The key to staying together forever? Saying thank you.

Most of us would love to discover the secret to perfect relationships.

Now, we might have found it – and it’s surprisingly simple.

According to scientists at Georgia University, it all comes down to showing gratitude.

The university’s Center for Family Research surveyed 468 married people to see what made them tick and kept them happy.

They discovered that appreciating your partner for both the big and small things they do for you was a big indicator of relationship satisfaction.

It makes sense – when you feel appreciated, you feel closer to your partner, even if things aren’t perfect.

The study’s lead author, Allen Barton, told the Daily Mail that the research had proven 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,” he said.

“This is the first study to document the protective effect that feeling appreciated by your spouse can have for marriages.

“We think it is quite important as it highlights a practical way couples can help strengthen their marriage, particularly if they are not the most adept communicators in conflict.”

Barton said that saying thank you could even help disrupt the potentially damaging “demand/withdraw cycle” – a pattern that some couples fall into where one will nag and criticise, while the other will withdraw and shut down.

So next time your partner takes the bins out or gives you a back rub?

Don’t forget to say thanks.

What do you think is the key to a happy relationship?