We all want to know the key to a successful and happy relationship. Mutual respect, having similar life goals, trust, a sense of humour and openness with each other are fundamental traits of a good relationship, but what else helps you along your journey to a successful and happy partnership?
Well, if you like to open the occasional bottle of wine then you may be in luck – but only if you share that bottle with your partner. It seems whether a partner’s drinking habits match our own could also be an important factor on how to have a happy relationship.
New research from the University of Michigan has found that couples who drink together are happier than couples where only one partner drinks. In other words, couples who drink together, stay together. In particular, those with similar drinking habits are happier because it’s seen as a bonding activity rather like taking walks together but with more alcohol.
What The Study Involved
The team of researchers analysed data from a 10-year study involving 2,767 married couples over 50 in the U.S. The couples used in the research were married for 33 years on average and two-thirds were in their first marriage.
Interviews and questionnaires about the quality of their marriage were undertaken every two years including questions about whether they felt their partner was too critical or demanding, how supportive and helpful they were in times of need and how irritating they found their spouse. They were also asked about their own drinking habits – if they drank, how often they drank, and how much they drank.
How To Have A Happy Relationship: What The Study Found
The data showed that, in more than half of the couples involved in the study, both partners did drink alcohol, with husbands more likely to drink than their wives. However, interestingly, general marriage dissatisfaction was higher when wives drank while their husbands refrained from drinking.
It seems the amount of alcohol isn’t too influential – although couples may have reported drinking different amounts, this seemed to matter less. The only downside would be if one person was obviously considered to have a drinking problem which brings separate issues to any relationship.
The study also highlighted how much couples influence each other with their drinking habits when spending more time together whether taking long vacations or in long-term circumstances such as retirement. It seems drinking habits tend to mirror each other when spending long periods of time together.
However, the experts say drinking in moderation with each other is an effective way to bring a sense of unity, fun, and togetherness to a relationship. It’s important to note that it’s all about similar drinking habits so those couples that are both tee-total were also found to have happy and successful relationships. They also stress that couples shouldn’t drink more or change the way they drink in hopes of improving a relationship. However, study author Dr. Kira Birditt does suggest it’s a good idea to occasionally abstain from drinking alcohol when your partner does, too.
‘We’re not suggesting that people should drink more or change the way they drink. 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.’
So, if you want to know how to have a happy relationship – whether you enjoy long walks, go jogging together, do yoga classes together or any other hobby – pouring yourselves both a glass of wine and enjoying the company can be added to your list of bonding activities that go towards a better life together. In other words, if handled with care, drinking together can add a nice fuel to a relationship but hopefully without the nasty hangover the next morning.
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