Some people believe that opposites attract. Others follow the “birds of a feather” slogan when choosing a mate. Certainly, having shared interests can make any relationship stronger. But did you know that having drinking habits in common is a key predictor of marital longevity?
Researchers in Norway studied nearly 20,000 married couples over 15 years, looking at the divorce rate among the couples as a function of their alcohol consumption. Their results were more in the “birds of a feather” camp.
The study looked at four groups, based on their drinking habits. One group was made up of couples where both spouses drank very little or no alcohol. A second group had all heavy drinkers, both husband and wife. The third group had the wife drinking a lot and the husband drinking a little and the final group reversed this, so the husband drank a lot and the wife drank a little.
Not too surprisingly, the divorce rates varied between groups. The group where neither spouse drank very much had the lowest incidence of divorce, about 9% over the course of the study. Couples where the husband drank a lot and the wife drank a little were the next most successful couples, with a 13% divorce rate. Next in line were the couples that both drank heavily. They had a 17% divorce rate. The highest divorce rate, coming in at over 26%, was among couples where the wife drank heavily and the husband drank lightly.
It is reasonable to predict that marriage longevity would be decreased by heavy use of alcohol. The surprising result to come from this study was the difference observed based on which spouse drank in an imbalanced couple. Husbands who drank heavily were half as likely to get divorces as wives who drank heavily, in situations where the spouse did not drink a lot.
Compatibility counts! So as you are evaluating prospective life partners, pay attention to their drinking habits. If they don’t match yours, maybe you should get a pre-nup!