went well, force your mind to focus on good things

    • Write them down on paper or in the notes section of your phone

    • Spend 15-20 seconds reflecting on each event, think how it was different from any other event that day and why it was memorable.

    • Repeat this exercise every night for at least a week (it may become a new ritual if you enjoy it!)

    • Incorporate your partner by sharing some of the week's highlights with them

  • Gratitude Letter: This exercise is also straight forward, write a letter expressing thanks and deliver it in person.

    • Detailed template here

    • In this example, think of something that your partner did this day/week/month that you are extremely grateful for

    • Describe what your partner did and how it impacted your life (limit to ~300 words)

    • Deliver it in person the next time you see your partner (if you live together, this should be a relatively easy step)

    • Read the letter out loud to them, and discuss your feelings and reactions together afterwards

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Beautiful handwriting not required!
  • RelationTips: We'd be remiss if we didn't mention our daily text series that you can sign up for until the launch of our app for couples. You can get activity ideas, such as new ideas to creatively express gratitude, date ideas, relationship tips, and more straight to your phone!

Receiving gratitude from your partner? Make sure to do it the 'right way'!

In their book Happy Together, Suzie and James Pawelski highlight the importance of not just giving, but also receiving gratitude properly. Below are the do's and do not's of receiving gratitude from your partner.

  • Do Not

    • Deflect: This is where you brush off the gratitude. Passive or lack of response will give off the message that you are indifferent to their gratitude.

    • Quickly reciprocate: With this "hot potato" response, you turn receiving gratitude into a transaction by paying them back with a response such as "that's so nice, you're also a hard worker." This reduces the significance of the gratitude exchange.

    • Discount: This is where you respond to your partner's gratitude by saying something such as "Thanks, but I could have done better" or "Thanks, but I got lucky and didn't do anything to deserve it." Once again, by responding this way, we are not making the most out of the gratitude being offered to us, and reducing the positive benefits of gratitude.

  • Do

    • Accept: Duh! Genuinely receive the gratitude with a heartfelt "Thanks!" to get the benefits of receiving gratitude.

    • Amplify: Letting your partner know how much their gratitude means to you will amplify the benefits of the exchange. We are letting our partner know how this impacts us in a positive way.

Go forth and be grateful for all that you and your partner do for each other. And remember, there are ample benefits to both the giver and receiver, so don't forget to balance out the expression of gratitude in your relationship.


Looking for an exciting way to continue growing your relationship? Busy but want some quick date ideas or activities that you can do with your partner? coBlossom is a new, fun app for couples that offers flexible minigames designed for busy couples, providing positive boosts to your relationship each day. Couples will benefit from building healthy relationship habits to achieve their couple goals!

We’re coming to the app store soon, subscribe here for updates and early access to our couples app. And follow us on instagram for great couples memes, couples games, date ideas, and more.


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