There is one word that can save a marriage, say Jerusalem’s Orthodox Jewish community leaders, who offer sound advice on keeping those healthy, long-term relationships so crucial to a happy family and long life.
One of the main problems in every lasting marriage is that we start to take each other for granted, and this can lead to unwanted consequences in any relationship, be it family, friends or marriage.
Can you remember your first year of marriage, when your partner would get up early to surprise you with a full breakfast, just the way you like? How thoughtful it was, and you couldn’t stop marveling at your amazing husband or wife. But, when he made you a cup of tea last night, you hardly noticed.
It is all too easy in our lifelong relationships to start taking each other for granted. Not only is this unpleasant, it spoils the atmosphere between you, misrepresents your true feelings about one another, and can have fateful implications for your marriage.
In an article published in an Orthodox Jewish journal, the rabbis reported that gratitude is the key to a healthy and successful marriage.
Their findings are based on a study conducted by asking 468 married people questions about their economic well-being, expectations or withdrawals in their communications, sexual gratification, nagging, criticism and the other issues common to all relationships.
The conclusions they reached suggest that expressions of appreciation were the most significant indicators of a fulfilling and happy marriage. Relationships work just by saying thank you.
"The sense of appreciation and belief that your partner appreciates you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will continue," said the author of the study, Ted G. Futris, an Associate Professor and Extension Family Life Specialist at the University of Georgia.
Rabbis and researchers alike argue that the simple act of saying "thank you" to your partner regularly, as simple and trivial as that may sound, can be a strong protection against divorce.
And that's just a little thing to keep in mind the next time your significant other brings you breakfast in bed.