A study from researchers at the University of Michigan found that couples in which both parties drink reported slightly better marriages than couples where one person drinks and the other does not.
Particularly, wives reported feeling that their relationships had more negative qualities, such as criticism, when they drink and their husbands don’t.
The findings were published in the Journals of Gerontology B: Psychological Sciences.
According to the study, Concordant drinking couples reported decreased negative marital quality over time, and these links were significantly greater among wives.
Wives who reported drinking alcohol reported decreased negative marital quality over time when husbands also reported drinking and increased negative marital quality over time when husbands reported not drinking.
Researchers looked at the results of 2,767 couples from the Health and Retirement Survey, an ongoing study that has been looking at aging populations in the United States. Most of the couples were married (others lived together), and on average, had been together for 33 years. Every two years, researchers sat down with participants and asked them about how often they drink, how much, and how they felt about their partner in terms of reliability and annoyance.
About 45% of the couples reported that they both drink, and these couples tended be less irritated with each other.
Couples who reported that neither party drinks also reported slightly fewer negative traits in their relationships. Less happy with each other were couples where one partner drinks and the other doesn’t.