How enjoying a drink with your significant other could be the key to a long and happy relationship

Apr 03, 2024
The catalyst for this study was "the drinking partnership" theory which suggests that couples with similar alcohol consumption habits experience more favourable marital outcomes. Source: Getty Images.

Raise a glass to love and longevity! A recent study has revealed that couples who enjoy a tipple together not only stay together but also enjoy longer lives together.

In a recent study led by Kira Birditt, a Research Professor at the University of Michigan, it was found that couples who share similar drinking habits, both indulging in alcohol, tend to live longer lives.

The catalyst for this study was “the drinking partnership” theory which suggests that couples with similar alcohol consumption habits experience more favourable marital outcomes, including reduced conflict and longer-lasting unions.

While ample research has explored how couples’ drinking behaviours impact their marriages, the connection to health outcomes remains somewhat elusive.

“The purpose of this study was to look at alcohol use in couples in the Health and Retirement Study and the implications for mortality,” Birdtt said.

“And we found, interestingly, that couples in which both indicated drinking alcohol in the last three months lived longer than the other couples that either both indicated not drinking or had discordant drinking patterns in which one drank and the other did not.”

Before rushing to enjoy a drink or two with your significant other in the name of longevity and martial bliss, Birdtt urges a more responsible approach.

The research looked at different ways people drink, defining “drinking” as just having a drink in the last three months. It also suggests that spouses can affect each other’s happiness. If couples drink similarly, it might show they’re more in sync with each other’s lifestyles, closeness, and how happy they are together.

“We’ve also found in other studies that couples who drink together tend to have better relationship quality, and it might be because it increases intimacy,” Birditt said.

Building on the most recent findings, Birditt is eager to delve deeper into couples’ alcohol consumption and its impact on their relationship.

“We don’t know why both partners drinking is associated with better survival,” she explained.

“I think using the other techniques that we use in our studies in terms of the daily experiences and ecological momentary assessment questionnaires could really get at that to understand, for example, focusing on concordant drinking couples.

“What are their daily lives like? Are they drinking together? What are they doing when they are drinking?

“There is also little information about the daily interpersonal processes that account for these links. Future research should assess the implications of couple drinking patterns for daily marital quality, and daily physical health outcomes.”

So, next time you raise a glass with your partner, remember: it’s not just a toast to love, but potentially a toast to a longer, happier life together. Cheers to that!

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

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