The Hidden Power of “Thank You” (Loren Marks, David Dollahite, Joe Chelladurai, Laura McKeighen, March 8, 2024, Public Square)

Our recent research as social scientists indicates that for many, “Gratitude is a divine emotion.” Although we did not ask directly about gratitude, many participants spontaneously discussed gratitude in their spiritual lives and their relationships.

Gratitude, however, is far more than an emotion. Over the past twenty-three years, our in-depth interviews with about 200 exemplary, marriage-based families for the American Families of Faith National Research Project have indicated that gratitude seems to frequently serve as a “gateway virtue,” a proverbial on-ramp to a freeway of other positive attributes and relational processes. In short, gratitude seems to be a catalyst for other “goods or values.”