Narrator: This is Science Today. It's easy to know when you're not being appreciated in a romantic relationship, but it's a lot harder to recognize that you're the one who's taking your partner for granted. Aime Gordon, a graduate student of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, studies social personality — in particular, romantic relationships. Gordon has been focusing on feelings of gratitude.
Gordon: What I found is that when people were grateful, they became more committed to their relationship and it makes sense. Because just thinking about your partner in that kind of way makes you realize, "oh, I have someone who is very valuable. I better hold on to this relationship." And then you're a better partner as a result.
Narrator: But it's a back-and-forth process, as people tend to be more grateful when they feel appreciated by their spouses or other romantic partners.
Gordon: By taking a moment yourself and not waiting for your partner to do something nice for you, but taking that time to be grateful and maybe do something nice for them, might help kick-start the relationship. And so I have research showing that yes, gratitude helps us stay in our relationships over time.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.