Generosity: A key to relationship happiness?

We all know giving is nice, but did you know it could be the missing link in your relationship?  According to a recent survey by the National Marriage Project, generosity might be the key to happiness in your relationship.

Fifty percent of women and 46 percent of men who reported above-average generosity in their marriage also reported being “very happy” in their marriage, while only 14 percent of men and women who reported below-average generosity thought they were “very happy.”

Though the study was specific to married couples, you can apply this concept of generosity to your own relationship. There are a few things you should keep in mind before blindly giving:

  1. Know what your partner likes.  According to the survey, a factor in generosity leading to happiness is whether the generosity is catered to your partner’s interests.  Buying a girl a bouquet of flowers or your man new toys might make him/her happy, but it will not reinvent your relationship.  Invest the time to discover the little things you can offer that will really mean something.
  2. Bigger is not always better.  Piggybacking on the last tip, remember that sometimes, small things can brighten up your partner’s day more than grandiose gifts.  By small things, I mean anything.  Doing one of your partner’s chores that they hate is a sign of generosity and shows a lot more compassion than a credit card swipe.
  3. Focus on your partner, not you.  If you go to the ice cream shop, buy your favorite flavor and bring it home as a “gift,” don’t be surprised if your partner does not perceive your gift as an act of generosity.  There are certain situations in which a thoughtful gift can make both of you happy, but be careful.  Gifts like lingerie, vacations together, food at your favorite restaurant, clothes (for a girl), gym memberships, etc., should all be given with caution.  Essentially, be weary of occasion appropriateness and prior interest, i.e. don’t give your girlfriend a gym membership for Valentines Day.
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About Jenna Haines (9 Articles)
Jenna Haines is a writer, editor, and communications specialist based in the south. For fun, she writes about health, fitness, travel, life, and brunch. Jenna's professional work has appeared in a variety of magazines, such as Men’s Fitness, CityScope, HealthScope, and Holly Pinafore. She is also the founder of Chattanooga Brunches, the #1 brunch directory in the scenic city. Jenna studied journalism and psychology at New York University, where she graduated Cum Laude in 2013.

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