When done respectfully – and in moderation – partaking in a few alcoholic beverages here and there can be lots of fun. Of course, overdoing it can easily lead to those head and stomach pains only made worse by a strong sense of regret.
With all that in mind, it’s fascinating to learn that a recent study has determined that mature married couples (50+ years of age) in the U.S. are actually happier as a unit when both partners drink. Subsequently, that happiness declines when one partner abstains from drinking, while the other carries on.
In an interview with Reuters Health, study author Dr. Kira Birditt of the University of Michigan said: “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.”
For this study, 2,767 married couples participated in a long-term health and retirement survey. Between 2006 and 2016, each person took part in a series of written questionnaires, as well as face-to-face interviews with researchers. During these tests, individuals answered questions regarding their drinking habits – including how many days a week they drank alcohol and how many drinks were consumed on those days.
Of course, people were able to disclose whether or not they were drinking. Questions related to the quality of each person’s marriage were also asked.
When the results came in, it was determined that in more than half of the couples, both spouses drank alcohol. However, if only the man in the relationship drank, his wife became more dissatisfied with their marriage.
Added Birditt: “The study shows that it’s not about how much they’re drinking, it’s about whether they drink at all.”
So why do elder couples feel the need to drink together?
Birditt theorized that when couples are of this age, they spend a lot more time together (due to retirement, etc.) and thus have a larger influence on one another.
Regardless of whom you drink with, just remember to be safe and responsible.