How alcohol affects a long-lasting, happy relationship

Getty Images

The secret to a long lasting relationship has been long sought for generations.

Is it attention? Courtesy? Consideration? Patience? Romance?

Well research now suggests something else is the secret.

Drinking alcohol together, or refusing it completely, has been found to be beneficial for couples in a long term relationship, especially in marriage.

A study published by The Journals of Gerontologydiscovered that couples over the age of 50 had much happier relationships, when drinking together.

The same goes for couples who abstained from alcohol.

However, a relationship where one person was drinking considerably more than the other resulted in negative consequences.

Similar levels are important:

The research surveyed 4,864 married individuals who have been in a relationship for over 33 years asking them how many times a week they drank and how many units they consumed.

They were also asked if they found they thought their other half was too demanding, too critical, if they were irritating and if they were reliable.

Results show that more than half of the couples quizzed were happy when they both drank together, with men more likely to drink than women.

Wives though were found to be more unhappy when only they drank and their husband didn't.

Concordant drinking couples reported decreased negative marital quality over time, and these links were significantly greater among wives.

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.

Now, we're not suggesting that everyone goes out and gets blind drunk with their significant other all the time but the results could merely suggest that couples that do more activities together are generally happier.

Dr. Kira Birdtt of the University of Michigan 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.

Birdtt added that spouses have a far greater effect on each other if they are retired and spend a significant amount of time with each other.

Therefore if one member of the couple stops drinking then so should the other.

However, Dr. Fred Blow also from the University of Michigan believes that readers should heed the results of this survey as 20 per cent of men and six per cent of women who took part in it were heavy drinkers.

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.

HT Reuters Oxford Academic Mashable Lad Bible

More: This is the thing couples argue about the most

The Conversation (0)