Study reveals that couples who get drunk together stay together longer
Alcohol often gets a pretty bad rap in the press these days, but it turns out that booze isn't all bad for you. Sure, an excessive amount will cause some serious problems but, in moderation, it can have a number of benefits. It can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease, for example, make you less likely to develop diabetes, and - as one research paper has shown - it can even help you have a healthier relationship.
A 2016 study published in the Journals of Gerontology: Psychology Sciences found that couples who drink together actually have healthier relationships than couples in which only one partner drank.
Based on a study of more than 2,700 couples who had been married for an average of 33 years, researchers found that husbands and wives who shared the same drinking habits were more likely to be happy than those whose drunken antics differed wildly.
Interestingly, it did not matter what the couples drank, or how much they consumed in a sitting - as long as both of them enjoyed drinking to the same level.
"We’re not sure why this is happening," said the study's author, Dr. Kira Birditt of the University of Michigan, "but it could be that couples that do more leisure time activities together have better marital quality."
This hypothesis seems to be backed up by the fact that relationships in which only one partner drank were not as happy. Alcohol-loving women married to sober men were the unhappiest, in fact, though it was more common for men to be the sole drinker in a family.
Researchers met with couples over the course of a decade and asked them questions about their marriage. They checked on whether each partner thought their spouse was too "demanding" or "critical", whether they found them to be "irritating", and if they felt that their other half was reliable when they needed help.
In more than half of the couples, both spouses drank - and these ones turned out to be happier on average.
However, this does not mean that couples should turn to alcohol in an effort to improve their relationship. "We’re not suggesting that people should drink more or change the way they drink," said Dr. Birditt.
What's more, those with happier marriages didn't necessarily have better health. In fact, 20 per cent of men and six per cent of women had significant drinking problems in this study - meaning they may have been more content with each other, but probably had very different issues to deal with.
The ideal, it seems, is to have a couple who both drink very sensibly - or not at all - but also spend a lot of time enjoying one another's company in other ways. If shared hobbies are the key to a healthy relationship, perhaps it's better to take up something with fewer health risks - or even something with more health benefits, like jogging, or swimming.
But if you are going to drink with your other half, make sure to do so in moderation.