The secrets to a successful relationship: trust, communication and … alcohol compatibility? That’s what new research from the University of Michigan seems to suggest. Published in the Journals of Gerontology B: Psychology Sciences, the new study examined the drinking habits of 2,767 U.S. couples over the age of 50 and married an average of 33 years who were asked about their drinking habits and marriage satisfaction over several years.
The findings showed that couples with similar drinking habits reported fewer negative feelings toward the marriage. This went for both sides of the spectrum—those who indulged with booze quite often and those who abstained from alcohol altogether. On the other hand, partners who did not drink equally were linked to increased negative marriage quality as time went on. This proved even more so for couples in which wives drank and their husbands did not; the wives in these cases reported much higher rates of marital dissatisfaction.
But if you can’t keep up with your spouse’s drinking, don’t start Googling divorce attorneys yet. The researchers hint that drinking may not exactly be a correlation with a happy marriage but rather other activities related to boozing. “We’re not sure why this is happening,” study author Dr. Kira Birditt told Reuters Health. “But it could be that couples that do more leisure time activities together have better marital quality.”