Study Says Couples that Get Wasted Together Stay Together
If you want bae to stay, the answer could be to get faded together.
If you're lucky, you're going to grow old someday. And if you're even luckier, you won't do it alone. That sounds nice and all, but all that time trapped between four walls with one person can lead to bickering—or worse.
Now, science has some advice for avoiding decades of quibbling away your final years as life's candle burns to its end. If you want to grow old in harmony with someone, find someone who hits the bottle as often as you do.
A study published in the Journals of Gerontology B: Psychology Sciences found that for couples over the age of 50, marriages were better off when both partners drank or both abstained. If one half was boozing hard while the other sat by, stone-cold sober, couples were more likely to experience marital problems, particularly if the one doing the drinking was the wife. Women who drank while their husbands didn't were often dissatisfied with their marriages.
Researchers surveyed nearly 3,000 couples that had been married for an average of 33 years. (Two-thirds of the couples were on their first marriage, so it's not like the majority of the survey subjects were on round two after they "figured it out" with a new fuck buddy they met at a beach bar down in Cabo.) After asking about drinking habits—how many times per week subjects drank, and how many drinks they put back when they got down to business—researchers asked about whether they found their spouse irritating, critical, or too demanding.
The research team found that in more than half of marriages, both spouses drank, and those couples fared better in terms of maintaining a healthy relationship than couples with lopsided relationships with alcohol. So, too, did couples that mutually abstained.
But if one spouse isn't off the wagon, the researchers aren't about to encourage them to start drinking in order to "fix" their marriage. "We're not suggesting that people should drink more or change the way they drink," study author Kira Birditt of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor told Reuters Health.
And though it didn't matter how much couples drank to experience benefits in their marriages, Birditt warns that the superior satisfaction didn't extend to problem drinkers—20 percent of men and 6 percent of women surveyed—which are a "whole different kettle of fish." Problem drinking is a pervasive problem among baby boomers, whose free-spirited attitudes extend to their drinking habits.
So if you're looking for marital bliss later in life, maybe consider your alcohol compatibility with your current or prospective partner. When you're old, as cocktail hour and wine time creeps earlier and earlier into the day, if you're in it together with your spouse, you're more likely to make it work—it seems that the couple that drinks together stays linked together.
Think about it: you and your spouse, just a couple of ol' lushes (or teetotalers) on the beach, watching the sunset like a Sandal's ad.