Alcohol doesn’t get the best of press these days. But researchers say it could be the secret to a happy marriage.
Couples who share a bottle of wine at least once a week enjoy marital life far more than those who steer clear of alcohol, they claim.
Researchers questioned more than 1,500 couples about their relationships and drinking habits. They found that concordance – where partners have roughly the same amount of alcohol and at the same time – breeds happiness.
The authors also discovered that satisfaction with domestic life rose with every occasion partners share a tipple.
Women were four times more likely to be happy if they drank at least once a week with their partner than if they never do. Meanwhile, men were more than three times more content.
The study, by a team from the University of Otago in New Zealand, stated: ‘A graded association was evident between time spent drinking as a couple and the odds of a couple being happy.
‘The more frequently a respondent drank with their partner, the more likely they were to report their relationship as happy.’
Moderate drinkers who enjoyed alcohol together at least once a week were the most satisfied of all with 91 per cent enjoying each other’s company.
Among the same group, love of marital life fell away to 88 per cent where partners coincided between one and three times a month and only 69 per cent where they never shared a drink.
Contentment dropped with every heavy-drinking partner added to a relationship. However, unhappiest of all (54 per cent) were those who never shared a drink even though one half of the pair consumed a lot of alcohol.
John Duffy, a public health lecturer at Birmingham University, said: ‘Alcohol gets too much of a bad press these days so it is refreshing to read a positive example of how it is an integral part of our culture.’
Study author Jessica Meiklejohn insisted that more research was needed to explain why alcohol was linked to increased contentment.
‘It is important to note that regardless of concordance in a relationship, the presence of heavy drinking is detrimental to happiness in the relationship as well as being harmful in many other ways,’ she said.