Who doesn’t like to kick back with a beer or a glass of wine at the end of a long, stressful week at work? Maybe you order a pizza, put on your ratty sweatpants, and curl up with your partner on the couch to pig out, get a little buzzed, and generally chillax. If this sounds like your idea of the ideal evening, you’re in luck. A new study has discovered that couples who drink together are happier together. Go figure!
The study was pretty extensive. The research, published in The Journals of Gerontology, set out to discover how alcohol affects romantic relationships between couples, particularly older married ones who’d been together for a while. They polled 4,864 participants who’d been married for an average of 33 years, and the results were somewhat predictable yet still positive.
The results, however, weren’t all that surprising. Couples who drank moderately together are more content with their relationship while relationships in which only one person drinks are far less harmonious.
To explain a little further… “Concordant drinking couples reported decreased negative marital quality over time, and these links were significantly greater among wives,” the report explained. “Wives who reported drinking alcohol reported decreased negative marital quality over time when husbands also reported drinking and increased negative marital quality over time when husbands reported not drinking.”
You have to keep it in perspective, though. Of course, this doesn’t mean you and your partner should start getting drunk off your heads in order to improve your relationship—context is key here. It’s not about how much alcohol couples consume but more about the circumstances in which they do it. Sharing a drink at a holiday party, for instance, is a much more positive experience than, say, getting blackout drunk at 10 a.m. on a Saturday morning.
Please don’t become an alcoholic. As Dr. Kira Birditt of the University of Michigan told Reuters, “Problem drinkers are a whole different kettle of fish. Serious heavy drinkers have disruptive relationships with people, particularly their partners. That’s an important issue that should be looked at going forward.” In other words, enjoy a cocktail or a beer with your S.O. every once in a while, but as with everything else, do it in moderation.
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