Heavy Drinking Is Fine for Your Marriage So Long as You're Both Drunks

A recent study by the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions followed 634 married couples over nine years to provide a scientific basis for the "uh, duh" notion that heavy drinking (defined as "six or more drinks at one time or drinking to intoxication") can bring on the divorce.

And while the study's findings did confirm this, there was a nuance that is somewhat surprising. Couples in which one person was a heavy drinker were much likelier to divorce than other couples, with a 50% divorce rate. Couples with two heavy drinkers had a 30% divorce rate, as did couples with no heavy drinkers at all.

How does mutual heavy drinking result in seemingly stable marriages? Says Kenneth Leonard, the author of this study, "Our results indicate that it is the difference between the couple's drinking habits, rather than the drinking itself, that leads to marital dissatisfaction, separation and divorce."


In other words, lack of common interest can doom a marriage, especially if that one-sided interest involves excessive amounts of Maker's Mark.

The study also found that marriages where only the woman was a heavy drinker had a slightly higher divorce rate, though the number of couples this was detected in is not statistically significant. This didn't stop Dr. Leonard from speculating, though, that if this pattern bears out, it could be because of marital discord caused by women who are going against gender roles with their heavy drinking.

I for one hope that this premise is tackled next. I love it when science proves that sexism exists in all aspects of our lives.