“Thank you for making dinner,” my husband says as I set his dinner plate down on the table. “Right on cue,” I think to myself smiling. If there is one goal my husband strives for in marriage, it’s appreciation. He thanks me for the small tasks which seem insignificant as well as the large ones which take up much time. Throughout our marriage, I’ve come to realize why his thank-yous matter.

First, saying thanks acknowledges what a person does. For instance, when my husband notices the clean floor after I mop, it reassures me that my work is valued. Second, gratitude makes a person feel appreciated. A thank you says, “You are meaningful to me,” and “You made my life easier by completing this task.” Everyone desires to hear these words, especially from their spouse.

Remember this the next time you notice a chore completed or a dinner made by your partner. Look them in the eyes, say “Thank you,” and smile. After that, build a habit of showing your gratitude. Doing so will help your spouse feel loved and appreciated. And, if you look back months from now, you’ll likely see how those two short words changed your marriage for the better. I know they have changed my relationship.