A new study has found that Happy Hour might hold the key to a happy relationship.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan and published in The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Series, found that “drinking couples reported decreased negative marital quality over time”.
In order to come to that conclusion, the study looked at 2,767 couples who had been married for an average of 33 years, and asked them questions about their drinking habits — whether or not they drank, how many days a week they drank, and how many drinks they had on the days they drank.
The study found that there was a real correlation between couples who drank together and increased happiness.
Crucially, however, the amount that couples drink is not as important as both partners being on the same page when it comes to drinking.
The report found that couples who have the same drinking habits — whether they drink heavily, or abstain altogether — are happier than couples where only one partner drinks.
“We’re not suggesting that people should drink more or change the way they drink,” study author Dr Kara Birditt told Reuters.
“We’re not sure why this is happening, but it could be that couples that do more leisure time activities together have better marital quality.”
Dr Birditt said the study shows that spouses — especially older couples who are retired and spending a lot of time together — should be sensitive of each others’ drinking habits, and if one spouse needs to stop drinking, the other spouse should as well.
Of course, if your spouse is a heavy drinker, you shouldn’t drink more than you’re comfortable with just to keep up with them.
“Problem drinkers are a whole different kettle of fish,” Dr Fred Blow, also from the University of Michigan, told Reuters.
“Serious heavy drinkers have disruptive relationships with people, particularly their partners. That’s an important issue that should be looked at going forward.”
The moral of the story, then, seems to be that you should drink — and marry — responsibly.