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Men and women have very different reactions when there are troubles in their marriage, according to a new study by Rutgers University and the University of Michigan. After assessing the emotional patterns of 722 longtime married couples, researchers noticed that women tend to worry, get sad, and look for ways to talk it out and support their spouses. Men, on the other hand, typically get frustrated, “and don’t really want to talk about it or spend too much time thinking about it,” Deborah Carr, Ph.D., lead author and sociology professor at Rutgers, saidin a press release. As irritating—and somewhat predictable—as this Mars-Venus dynamic can be, it doesn’t mean relationship problems are insurmountable. In fact, you may be able to power through tough times with your partner simply by showing gratitude for each other.

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That’s what a separate new study, published in the journal Personal Relationships, found. The analysis, which surveyed 468 married couples, found that even when a couple is in the midst of a stressful time (such as a financial crisis), expressing gratitude can keep couples committed and happy, especially if that appreciation goes both ways. “Positive relationship outcomes appear to be associated not only with being appreciative and possessing gratitude for one’s partner…but also as the current study highlights, feeling appreciated and perceiving gratitude from one’s partner,” the study reported.

This research shows that saying “thank you” to your partner and making sure you both show that you value each other can go a long way toward keeping you both devoted during hard times. “When couples are stressed, they are likely to have more arguments,” Ted Futris, Ph.D., coauthor and associate professor in the College of Family and Consumer Sciences at the University of Georgia said in a press release. “What distinguishes the marriages that last from those that don’t is not how often they argue, but how they argue and how they treat each other on a daily basis.”

So be sure to let your partner know you appreciate him, even if—especially if—life is stressful. Put a note in his bag telling him he looks hot today. Or text him to thank him for picking up the dry cleaning. Here’s hoping he’s inspired to do (or already doing) the same for you, and these seemingly sweet nothings will ultimately add up to a lot of key somethings that keep your relationship strong.