Want a better relationship? You may want to sync your drinking habits with your significant other.
Science says that couples who drink together stay together.
Well, sort of.
New research reported in the Journals of Gerontology (Series B) suggests that married couples who have similar drinking habits are happier and more successful in their relationships.
The researchers studied 2,767 American married couples over a 10-year time period.
In particular, they looked at the following in the subjects:
“Whether they drank, how many days a week they drank and how many drinks they had on the days they drank … [plus] the quality of their marriage, including whether they thought their spouses were too demanding or too critical, if their spouse was reliable when they needed help and if they found their spouse irritating.”
They found that couples who enjoyed drinks together, “reported decreased negative marital quality over time, and these links were significantly greater among wives.”
The thing is, it doesn’t mean the couples necessarily drank more often than the average person. Rather, their drinking habits and approach to alcohol were the same. That, and they enjoyed drinking in one another’s company.
I can’t say I find the results surprising. We all know those couples whose imbalance of individual alcohol consumption is the cause for tension at best and full blowouts at worst. Let’s be honest, alcohol can be your worst enemy in relationships. Not only is it often the cause, alcohol can also perpetuate a passionate argument with a partner.
Admit it; we’ve all been there.
Not to mention, there usually exists a degree of judgement when both partners approach alcohol differently. Perhaps a result of this, the study found that the wives were less happy if they were drinkers and their husbands weren’t.
Essentially, the key findings of the study are that you probably should marry someone who is on the same page as you when it comes to drinking.
That’s not to say that you won’t or can’t naturally adapt your drinking habits to align with those of your partner once you’re in a relationship. Personally, I found my drinking habits were organically influenced by the person I was dating in the past. When I had a boyfriend who rarely drank, I cut back significantly too. On the other hand, I consumed more alcohol than I did in university with another ex-boyfriend who had ‘party boy’ tendencies.
The study suggests that if your partner quits drinking altogether, you’re likely to have a happier marriage if you quit drinking as well. If nothing else, you have a reliable partner in crime who will hold you accountable (and vice versa) and want to do things that don’t involve bars and boozing.
If you haven’t quit drinking, you may want to pick up a bottle of wine on your way home to crack with your SO this evening. Maybe even make it a weekly, relationship-strengthening ritual…