Could alcohol be the secret to a happy marriage? A new study published in the Journal of Gerontology seems to indicate that could be the case.
Lead author Kira S. Birditt said couples who drink are less irritated.
The positivity factor only works when both halves of a couple drink. Birditt's research indicates it's not how much couples drink, but whether they both imbibe, she said..
The Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan questioned 4,864 married participants over age 50 and focused on drinking behavior and negative marital relationship qualities (e.g., getting on nerves, too many demands).
"Researchers consistently find that negative aspects of relationships are more highly associated with health than the positive," Birditt said. "One hypothesis is that they are less expected and more surprising which may lead to bigger changes in well-being."
People in the study did not drink heavily on average. "When we controlled for problematic drinking we found the same effects. We also found the same effects when we controlled for the average drinks per week (which was not associated with marital quality)," she said. "Thus the findings indicate that it is drinking status in terms of whether couples drink at all that is associated with marital quality."
The findings also show that an individual's own opinions of the relationship depend not only on their own drinking status but also the drinking status of their partners, she said.
More about the study can be found here .