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Saying these two words are key to a happy relationship, experts reveal

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We live in a world where each and every day, we are bombarded with relationship advice, whether it’s from our favourite TV programs (hello Carrie et al) or a well-meaning friend.

Just take a look at the self-help section in your local WHSmith and you’ll find books galore, each claiming to have the secret to a happy marriage. Information overload anyone?

Well it turns out saving your relationship could be as simple as saying “Thank you”, a new study by the University of Georgia has revealed.   

Researchers say feeling grateful and expressing your gratitude to one another is the key to going the distance.

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Could saying "thank you" save your relationship?

“It goes to show the power of ‘thank you.’ Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes.” the study’s lead author Allen Barton said.

Barton and his colleagues questioned 468 married people about their communication and how valued they felt.

The results showed that simply saying “thank you” could cancel the negative effects of miscommunication and being under pressure or stressed.

“Importantly, we found that when couples are engaging in a negative conflict pattern like demand or withdrawal, expressions of gratitude and appreciation can counteract or buffer the negative effects of this type of interaction on marital stability,” co-author Ted Futris added.

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Showing gratitude could diffuse negative situations, experts say

Essentially, there is no miracle solution, some relationships make it, some don’t. But there’s something incredibly logical in simply not taking anyone, spouse or otherwise, for granted.

“Even if a couple is experiencing distress and difficulty in other areas, gratitude in the relationship can help promote positive marital outcomes,” Futris concludes.

Images: Rex Features, Thinkstock

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